You Can’t VIP Yourself

Some road-warriors feel they can plan their own travel more easily themselves than by using a professional travel agent. Others use their agent for more complicated trips such as an adventure trip through Costa Rica or New Zealand or a multi-generational trip to the Galapagos. But, then decide to book their own weekend stay in Miami, London, or Chicago or their resort holiday in Cancun, Naples or Beaver Creek. Once in a while, I will hear a loyal client say, “I did not want to bother you for this easy trip.” Sure a one-stop holiday can be straight forward enough to book online with just a few clicks, but are you missing out on a world of value adds and special considerations?

A travel consumer should take into consideration the powerful relationship that their travel advisor has with the best hotels and resorts. A travel advisor worth their weight is most likely on a first name basis with the Sales Manager or the General Manager of the world’s finest hotels and works with them on a regular basis to insure that her clients are very well cared for. You can rest assured that the hotel is fully aware of the value of the business that your travel advisor sends their way on an annual basis and will always prioritize upgrades and amenities for her clients.

Sure you can book yourself, but you certainly cannot VIP yourself. The relationship your travel agent has with a luxury hotel most often translates into complimentary upgrades, welcome amenities, early & late checkouts, and extra values such as spa or food and beverage credits. An excellent travel consultant not only books her client’s room, but is in touch with the property several times before you actually arrive insuring that the hotels is aware of your arrival time, your preferences, and special requirements. Even if the hotel does not automatically offer specific value-adds, you can rest assured you are going to be treated a whole lot better on arrival if the booking is coming from your agent.

What can you do to insure your experience is always elevated?

Make sure your travel advisor knows your arrival time and requested check-out time to and from the property so she can try to get the first available rooms allocated to you and put you on the list for a possible late checkout. Don’t be shy to let your agent know things you both love and those you despise. For example, if you do not drink alcohol and stay away from cheese, but absolutely love healthy amenities such as sparkling waters and fruit be sure your agent knows this so that she can try to tailor the most appropriate welcome amenity for you. If a quiet room, and non-allergenic pillow are preferred or if you always want a suite with a door that closes off the bedroom from the living area, these are things a good agent will keep on file and know about you so you do not have to reinvent the wheel each time.

Once a rapport is built with your travel agent, she knows you as well as anyone and can insure those personal touches are always in place before you can even think about them yourself. The most important advice I can give to the traveling consumer is to never ever book your room using a discount web site. I know for a fact after working in luxury hotels for 20 years, that that is the sure fire way to be allocated the worst room in the house. Hotels do not have a relationship with the online discounters and the hotel’s most loyal clients do not book their rooms that way, so bookings that come through this way receive the least amount of fanfare.

Besides all of the intangibles of working with a luxury travel advisor who knows you personally, there are concrete value adds to consider.

You book: $500 per night for a Courtyard View Room x 2 nights

You pay: $500 x 2 = $1,000
You receive: Courtyard View Room Additional Value You Received: 0

YOUR TRAVEL ADVISOR BOOKS YOUR ROOM FOR YOU Your agent books: $500 per night for a Courtyard View x 2 nights

You pay: $500 x 2 = $1,000
You receive:
Daily Breakfast for two (approximate value $70 per day) Upgrade to City View Room (approximate value $150 per day)
Food & Beverage or Spa Credit (approximate value $100 once during stay) Welcome Amenity (approximate value $50)
Additional Value You Receive: $590

I always tell my clients to book the room they want to ensure they will be thrilled with their stay and to avoid disappointment. Never bank on an upgrade, as they are offered only if available at check-in and should be considered icing on the cake! Surrender yourself to your professional travel advisor and be prepared to be surprised and delighted during your travels.


Resort to Laura Madrid is a luxury travel consulting agency. Laura Madrid has always had an intense passion for travel, people, food, and an active life-style. Her mother instilled in her a love of travel at a young age when she piloted a five-seater single engine airplane to Costa Rica to start a new life with Laura, Laura’s two brothers, and their Labrador retriever.

Since then, Laura has lived in Italy, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Additionally, she’s traveled to and experienced 70+ countries and their unique cultures. Given her adventurous childhood and more recently adventuring around the globe with her own children, Laura knows the nuances involved in making any trip an epic experience!

Laura’s professional background includes 20 years as a sales professional in the luxury hotel industry in key positions in on-property operations and global sales roles with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

Laura started her own travel consulting business in 2011 and has built a fiercely loyal clientele based 100% on referrals! Laura Madrid is a member of Virtuoso, a by-invitation-only network of the world’s leading travel consultants and her clients benefit from her elite partnership with the most exceptional hotels, tour providers, adventure companies and cruise lines on Earth!

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