Today’s interview is with Ariail Siggins of Travel Planners Honeymoons, based in Greenville, SC! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
Travel Planners Honeymoons is a luxury travel agency based in the Carolina’s but servicing the South East and beyond. We are a third generation, owned and operated company with over 35 years in the business. Our goal is to create one-of-a-kind honeymoons, destination weddings, and special getaways for our client’s by offering individualized service. We have extensive knowledge of the travel industry and can help guide our client’s from the initial idea all the way to booking and the final trip. People wonder all the time how we stay open with online booking options these days, but what we’ve learned is that once you experience booking with an agency and having that level of customer service you will never go back. We are available 24/7 during the trip in case anything comes up, we don’t want our clients to ever feel like they are having to handle something alone.
We have been booking the Upstate for the past 35 plus years, but have recently decided to start working with the wedding industry because we feel like we have something to offer it. True luxury travel agencies that can offer the hands on customer service we can are hard to come by these days. I am the current marketing director and handle all marketing efforts and new business – as well as being the third generation of the family working in the company. I did my undergraduate at Clemson and my Masters at Savannah College of Art and Design so I feel like I can blend my business knowledge and understanding of the design industry to accurately place our company in the market. I keep office hours at our location in Greenville, SC but spend roughly 10 days a month traveling to visit new properties and learning more about locations we book.
See more after the cut!
How did you get into the business?
I came on board in March of this year to help ramp up the company’s marketing efforts. Rather than relying purely on word of mouth recommendations I decided to actively go after a new market, the wedding industry. Because of my background in design at SCAD I’ve had a lot of fun rebranding the new arm of the company and doing research on the wedding industry and current vendors.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Traveling to new places! I can’t do my job without understanding the travel industry, and the best way to learn about the products we offer is to go and actually experience them. As I said, I spend about 10 days a month traveling and it never gets old. I want to expand my knowledge of the industry for marketing reasons but I also want to be sure that we are offering clients the best in the business!
If you could pick one unique product or service offering, which would be your favorite, and why?
Booking private Villas for lodging rather than resorts is becoming more and more popular in the travel industry. This is something fun to book for us because there is so much customization possible from planning for groceries, to hiring a chef, to planning charters and excursions. Rather than being tied down to what the resort offers the sky is the limit for customers with this option and they are beginning to be available in more and more locations.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to others just getting started in your field?
I would tell others in the travel industry to find a niche market and drill down from there, don’t try to be everything to everyone. This industry is huge and has a ton of different markets, if you try to market to all of them you’ll not only blow your budget but also have terrible saturation in each market. And be sure that whatever niche market you choose is something you believe in and love working with! In the small business world you are going to live with your work, if you don’t love it you’ll go crazy.
What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?
Outside of work I love yoga and reading. I’m also a big fan of the local food and craft festivals we have in Greenville. Being a family owned business I always love supporting other local businesses in the community when I can.
What makes you different from others in your field?
In the travel industry you’re going to find a lot of agencies that only book with certain vendors because they offer the highest commission rates, we don’t do that. We pride ourselves on creating getaways that are tailored to our client’s needs, not ours. That being said, I love working with a wide variety of properties and vendors. I don’t want any of my client’s to have the same cookie cutter experience, so learning about different hot resorts and destinations allows me to give them something that others, especially the internet, cant – uniqueness.
Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?
I don’t want bride’s to leave Caribbean honeymoons in the past completely, but I would like for them to start exploring new ideas in different areas of the world. For example: why not head to Napa for a relaxing week, or spend 10 days sailing around Croatia, or rent a villa in the Swiss Alps? I love a little sense of adventure in travels, but I also understand that many brides just want to unwind after the wedding madness.
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are in the midst of planning their big day?
Trust the professionals that you hired! We all know that you want everything perfect, we want that too! Commit to your vendors and trust them to create everything that you’ve been planning. that way you can actually enjoy it all. The big day passes quickly, don’t get so wrapped up in the details that you miss the amazing point of it all (cough cough your new life together)! Same goes for us, we want you to soak up every minute away together, let us manage the details before hand so that when your dream vacation arrives all you have to do is show up.
Thanks Ariail! For more information about Travel Planners Honeymoons, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website.
Do you have any questions or comments for Ariail? Add them to the comments below!