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Sure, You Can Book Your Trip Online...BUT

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THE Royal Pool

By Tom Brussow

President-Sunsational Beach Vacations

The mega online travel sites (OTAs as we call them), seemingly have done an effective job with their enormous advertising budgets of convincing the general public that they are the place to go to book a vacation.

But are they really? Does the consumer even know what they don't know?

Not infrequently, we'll get a call on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon from an exasperated consumer now seemingly desperate for our help. Having just wasted two hours or more of their precious weekend shopping online for a beach vacation; they are now more confused, frustrated and exhausted than when they started.

A few harmless Google searches sent them off into five different directions - none of which have led them to a conclusion about which destination, resort, or price is best for them.

Occasionally I will ask them some version of this question..."why would you waste your valuable time and energy doing this when there are professionals here who'll do the work for you and help you to make a better informed buying decision?"

Here's what they'll sometimes say (and what I think to myself when they say it):

"I thought it would be fun"... By fun, did you mean the headache you get from the brain numbing array of highly similar resort choices, room categories, trip prices, tour and excursion options and airline booking policies to interpret and understand?

"I heard they have the best deals"...Yes, if by the best deals, you mean the same prices and often better added value promotional and group travel offers that we as travel agents have easy access to from our tour operator and resort suppliers.

"I've never worked with a travel agent before"...Well, I will do my best to make sure it's not the last time! It's kind of like getting legal or medical advise online...sure the information is there, but do you really feel comfortable making a decision without actually talking to a professional?

As your vacation consultants, we bring a wealth of first-hand experience that you can't find online. I personally have been to Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii close to 80 times. Along the way, I have stayed at or visited more than 200 different resorts. Collectively, our team has more than 40 years of travel industry experience. In addition, we have booked thousands of clients to a wide range of resorts and have their experiences and feedback to draw upon when we make recommendations for your trip.

The OTA sites essentially just hand you a big menu of options and it's up to you to figure out what's really good and what just looks good. Is this really the best approach when you are about to spend thousands of dollars on a vacation?

So don't be fooled! There is absolutely no advantange to researching and booking your beach vacation on your own on an OTA website.

Here's Six Very Good Reasons Why:

#1-How much is your time worth?

Most people are super-stressed with work, kids, what's going to happen next on Game of Thrones and a million other things. Life is short so use your time wisely. Get the help of a professional who does this for a living and save yourself the time and stress.

#2-Why pay in full at the time of booking when you don't have to?

This is a big deal. We offer low upfront deposits and easy payment terms. In most cases, your final trip payment isn't due until 45 days before your trip. Why would you book online and be forced to pay in full at the time of booking for a trip you might not be taking until 8 months later?

#3- How much do you have to pay us for our time, energy and expertise? NOTHING!

Yes, it is true. We do NOT charge a fee for our time, services, or expertise. This is a amazing deal for you as the consumer. However, if you wanted to slip us a ten spot, we would probably take it!

#4- If you find a better price online, we'll match it!

Yes, we price match against the online websites and other travel agency competitors. If you find a lower price for the exact same vacation, just let us know and we'll match it!

#5- If something goes wrong, who's on your side?

While the vast majority of trips come off without a hitch, occasionally things do happen. Flights get cancelled, a resort is not the right match, or something else comes up and you need help. If you have a personal relationship with one of our vacation specialists, you have the peace of mind of knowing that person will be there when you need them.

Or, you could be in the position of calling the reservation center of an OTA and take your chances that the person on the other end will have the time, interest, contacts or the knowledge to help you. Seriously, which scenario would you rather have if you were on your own in Mexico and needed help?

#6- And finally, who do you trust?

Unlike the online travel websites, we are not a mega volume-based, transaction-driven business model. We work with you on a one-to-one basis. We know you and understand your wants, needs and expectations.

On the other hand, the only thing the OTAs really seem to know about you is your web browsing history! Did you know that a recent study showed that several online websites actually manipulated their prices based on their customer's online shopping behavior?...What the @$##??


While we do business nationally, we are a relatively small, local business based in Wisconsin. Our success depends on your repeat business and on your personal endorsement to your family and friends and the referral business that brings. We have to do our job right each and every time or risk losing a customer forever.

I am not sure the OTAs feel this same sense of responsibility. When you have millions of faceless customers, if you lose a few due to poor service or a poor vacation experience...oh we'll, there's more where were those came from!

So, the next time you get the urge to jump online to search for a trip, give us a call or send us a quick e-mail instead. Use that valuable time to take a nap, play some golf, hang out with a friend or go to the gym and get your abs in "beach ready" condition. 

Just tell us when you want to go, how long you want to stay and about how much you want to spend. Give us some insights into the type of vacation experience you are dreaming about.

From there, we'll get to work doing our job...finding you just the right vacation at the right price!

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We are not your typical online travel website or travel agency. We take absolute joy in helping our clients experience some of the most beautiful and amazing places on the planet.

We specifically chose to specialize in the beaches for the way it makes us feel everytime we go there. We want to pass on that feeling and our passion for Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii and the many other beach destinations through the highest level of attention and service to our valued clients.

So Why Book With Us?

#1-We Are Your Beach Vacation Experts With Over 40 Years of Experience
#2-We Do the Research and Have Access to the Best Prices and Special Promotional Offers
#3-We Do Business With Only the Top Resorts and Travel Industry Suppliers
#4-You Save Time and Money and Get An Amazing Beach Vacation!

If that is not enough, give us a call and we'll bet we can convince you!

Tom Brussow

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What Do Our Clients Have to Say? Here's Some Feedback We Recently Received:

Destination: Punta Cana
Resort: Now Larimar

Freddie Macalus, our travel agent was amazing! He did a wonderful job helping us not only determine the best location for our destination wedding, but he also helped work with us hand in hand with the wedding planner at the resort to ensure our day went off without a hitch. Most people say that something will go wrong the day of your wedding, but we can say that was truly not the case. Freddie also did an awesome job working with all 40 of our traveling guests in booking their trips, which was no easy task. We had a lot of people traveling from different states and for different durations and the feedback we got from everyone was that Freddie was great in providing them with options and helping them through all their bookings.

Can't say enough great things about Freddie Macalus and Sunsational Beach Vacations!!!! Highly recommend this company and this travel agent to anyone looking to book a trip or a destination wedding!

Destination: Riviera Maya, MX
Resort: Secrets Silversands

We had such a great time at the Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun. I also was very happy that I got to work with you to coordinate the group travel event for us and all of our guests. You were super nice, always helpful, and willing to listen to all of my questions! I always felt like you were available to talk and discuss things and followed up with responses to my questions very rapidly. I had positive feedback from my guests that you were very nice and easy to work with. I would certainly work with you again on travel arrangements!

Destination: Punta Cana
Resort: Breathless

We all had an AMAZING time at Breathless! The hotel was great, food was actually a lot better than I expected, drinks and staff were awesome as well. I think how lively the resort was worked out perfect for all ten of us who wanted to party and celebrate the boys’ 30th birthday. We were very satisfied with your recommendation and will certainly be using you in the future for our next vacation.

Thanks again for all of your help!—I wish we were still on the beach!

Destination: Riviera Maya, MX
Resort: El Dorado Casitas Royale, By Karisma

What an amazing trip you planned for us. It was everything we wanted and more!!! The hotel was amazing, the food was spectacular, and the service was impeccable. We truly lived like royalty. Makes coming back to the real world quite a bummer. We've already begun telling people about the property and referring them to contact you.
We would love to look into a trip around the same time next year.
Again, thank you for making this trip so fantastic and easy to put together.

Nothing but smiles here and we are 1000% (that's not a typo ) satisfied with you and everything involved with the trip.

Thanks again!!

Chris and Angela
Dallas, TX

Destination: Punta Cana, DR
Resort: Hard Rock Resort & Casino

"My husband and I decided to get married in Mexico at Iberostar Grand over Labor Day weekend. It was a large destination wedding as we had 130 guests traveling. Tom and his group did a phenomenal job of coordinating everyone's accommodations, travel plans and transportation. As far as I know, there was not one guest that had any difficulty with their trip. Everyone arrived safely and on time! Tom made himself available for discussion at all hours throughout the planning process and was never difficult to reach. He was extremely knowledgable about the area we were traveling to and worked with the people at Iberostar to provide all of our guests with the getaway they deserved. We will use Tom over and over again for our future group travels and recommend him to anyone getting married :)"

Kristin & Rob
Iberostar Grand
Riviera Maya, Mexico
September 2014

"Tom helped us book our engagement trip. We then needed to discuss wedding stuff. After much debate and family discussions, Deanna and I decided to do a destination wedding in Mexico, and decided that we had such success with Tom helping just us two, that we would love to use him again. He was extremely helpful in getting everything organized for us. From helping friends and relatives book flights, nights stays, discount programs, transfers to and from the airport and working in close connection with Apple to make sure everybody arrived safe and sound. To say that we were beyond happy and pleased would be an understatement. EVERYTHING was perfect, flawless and extremely stress free. Deanna and I want to thank Tom for everything to make our trips so wonderful!!! He has been a part of our engagement, wedding/honeymoon and hopefully trips here in the near future. I highly recommend using his services."

Deanna & Joe
Secrets Silversands
Riviera Maya
March 2014

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