Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Twitter/Travel Success Story

If you don't yet believe in the power of social media, especially Twitter, perhaps this story of how Twitter works for small business will change your mind. One of the first emails I received yesterday was from a gentleman requesting assistance with planning his honeymoon. Not just any honeymoon, mind you, but a five-star, first-class honeymoon. He started his email like this: "Social Media led me to your website. Thank Twitter."

A day later, he is reviewing two proposals I sent him and we will be chatting later today to finalize plans for his fabulous December honeymoon, inclusive of first-class flights and a week's stay at one of the top Caribbean resorts.

Back to yesterday: Around 2 pm (or 11 pm in Italy) I received an URGENT "Direct Message" (or DM) from a fellow "twitterer" on holiday in Italy. She is one of my 4,300+ followers, and was reaching out to see if I might be able to help her find a villa on gorgeous Lake Como (pictured above!)...for a week, starting today!!! Seems she booked into an apartment and was horrified upon arrival to find it was not as expected. Even though it was late at night, I was able to reach my top local contact via email, put the two of them in touch and woke up this morning to an email from my follower thanking me for "saving the day, and the holiday." They are now esconced in a beautiful lakeview villa w/private pool, and it's all because of the power of Twitter.

So...the moral of the story is, if you're not yet engaged with your potential customers on Twitter, why not? (As an aside, stay tuned for more news from my sister company, Social Media Mavens...specializing in social media strategy for hotels & travel companies).

For more details on how Social Media Mavens can assist with YOUR Social Media Success, contact For more details on how EliteTravelGal can help with your luxury travel plans, email or call 310 979 9036. And be sure to follow us on Twitter at and

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Once a Traveler, Always a Traveler...

It was bound to happen. Despite all of the talk about the demise of the travel industry during these tough economic times, a fascinating thing occurred: some cruise lines, airlines & hotels actually sold out their inventory for the summer season.

Of course, the reason is obvious...prices dropped so low in the past few months that traveling almost became cheaper than staying home. And talk about getting more for your money. Since when did cruise lines start giving away free shore excursions, thousands of dollars to spend onboard & free flights (not to mentions, sail prices below what we've ever seen before)? Hotels too, coughed up free nights to sweeten the pot, and in many cases, were willing to throw in free meals or really, whatever it took, to put "heads in beds."

But I am here to tell you, the days of the deep deep discounted deals industry-wide are all but over. The flood of daily deals to my inbox has slowed, and while many hotels are still offering terrific opportunities for travelers seeking great value for money, the near give-aways have nearly disappeared.

What does this mean? Well, it means that those who took advantage of the early booking opportunities definitely got the travel deals of the decade. It also means good luck securing a spot on a Regent or Oceania Cruise this summer (both lines were nearly sold out at last check). doesn't mean there aren't still some good deals to be had. Seabourn Cruises, for example, is having a one-week sale (book today through Friday for best prices). Crystal Cruises dropped select fares 25% last week (for 3 days only), and Silversea continues to promote 65% off certain sailings. And many hotels, while working hard to sustain competitive rates, are still willing to throw in some great value adds (note: we've become pros at securing these for our clients in this environment).

But at the end of the day, here's what I believe: once a traveler, always a traveler. And being one myself, there are certain things in life you just can't sacrifice. Luxury travel tops my list...and regardless of what "deals" are out there or who's offering free meals, I am always going to find a way to indulge my passion (as photo taken w/a gal pal on recent trip to St. Tropez illustrates!).
Contact us today and we guarantee we can help you do the same. Suffice it to say, it likely won't be on a Regent Cruise to Alaska this summer, but we do have the inside scoop on incredible options available worldwide. Trust us, there are plenty of great options...and you'll certainly have a better shot of finding them with an expert--and fellow passionate traveler--on your side! For more details and a complimentary trip planning consultation, email or phone 310.979.9036.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Most of you who read my tweets on Twitter or follow me on Facebook know that I just spent a fabulous week aboard the beautiful Crystal Serenity. It is one of my favorite ships at sea (love the spacious penthouse suites, the stunning public spaces, the impeccable service, Silk Road by Nobu and Prego by Piero Selvaggio, Valentino's chef), and this recent 7-day Mediterranean sailing from Rome to Barcelona reminded me of why I love cruising Crystal.

If you haven't yet tried the ultra-luxury line, now's your chance. An additional 25 percent off already reduced fares on select 4th quarter itineraries is available, but here's the catch: it's a 72-hour sale and the discount only valid on bookings made July 8, 9 & 10. Note: In addition to the 25 percent off, guests receive a minimum of $500 to spend onboard (for anything but casino gaming & future cruise deposits). Clients of Elite Travel International will receive an additional $100 onboard spending credit, courtesy of EliteTravelGal and, in some cases, prepaid gratuities (inquire for more details!).

Here is a list of the sailings going on sale, for 72 hours, starting tomorrow:

Sept 26-Oct 8: Venice to Athens, from $4,088 per person w/a $1000 per person on board credit. Ports of call include Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Mykonos & Kusadasi.

Nov 10-22: New York to Miami, from $3,139 per person w/a $500 pp credit. Ports of call include: Bermuda, St. Maarten, Antigua, Curacao, Grand Cayman.

Nov 12-22: Lisbon to Miami, from $2,655 per person, plus $500 per person. Ports of call for this trans-Atlantic sailing include: Ponta Delgada & Grand Turk.

Dec 5-20: Manaus to Buenos Aires, from $4,050 per person, plus $1000 per person. South American ports of call include: Boca de Valeria, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo.

Dec 10-21: Caldera to Miami, from $2,381 per person, with $500 credit per person. Caribbean ports of call on this pre-holiday island cruise include: Aruba, St. Barts (!), St. Maarten and Grand Turk.

All fares include accommodations (fares vary based on level of accommodation chosen); all meals; all non-alcoholic beverages; and a wide range of onboard activities. Penthouse suites also come with butler service and in-room bar set up w/wine or liquor of your choice.

Don't miss the opportunity to enjoy a terrific Crystal Cruise at a much reduced price! Contact us anytime this week to discuss the options, and to book you on the itinerary of your choice before these deals sail away! For more details, email me at or call 310.979.9036.