Recommend June 2012 - (Page 14)

tour talk Honeymooning in Morocco. the honeymoon artists of A rick shively ARTISANS OF LEISURE Artisans of Leisure is a tour company that’s known for taking honeymoon packaging to the next level, an unforgettable and unmatchable blend of romance and cultural adventure with a focus on luxury and “just for us” travel. Artisans of Leisure initially started in 2003 with the idea of promoting luxury travel with a cultural focus, but Ashley Issacs Ganz, founder of Artisans of Leisure, says, “I’d say we’ve always had a lot of honeymooners come to us. It’s not our primary focus, but we’ve always catered to honeymooners; we’ve always had a special section on our website that’s just about honeymoons and romantic travel.” And on that special honeymoon and romance travel page, you’ll find a full global menu of some of the most unique ideas for destination honeymoons you’ll find anywhere, such as 11 days in South Africa and Mauritius with a luxury honeymoon hideaway in Cape Town plus day trips to the Winelands, luxury yacht cruises, and luxury safaris in Kruger National Park, with the added bonus of do-what-you-want beach time on the paradise island of Mauritius at a luxury resort. Or, clients can choose among Thailand, India, Morocco, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Arabia, Turkey and, of course, Europe. There’s even more goodies because all of Artisans of Leisure’s itineraries are sample itineraries and every honeymoon is fully customizable. Destination preferences, too, are always changing, Ganz points out. “We find that people who come to us for honeymoons want a lot more exotic destinations. This year, Burma has been a very popular honeymoon destination, but we’ve had honeymooners who want to go to Bhutan, Japan, Turkey—all pretty exotic destinations in addition to the more traditional destinations like Italy.” For clients who want a unique multi-destination honeymoon, Artisans of Leisure can put it together for them, as well. “I’ve found a lot of people want a stay in Europe, combined with more exotic destinations so we get some really creative combinations. We’ll do, for example, Paris or London with a week-long safari in Africa or Italy with Turkey.” What makes these tours so special are all the added special touches that enhance the honeymoon experience. There’s extra-special amenities such as carefully selected rooms—often with private balconies, jacuzzis and/or plunge pools; private touring; romantic excursions such as private cruises to secluded beaches; meals in dramatic settings; restaurant reservations; spa appointments; shopping recommendations; tickets to cultural events and exclusive access to local activities. Ganz also points out that there’s a unique opportunity for agents to participate in honeymoon packaging because the honeymooners don’t have the time or will to do the planning and Artisans of Leisure is happy to work with agents. Indeed, the average cost of the company’s honeymoon destination packages run between $9,000 and $12,000, which means a good commission for agents and the opportunity to do a lot of future business with the happy couple. “I think that honeymooners tend to come to us because they feel like they’ve spent so much time planning the wedding, they want to just turn the honeymoon over to somebody else.” As a result, she adds, “Their agents contact us because a lot of times honeymooners aren’t sure where they want to go, but they do know they don’t want to get involved with all the details of planning. “A lot of agents will call us and say, ‘I’ve got these great clients but I don’t know this destination well. Are you okay with having the client call you and you speak with them directly.’” From there, she says, all the rest of the communication is between the agent and the Artisans of Leisure office. “We’re happy to work however the agent wants us to work and provide everything they feel they need to work with the client.” Ganz says that her company does a lot with travel agents on a request basis in terms of training and providing tailored materials based on what they need. “We can really walk through different destinations in-depth with an agent if it’s a destination they’re not as familiar with, as well as provide information on why to choose one honeymoon destination over another so they have that information at their fingertips to explain to their clients. Some travel agents want us to prepare materials that are outlines of our tours—printed versions of what’s on our website to present to their clients. And we do a lot of one-on-one training with our agents and individual agency offices.” With almost 10 years under its belt, the company has, as Ganz pointed out, seen a lot of honeymoon business come across their sales desks, and she says, “Honeymooners who came to us when we started almost 10 years ago still come to us to handle trips for their families. It’s fun to watch it evolve.” In addition to customized tours, the company also offers a honeymoon registry. At the agent’s or client’s request, the company will set up a dedicated honeymoon registry page for the couple where friends and family can either contribute a monetary donation to the honeymoon cost or purchase a specific package listed on the page such as a couple’s massage or romantic dinner. ■ contact information Artisans of Leisure: (800) 214-8144; 14 june 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend June 2012

Editor's Notes
Hotel Desk: Noble House Hotels & Resorts
Tour Talk: Artisans of Leisure
Romance on Land & Sea
Out of Africa Come Romantic Retreats
Starry-Eyed Bliss in Exotic Surroundings
Enchanting Nuptials American-Style
Honeymoons that Stir the Soul
Latin American Gems Play to the Heart
Brazil Travel Planner
Fairy Tale Honeymoons in Europe
Island Weddings Pump Up the Volume
Once-in-a-Lifetime Honeymoons
Destination Wedding Powerhouses
Fancy-Filled Mexican Weddings
'Mooning in Mexico

Recommend June 2012