Maria and I met back in the summer of 2000 when we both attended Travel College, and back then it was very clear to the both of us that we were going to have some type of career in this exciting industry, but we were not exactly sure in what field of travel yet, nor did we know that in the distant future we would end up being partners in life and business.
Approximately fifteen years later we are now married, have a wonderful Miniature Pinscher dog named Bacardi after our favorite rum, and we have been successfully providing our independent niche travel services to future wedding couples since 2007.
From 2001 leading up to when we eventually became independent in the travel industry, we had carved out our career paths with other companies. Where Maria worked in a variety of corporate and leisure travel companies, and I worked in Retail travel, which started off as a leisure agent, then later promoted to office manager, and several years later was offered a position within the same company to be the Business Development Manager for their newly developed Cruise Division located in Vancouver.
Maria and I would have never predicted that this time in the travel industry would eventually lead us to become Destination Wedding Specialists! But as it all came together for us, it was certain that this was the direction and the market we chose to be in.
It was a natural progression for the both of us, and it only made sense at the time as we experienced the demand and growth in the destination wedding market over the years. We were not exactly sure how big it was going to be at the beginning, but we knew deep down that destination weddings were going to be much bigger in the future!
Maria and I developed a strong passion in assisting couples with their destination wedding plans over the years, and that same passion eventually spilled over on to us. So in 2002, Maria and I planned and arranged our very own wedding ceremony that took place in Varadero, Cuba of March, 2004. This was something we both really wanted, and are very happy we did. This unique opportunity gave us the hands-on experience and knowledge that we could now pass on to our future wedding couples!
The Reason Why We Became Destination Wedding Specialists
As traditional travel agents, we were offering everything under the sun and focusing on the volume of business we could bring in each day. We both felt strongly that wedding couples deserved more, such as the amount of quality time and resources that should be allocated for each couple. But it was hard as we needed to meet our monthly quotas, and instead, we ended up giving the couple a vacation brochure and suggested that they come back with their decisions at a more convenient time. However, due to the couples frustrations and disappointments, many of them would not come back.
This is the very reason we needed to make some drastic changes in order to fill a gap that was being overlooked and neglected in the travel industry, and this rapidly growing destination wedding market.
It Was Time to Go Independent as Travel Specialists
The moment we became independent and specialized, that was the beginning that made all the difference for us and our future wedding couples. Breaking free from the traditional retail agency setting allowed Maria and I to provide the necessary work environment and all the tools to offer the best services possible.
Having convenient flexible days and hours, plus the right location to properly conduct our meetings was very important to us. As well, this new direction gave us the opportunity to sit down with couples in a very relaxing and non-stressful environment, which allowed us to spend as much time as required to go through all the necessary details required during the planning process.
Our past and current wedding couples really appreciated the one-on-one experience without all of those crazy distractions of the busy travel office. With all the time at our disposal, we were able to explain and clarify many of the steps that seemed to be confusing for many couples at the beginning.
The Major Difference Between Travel Agents & Travel Specialist’s
When I started out as a Retail travel agent, I always claimed that I was a one-stop-shop agent, where you could book your flights, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, tours, travel insurance, and many other services with me. Well the same holds true today being independent, however, the major difference then and now is that we take it a step further being specialists.
We looked at necessary skills and knowledge that we needed to acquire. The very resources that we believe are extremely important for couples that were seeking out these professionals services.
1. Continually train and educate ourselves on various wedding destinations, venues, and various legal ceremony requirements. This was achieved through specific Trade Shows, local and online Seminars, Familiarization Trips (at destination), plus taking wedding specialist courses at various resort properties and specialized educational institutions.
2. We dedicated more time and resources specifically to couples planning a destination wedding. Couples would think we were joking when we would say that we are available to them virtually 24/7, Monday through Sunday! Not many travel agents out there today can say that they provide such service.
3. At the end of our meetings with couples, we stipulate that we do all the work on their behalf. Where the only responsibility the couples really have, is to select their travel date, ceremony venue, date, and time. Then we do all the rest, including all communication with the chosen venue coordinators, and if the couple is inviting guests, we take care of that part as well.
What Is the Difference Between Travel Agents and Us?
There are so many travel professionals working for agencies out there today that really don’t understand the real needs of a wedding couple. Most of them still currently look at the business as just a group vacation, not realizing it’s so much more in the eyes of the wedding couple!
In conclusion, we hope that you agree that your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime special event, and you deserve to receive the all the necessary attention and care during the entire planning process, where we have one opportunity to get it right! The moment you both say your “I do’s”, and from that day forward nothing but good memories will be instilled in yours and your guest’s minds for many years to come. We say this with deepest sincerity, don’t take any chances, and make the time to seek out a destination wedding specialist, as we believe that will be one of the best decisions you will ever make.
Bill Parise (ACC) has been involved in the travel industry offering trip and vacation advice since 2000. Bill and his wife Maria currently run their own home-based travel business and have been doing so since 2007.
As a Destination Wedding and Group Vacation Specialist, Bill has helped plan and arrange a number of wedding ceremonies over the years for couples to several exciting destinations such as Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe as well.
Not only has Bill and his wife Maria been assisting couples plan their dream ceremonies at exotic locations, but they also planned their very own destination wedding ceremony that took place in Varadero, Cuba back in 2004. So Bill truly believes that it’s extremely important in being well rounded in this ever growing market.
For more information and details on how you can plan your next destination ceremony, Bill encourages you to visit their website’s Destination Wedding Services page, where you can easily view all the exciting options available. You can also follow them on their DW Facebook page where we list the latest news, tips, and exclusive specials to our followers.