Spring has finally sprung, which means that summer travel is just around the corner. If you’re looking to plan a memorable family vacation, the options online can seem dizzying. The expert advisors at Travel House can help you find the best values, without sacrificing quality. Rather than spend time and money booking a trip sight unseen, let their seasoned advisors use their own extensive travel experiences to ensure that your trip is exceptional in every way. And here’s the best part: their service is absolutely free.
Travel House has been in business for over 40 years, and owner Eleanor Nelson is among the most well-traveled people you’ll ever meet. She makes a point of rarely returning to the same place twice (except to visit her family, of course). Eleanor has assembled a team of travel advisors who specialize in various locales and modes of travel. Dreaming of Switzerland? Call Amanda – she’s just returned. Have your mind set on a cruise? Bunny is an expert.
Eleanor hires advisors who are already well-traveled – then she foots the bill for their continued travel (pretty great, right?).
“I want the best educated agents in the industry,” Eleanor says. “I also want them to truly empathize with the traveler’s experience: when their flight is delayed due to a snowstorm, or a hotel doesn’t meet their expectations in some way, they better relate to what their clients are going through when faced with the same challenges.”
If a client does have an issue, Eleanor and the Travel House advisors know exactly who to call. As members of the Virtuoso network of travel agencies, they have access to 75 “onsites,” or people on the ground in each of their destination countries worldwide.
“When I book a trip to Paris, I’m using a supplier who is on the ground, and I have an actual person – with a name and phone number – who I can call if anything goes awry.”
Virtuoso is an invitation-only consortium of high-end travel agencies, and membership in the group also gives Travel House clients access to exceptional experiences.
“I can get upgrades, late check-ins, special amenities, spa treatments, etc., that other travel agencies couldn’t get,” Eleanor says. “It also gives me access to the suppliers themselves – the hotel managers, etc. If, for example, you called and found that a hotel or cruise was full that week, our Virtuoso status and relationship means that I might be able to make it work.”
Eleanor is so committed to ensuring her clients’ satisfaction that she gives them her personal cell phone number, and encourages them to call anytime (no matter the time difference). “I’ll admit that I don’t really want to hear if their breakfast is sub-par, but if they were promised an oceanfront view and they’re overlooking a parking lot, I definitely want to hear from them!”
Just recently, Eleanor was able to help a client with a missed flight connection pick up a cruise at another port, despite sold out flights. “Sometimes that relationship truly makes a difference in the success of a trip.”
Eleanor acknowledges that you don’t need a travel advisor for every trip you take. “If you’re going to visit your mother in Florida, you don’t need me. You know where you’re going, you’ve been there before. But if you’re traveling to a new destination, and you’re spending a significant amount of money, then you need somebody who can guide you through the process. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s nearly impossible to find it.”
For online vacation purchases, buyer beware certainly applies. “Have you ever bought clothes on the internet that, when they arrive, look nothing like the items you purchased? That’s the last thing you want for your family vacation,” Eleanor says. “Of course the resorts are going to show you their very best photos, and of course they’re going to have their friends post the best reviews on Trip Advisor…but that unfortunately doesn’t mean it’s a true representation.”
You can book a vacation that’s been thoroughly vetted for no additional cost. Using a travel advisor costs the client nothing; Travel House is paid by the suppliers – who in turn are bound to match the lowest advertised price found on the internet. (However, Travel House does charge a fee to book airline tickets, if you book airfare only.)
Travel House specializes in multigenerational vacations, where grandparents, kids, and grandkids decide on a destination for family fun. They sell all ranges of trips, from Carnival and Royal Carribbean cruises, to all types of Disney and resort vacations. They even have corporate clients who use them to book at Hampton or Holiday Inns.
“We are certainly not only about high-end travel, and we value every client,” Eleanor says. “We are here to meet the needs of our clients, whatever those may be.” (You can fill out a traveler profile here to have tailored offers sent your way – tempting, isn’t it?)
People often ask Eleanor why they should travel. She acknowledges that, yes, it’s wonderful to see the sights and the antiquities. There’s more to it than that, though.
“The real reason to travel is to meet the people, and see the culture. Go into their homes if you can. Meet them, hear how they live, and see what’s important to them. It’s truly amazing.”
Eleanor can only think of one peril when it comes to showing your children the world: they might want to live abroad one day, as both of Eleanor’s children have chosen to do. She looks on the bright side where this is concerned, though: “It’s just another reason to travel!”
The Travel House advisors look forward to working with you to plan your next adventure! Please feel free to reach out by phone or e-mail anytime.
Travel House Inc.
200 Applebee Street
Barrington, IL 60010
Leisure Dept. 847-381-0600
Corporate Dept. 847-381-9180
Fax # 847-381-9398
Toll Free # 800-356-0220