This morning we sat down with Ann Petronio from Annie’s Escapes, Inc. Annie provides custom traveling planning for busy couples and families. Read what she had to say:
Q: What do you offer?
Ann: Technically, I plan vacations. But in reality, what I offer is peace of mind. With all the information that’s available on the internet these days, most people are perfectly able to plan a vacation on their own. But if it’s a really important vacation like a honeymoon or a milestone birthday/anniversary, it’s really nice to have the help of a professional to ensure that you’re making the right choices about destinations, hotels, etc. and to make sure that all of the details and logistics are in place.
Q: What is the benefit to hiring you vs. someone else?
Ann: I think the biggest benefit to working with me is that I make it so easy. I don’t have a retail storefront, so clients don’t have to work around any set business hours or location. Instead, I work by appointment from a home office, and I meet with clients’ where/when it’s most convenient for them – which often means evenings and weekends, over a cup of coffee at their local Starbucks or Panera. After the initial planning meeting, most of the follow-up can be handled by phone/email, and clients consistently tell me that they wish all of their wedding vendors had such quick response times.
Q: What types of trips do you plan?
Ann: Most people come to me – at first – for a “big” occasion like a honeymoon or anniversary. But then they return, again and again, for babymoons, birthdays, family getaways, and more. I specialize in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, Hawaii and Europe, but have also worked with clients on trips to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific, and even some shorter getaways like bachelorette weekends in Las Vegas.
Q: Where is your favorite destination?
Ann: That’s a tough one! If I had to list my three all-time favorite places that I’ve been, I’d say Costa Rica, Alaska and Iceland. I love places that combine natural beauty and some soft adventure. And you can probably tell from that list that I’m not really a beach girl!
Q: How far in advance should someone hire you?
Ann: That totally depends on where/when they are looking to travel. For peak travel weeks like the December holidays or February/April school vacations, or for peak seasons like July in Italy, or January in Costa Rica, it’s best to plan as far in advance as possible. I often work with clients as much as a year prior to their trip. But for the basic beachy honeymoon, three to five months in advance is fine. That leaves us plenty of time to talk about wish lists and budget, without worrying that something will be sold out in the meantime.
Q: What’s the one thing you wish people knew about your business?
Ann: The biggest “secret” about working with travel agents in general is that is does not cost any more than if you planned the whole trip on your own. People always think that working with a travel agent costs more, but that’s not true! Our commission is already built into the prices charged by hotels, resort, cruise lines, tour companies, etc. By working with a travel agent, you get their help and expertise for free!
CLIENT TESTIMONIAL: My Husband and I worked with Ann to plan our honeymoon this past August. We knew we wanted to go to Italy but we didn’t want to need a vacation after our honeymoon. Ann planned it perfectly so we saw all the sites we wanted to, took it easy at the beginning and end of the trip and reserved us some nifty skip-the-line museum tours and private drivers. We spent 3 nights each in Venice, Florence, Rome and Sorrento. She really took the time to get to know how we like to travel (flight times, types of hotels we prefer to stay at and she even gave us restaurant / gelato recommendations because she had been there before). The best part of all, it didn’t cost us a penny extra! I highly recommend Ann!
For more information or to contact Annie’s Escapes to help plan your next getaway:
Nicole Gesmondi Photographer, LLC is a wife-and-husband photography team located in Providence, Rhode Island. We’ve been providing wedding and portrait photography services in and around Providence and Newport, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, Boston and more for over a decade.
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