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How much to charge for helping to plan a trip to Italy?

How much to charge for helping to plan a trip to Italy?

Feb 10th, 2004, 08:51 AM
  #1  
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How much to charge for helping to plan a trip to Italy?

My husband and I are taking a community Italian class, and most of the other class members have never been to Europe. Several have asked us if we will help them plan a trip- schedules, hotels, which cities, and sites. They asked me how much I would charge to consult with them. I have been to Italy probably ten times in the last ten years. But I have no idea how much to charge.

Also the teacher has suggested that my husband and I teach a class or two about traveling in Italy which will be connected to her class. It sounds interesting to us. Actually my husband teaches workshops on the wetlands for a living, and I am a retired teacher(kindergarten!), so it actually doesn't sound too intimidating to think about teaching a short community course on traveling. Any ideas about doing that.
Sally is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 08:59 AM
  #2  
 
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Sally,

bobthenavigator plans trips professionally. Perhaps his website will help you:

http://www.bobthenavigator.homestead.com/


Good luck!
Jocelyn_P is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 09:04 AM
  #3  
 
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If you go to the SlowTrav site and look under Travel Consultants, you'll see what other people are charging.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 10:22 AM
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I do both - teach travel and packing courses at the local commiunity college and plan itineraries for folks.

I don't make bookings for them (usually) but rather work out reasonable itineraries, lists/descriptions of attractions on the route including opening hours and admission info, and lists of 2 to 4 or more good hotels/B&Bs/cottages in each area they would visit.

I started out charging $100 for an itinereary - but amazingly to me most folks paid me more than I asked. So now I do a sliding scale less for a 10 day to two week plan and more for longer trips. They average about $150.

You will probably really enjoy doing either the clases or itinerary planning. I have great fun doing it and it earns a little $$ for my travel budget.
janis is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 10:32 AM
  #5  
 
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Just curious...why pay someone to plan your itinerary? Isn't this what friends, family members, and this site is for? Am I missing something? Should I consider this to make my trip better? Thanks, Carrie
carriefrankel is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 10:37 AM
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The sorts of people who use this site really don't need anyone to plan a trip for them. But a LOT of folks are very nervous about where to go, how to stretch their $$, and have never planned a foreign trip on their own.

So there is plenty of room for both types inn this world -- those like us here on Fodors who can pretty much figure it out on our own - or at least to know what questions to ask, and for those who don't know where to start and need their hand held every step of the way.
janis is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 10:43 AM
  #7  
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Thanks a lot for your quick and helpful responses. I love to plan my own trips, and I have been informally helping other people plan trips to Italy and France for several years. I am kind of excited about the idea of actually getting paid for something that I really like to do just for fun.

Janis, I think what you are doing sounds just like what I would like to do- make suggestions and plans- not make the actual reservations.

One question, is there any liability to worry about? This comes from my being a day care owner for years where a lot of what I did was worry about liability!

Carrie, I think the reason some people want extra help with planning a trip is because they feel intimidated by all the details. One couple who is wishing help told me their children gave them tickets for a trip to Italy, and they have no idea what they want to do.
Sally is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 10:53 AM
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No, that's one beautiful thing about it. You may not end up with a totally thrilled "customer" - so far (in about 3+ years of charging) I have yet to have anyone complain about my services, knock on wood . But since I don't have any fiduciary responsibility or haven't officially booked anything there wouldn't be any liability.

I'm just making suggestions and recommendations and the clients decide whether to actually use them -

MANY people have suggested I become a travel agent or tour guide - but I personally don't want the 2AM call from Europe when the hotel isn't nice or the plumbing doesn't work.
janis is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 10:57 AM
  #9  
 
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Meant to add -- One selling point is that because of your expertise you can probably save them 5 to 10 times your fee. Knowing about discounts, special passes, self catering villas, realistic transport options, etc. are the types of things that really add up money-wise.
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Feb 10th, 2004, 10:57 AM
  #10  
 
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If you want to avoid liability, do what janis does: give advice only. If you do the bookings, then you may be open to liability if anything goes wrong. With advice, it's just advice, and the client can take your advice or not and he is responsible for any actions taken.

I'd protect myself if I were you and give a receipt stating "Receipt for payment for advice (ideas, suggestions) given relating to trip to ABC" or something in writing that makes it clear you were only acting as a consultant.

Hopefully, you'll never need that piece of paper. Interesting question, maybe others can add their expertise.
easytraveler is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 11:40 AM
  #11  
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Great point about giving a receipt saying that this is a fee for advice! Thanks, Easy Traveler.

Janis, how do you get your customers? By word of mouth, fom your travel classes, or what? How many trips have you planned?

Thanks for your help.
Sally
Sally is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 11:43 AM
  #12  
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Hmm, another thought about liability. I guess if the advice you give is wrong, maybe you would be liabile?? Probably not too big a problem.
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Feb 10th, 2004, 11:54 AM
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Sally:

When I do itineraries and trip planning for clients, I always insist that they phone me and plan to spend at least a half hour answering questions before I do any of the real legwork for them. From that "interview," I get a sense of what kind of travelers they are: what they like to see and do; what they do NOT like to see and do; what they like and don't like to eat; what their budget is; what sorts of accommodations they do and don't enjoy; what kind of pace they like to keep up, etc., etc.

That cuts down on the liability right there.

I do make reservations for people who are afraid to do it on their own. Often, too, you can get more specific information by calling a hotel or restaurant than you can on a website or through a fax. I've had clients ask me to phone hotels and get the measurements of a room, for example, or inquire if there's a playground nearby. A lot of people are frightened at the prospect of doing something like that themselves.

And I always tell clients that these are my suggestions only, based on what they've told me and my own experience.And I remind them that there are loads of circumstances in traveling that no one, no matter how well they researched, could know about: weather disasters, hotels that suddenly decided to remodel after you reserved, a bad meal in a good restaurant...

I've never had anyone come back and say I steered them wrong, but as in every business, there's always the possibility of a disatisfied customer.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 01:42 PM
  #14  
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Thanks, StCirc, I've always enjoyed your posts. Your suggestion of having a half hour phone conversation with the individual sounds very sensible.

I am going to my Italian class tonight and am meeting with a couple who is interested in having me advise them.

How do you find people who want you to help them?
Sally is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 01:55 PM
  #15  
 
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Sally:

They seem to find me. All I do is open my e-mail, and voilà! There they are. It's probably mostly from the SlowTrav site, but some come by way of referrals and some just appear out of the gloam.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 02:11 PM
  #16  
 
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I never realized Janis & StCirq did this. StCirq is this your business or a side line?
mclaurie is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 02:16 PM
  #17  
 
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I too interview or have a pre-meeting with my clients. Don't really know how you could do it w/o talking to them first and doing a "needs/wants assessment".

Then when I have the itinerary and other materials finished I write up a 6 to 10 page handout w/ the route, sightseeing and accomodations with phone numbers, Addresses, e-mail and url if applicable. I meet with them - usually in their home where we can spread out maps, books etc and I walk them through the itinerary with the whats and whys I'm recommending what I am.

Clients and students of my classes find me mostly by word of mouth from other customers, or from free travel talks I give at local libraries and travel shops.

The Friends of the Library usually pay a small honorarium - but I would do them for free because they are a wonderful marketing tool. I don't stress the "for pay" things at these librarty talks - but at every free talk just like clockwork, someone asks me about the possibilities. At my last library talk (3 weeks ago) the librarian expected 15 to 20 attendees, and 87 showed up. If it works out like usual, of those 87, between 12 and 20 will end up hiring my services or registering for a class at the college.

Sometimes I'll give a talk and someone will pick up my business card and not call me until 8 or 10 months later when they decide it's finally time to make some plans.
janis is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 03:42 PM
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mclaurie:

It's definitely a sideline! I'm in the publishing and translation business "normally."
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Feb 11th, 2004, 05:43 AM
  #19  
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Thanks a lot , Janis and StCirc, I really appreciate all the helpful information you have given me.

One more question, do you help plan trips just for the areas that you have visited and are familar with, or do you also do the research needed to plan any European trip that your customers are interested in?
Sally is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 07:05 AM
  #20  
 
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Janis - I have some "business" related questions for you that I would prefer to do privately. Would you kindly drop me an email at [email protected].
eurotravler is offline  

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