As experienced travel professionals know, every journey begins with a conversation. The more you know about your clients, the better the chance you can exceed their expectations. Why squeeze clients into an off-the-rack solution, when you can tailor-make an itinerary to fit all their curves and edges?
This is especially true when it comes to luxury travel in Italy. The ‘Bel Paese’ literally has something for everyone, whether they are first-timer visitors or been-there-done-that veterans. We have come up with five key questions you can ask your clients to make sure they get as close to their Italian dream as possible.
What about the country excites you most? Are you a fashionista or a foodie, a history buff or a honeymooner, a soul searcher or a city slicker? Once you have established your clients’ expectations, you can work with an on-site expert to pinpoint the regions and activities that best suit their needs.
How lo(cal) can you go?
For many travelers, it is all about going inside the local culture, but each client has their own comfort zone. If hanging out with locals is amenable, a well-connected DMC can arrange for a pizza-making lesson with a local Lake Como family or wine and cheese at a Grand Canal palazzo. Experiences like Vespa tours through Rome or an early morning truffle hunt the Tuscan hills work well with adventurous types.
Highbrow or streetwise?
Pointed questions about a client’s pet-peeves and must-haves will help you adapt an itinerary to a client’s particular tastes. Some love the idea of street food in Naples or a pub crawl in the vibrant backstreets of Bologna; others might prefer an exclusive after-hours tour of St. Mark’s Basilica or a Michelin-starred lunch on the Sorrento Peninsula.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
What is your clients’ transportation of choice? On-site experts can arrange a balloon flight over the Piedmont or a sea plane ride over Lake Como. More independent travelers might prefer to self-drive or take the Frecciarossa fast train from Florence to Rome. Book a luxury sedan with an expert driver for the utmost in comfort and some bonus facts and folklore.
Palatial or pastoral?
The sky’s the limit with accommodations in Italy, but not all are created equal. Quiz your clients on the amenities and comforts that they value most. While some small boutique properties offer a unique sense of place and charm to spare, they may not have an in-house gym or a restaurant. Rural resorts or ‘Borgo’ village hotels have luxurious guestrooms and a wide range of on-site activities and dining options, but will not offer easy access to nearby nightlife. In-country DMCs will have relationships with hotels that will get your clients the best room at their bucket-list properties or locate a lesser-known gem that ticks all their boxes.
Founded in 2000 by British-born industry veteran Andrea Grisdale, IC Bellagio has a passion for Italian travel that goes beyond destination management — Andrea and her team are renowned for crafting custom itineraries for luxury travelers that deliver Italy at its most authentic. From rubbing shoulders with Italy’s most iconic brands to going behind the scenes with traditional artisans, and from exceptional guides who bring their destinations alive to special relationships with Italy’s best hoteliers, IC Bellagio prides itself on its outstanding connections across the country. The company is also committed to serving the local and wider community through the IC Bellagio Academy and advocacy programs like the local revitalization initiative ProLezzeno – never forgetting that at IC Bellagio “It’s All About the People.”
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