My customer just returned from a successful trip to New Orleans. They were very happy with the trip but arranging it was not a seamless process. The dynamics of this city, especially post Katina, proposes challenges for both the travel agent and the client. In this case, the client was a multi-generational family, a middle aged couple with college aged children and senior, but active parents.
This customer wanted to be near Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, and other than eating and enjoying the usual festivities the city offers, wanted to do a lot of walking and exploration on their own. They also, explicitly wanted a hotel that was locally owned with a characteristic, urban atmosphere.
This customer lives in the heart of Westchester, not far from the county airport. We had a choice. To fly non-stop to New Orleans from a New York City Airport, or fly out of Westchester Airport, so close the planes could fly over their house, but with the inconvenience of making a connection elsewhere in the country. We elected with flying into and out of Westchester. The inconvenience of making connections was outweighed by the convenience of using an airport so close to home, especially upon returning home at 11:00 at night.
The first hotel I picked looked perfect, it was in National Historic Landmark where New Orleans cotton merchants started trading in 1871. However, it had a series of negative reviews on an unbiased website. I then found another charming, French boutique style hotel less than a block from Bourbon Street. However, Bourbon Street is a 24 hour, open container party scene. Probably not conducive to this family’s enjoyment. The hotel we finally chose was ideal. At least a safe 2 blocks from Bourbon Street, 2 blocks from the Mississippi River and less than a mile from several parks and the French Quarter.
The customer also wanted to tour the 9th Ward. They did not know that large tour busses are banned from the area. Only licensed companies using small vans are allowed in the area.
What are you priorities when you travel? Adventure, convenience, value, safety? These are all things any travel professional can help you with.
ROBERT LEVINE, INDEPENDENT TRAVEL AGENT