NEW YORK -- Plan
well in advance. Encourage the couple to communicate with each
other. Establish the budget.
factors are key to planning honeymoons and to becoming a successful
honeymoon specialist, said Carol OConnor, a veteran travel agent
who operates an online honeymoon travel-planning service and
registry at www.travelbride.com.
was included on Travel+Leisure magazines 2004 A-List and named a
Honeymoon Travel Super Agent, so she knows what she is talking
Based in Corte
Madera, Calif., she is an independent agent who is affiliated with
a host agency, Dimension Travel.
will allow clients the time not only to research destinations but
also to obtain any necessary passports, visas or vaccinations. An
early start may also enable them to use their frequent flyer miles
for airline tickets and to receive some early-booking discounts,
especially with the cruise lines, she said.
OConnor said it
is imperative that [the bridal couple] communicate with each other
and discuss their desires before the agent steps in.
A honeymoon ...
must have the right ingredients to please them both. It is the
agents responsibility to ask them questions, said OConnor. For
example, do they want a beach vacation or an active adventure or a
combination of both?
Ask if they share
common interests, such as biking, golfing or diving, OConnor said.
And, she added, the retailer needs to know what the romantic
fantasies are. Are they dreaming of a sunset sail or a moonlight
Then theres the
cost. Before making any travel plans, they need to establish a
budget for their trip. It is helpful for them to do some research
online to get an idea of costs, she said.
using her TravelBride.com honeymoon registry service as an option
to enable wedding guests to contribute to the cost as their gift.
Couples are charged a $150 fee.
OConnor had been
a leisure agent in the San Francisco Bay area for more than 25
years before she began specializing in honeymoons.
In 1997, I had a
client planning her honeymoon. It was her second marriage, and she
really did not need household items as wedding gifts. She asked if
I would accept checks from her friends and family as gifts that we
could apply toward the cost of her honeymoon.
The agent liked
the idea, implemented it and the couple received a substantial
amount of money, enabling them to have the honeymoon of their
This led OConnor
to launch TravelBride.com. Today, 50% of her business comes through
her site, she said.
reporter Donna Tunney, send e-mail to [email protected].