Published: 06 June 2018
Why use a specialist tour operator when everything is just a click away?
In the digital age, it has become deliciously easy to buy almost anything online – and booking a dream trip is no exception. A few clicks enables you to create a complex itinerary with flights, transfers and a cornucopia of excursions. So why would anyone need a specialist tour operator? Ex-backpacker and independent traveller, Rachel Suddart, counts down 7 reasons why they might just be your saving grace.
1. Local knowledge leads to hidden gems
A specialist tour operator can take you to hidden corners and local haunts that you’d be hard pushed to find from an internet search. Trends change, places close down – anything can happen from the point of research to when you show up. Tour operators that work with local guides are able to give you up to date recommendations and constantly know where the coolest kids hang out (or not, depending on what you’re after!)
2. Handpicked partners that are tried and tested
Anyone can do some research and click a button to book accommodation or an excursion – but you’re always taking a chance on its quality and reliability. Specialist tour operators have spent years getting to know their destinations and building up relationships with their providers and they will only hook you up with tried and tested products and services. They are constantly in touch with people using these services every day and know what is good and what isn’t. If one of their customers has had a bad experience, they’ll get to know about it quickly and the problem will either be resolved, or they won’t direct any new customers.
3. “Suits you, sir” - totally tailored to meet your needs
Specialist tour operators can provide you with a holiday that is tailored to your tastes and preferences. And not just at the time of booking. Once you are on holiday with your guide they can be flexible and actively respond to your conversations and requests and note reactions to what you are seeing and doing. A chance comment over a coffee can easily lead to unexpected additions to the itinerary, resulting in a truly personalised service and rare moments that will long be treasured and remembered.
"The Baltics trip was the first time that we traveled on our own but used a tour company to help plan and then fully support the trip. You have now spoiled - and ruined - us. Hats off to Baltic Holidays. You gave us a trip of a lifetime."
4. Friends of friends of friends – with benefits!
It’s not only you that is the customer. A specialist tour operator is essentially a customer of each of their service providers. Often, these relationships have been developed and nurtured over many years, resulting in a mutual trust, better service, discounted rates and many other benefits that go in hand in hand. You, in turn, get to enjoy these benefits. You’re not just a transient client that they may never see again - you’re a ‘friend of a friend' and will be treated as such.
5. Save your time for the fun stuff
Using a specialist operator can save you huge amounts of time. Yes, you can do your own research online and work out an itinerary based on ‘best guestimates’ and positive TripAdvisor reviews – but a specialist tour operator already knows all this. The best flights to book, the most sensible routes to take, the days that the museums close for saint’s days or staff training. Give them a breakdown of your likes, dislikes, travel preferences and hotspot wish lists and they’ll shape an itinerary that is practical and realistic within your timeframe and budget – leaving you to read up on all that ancient history, teach yourself some of the local lingo or finish up knitting yourself a pair of pyjamas for those extra chilly evenings…
6. Advice & support is always on hand
A specialist tour operator can become your co-pilot and best friend, helping you to navigate the rough seas of red tape and visas, currency worries or climate queries. They will be on hand to offer advice (because they’ve already done it or know someone who has) and be able to support you through your trip prep as well as during your time on the road (at sea and in the air!). Most operators will provide you with an emergency contact number that you can call if things get tricky, giving you peace of mind that help and support are never far away. A good tour operator will give you the confidence to travel to places off the beaten track, to try things you may never have tried and allow you to explore this beautiful world with calmness and assurance.
7. Bring your holiday to life with the little extras
And finally, a specialist tour operator will be able to provide that ‘little bit extra’; that ‘je ne sais quois’ that takes a good trip and makes it into a great trip. By sharing real-life insights and personal anecdotes, a specialist tour operator enables you to experience the country - not just see it. You’ll have the chance to meet the people, begin to understand their culture and learn to share their passion. You can’t get that from the internet.
Baltic Holidays are a small, independent tour operator - specialists in private tailor-made tours of the Baltic States, Russia, Scandinavia & eastern Europe. From the Baltic to the Black Sea we have expert knowledge and local teams to craft the best itinerary for your travels. Our private drivers and guides, bespoke arrangements and personal service give you the best experiences of our destinations and true insights into real life; all designed to suit your pace, budget and interests. Contact us to discuss your travels in the region and how we can help on [email protected] or visit www.balticholidays.com for some inspiration!
We walk the streets to find the best places, so you don't have to.
Published: 06 June 2018