Why Budget Planning Will Ruin Your Reputation

by Laura Massoni

A Personal Note from Laura

I remember the first time I worked with a client who was prepared to spend $50,000 on their vacation to Italy, thinking to myself, “Heck they could travel to my mom’s house for free. They’re crazy to spend this much money on a vacation.”

You might have heard a saying that goes something like this, “That was then and this is now.”

Now that I’ve routinely sold $100k + vacations I don’t blink at the thought of people spending whatever they want to on their own vacation.  Because guess what, it’s not my money in the first place and secondly, who am I to force my own financial beliefs on any else. I shouldn’t put myself in the role of decision maker when it comes to the cost of my clients’ vacations. My job is to provide the best possible accommodations and experiences I can.

"Your clients will remember whatever you have selected for them NOT because of a number on an invoice, but because of the feelings they have when recalling the experiences they’ve had."

So many times I encounter agents who say that they are “luxury travel agents” only to ultimately find out that they aren’t.  These agents are thinking about their clients’ vacations and applying their own personal fiscal reality and history while making the client’s travel arrangements. I use the term, “thinking with their own wallet.” There may be occasions where this is appropriate for clients, but I’ve never found it be applicable to true “luxury travel clients.

Luxury clients don’t obsess about the invoice. What they want is an experience that they haven’t had before. They want to be moved by experiences they will remember forever. They aren’t impressed by the frugality of an agent who is great at using their iPhone to calculate the exchange rate or shave an extra dollar off of their travel costs.

The clients just want to have an experience of a lifetime.

As an example, this is what happened to us today. 2018-8-24 - forgetful boat tourWe enlisted the help of our Mexican resort’s concierge to book a full day boat tour.  While the “name” of the tour sounded great, there was no experience behind the name.  It was disappointing and boring to say the least. The worst part is that it was not a memorable experience in any way and we certainly won’t talk about it or even remember it after today. It was a waste of time and money.

It made me think, “Why did we wait until the last minute to decide on a tour when we could have had someone with experience and knowledge help us out from the very beginning when we planned this trip?” WE took this tour because it was recommended to us.

Unfortunately we had to go through this experience to realize that although the person who provided the recommendation may have wanted to provide a See Italy Travel type of tour, they failed miserablybecause they have never experienced what See Italy provides and they simply didn’t know the difference.

So, my advice when deciding on a tour for your own clients, please don’t make your decisions based on price:

Provide tours for your clients that you can personally vouch for and stand behind because you have experienced them yourself or your recommendation comes from professionals you trust based on years of experience and history.Your clients will remember whatever you have selected for them NOT because of a number on an invoice, but because of the feelings they have when recalling the experiences they’ve had.

Don’t risk your reputation by recommending anything that you aren’t absolutely sure of and be honest when you can’t because, trust me, your experience and honesty will be rewarded equally.


Laura Massoni 



Although 2018 is far from over it has been and will end up being recognized as one of the best ever in the travel industry. WE ARE NOW beginning to expand our focus to include FAMs in 2019. We have the following dates and locations for you to consider. Click on the hyperlinks below to find out more about these FAMs.

  • 4/1/19 - 4/10/19 - SICILY
  • October/November 2019 - ROME/VENICE/FLORENCE
You can find out more about these FAM trips by clicking the Apply Now button below.
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