By Tom Brussow
President/CEO-Romance Travel Designers
No Guts. No Story! What started out as a clever conference theme at a recent event I attended evolved into much more for me thanks to my friend Marilyn Cairo, AVP of Sales for Karisma Resorts.
I left the event, held at one of my favorite places on the planet, the El Dorado Royale in Riviera Maya MX, questioning if I have put forth the maximum effort to live up to the personal expectations and goals that I have set for myself…more than a little soul-searching ensued which is not a bad thing I believe.
The question under consideration is…Have I lived a No Guts. No Story. worthy life? Have you?
We’re all familiar I’m sure with the sports or military version of this expression; No Guts. No Glory.
However, to me, No Guts. No Story. is even more compelling because we are in control and each of us has the power to write our own story. It is about ideas, relationships, opportunities, risk, fear, determination, action, and most of all, courage. Are you willing to put it all out there knowing that there is a chance you will fail, be rejected, or look bad trying?
To be sure, the decision to create and launch Romance Travel Designers was a No Guts. No Story. moment. After ten years of successfully running my company Sunsational Beach Vacations, I didn’t need to do this. I am a busy guy with a lot happening. Starting a new company takes huge amounts of time, lots of money and generally results in lost sleep, stress and the chance to fail is painfully real. Did we let this stop us? No, we did not. Why? Because we made the decision that we were going to write the story of Romance Travel Designers, come what may. To accept the status quo and let yet another idea and opportunity fall by the wayside was simply not an option for us.
As I thought about this further, it also quickly occurred to me that the No Guts. No Story. philosophy surely applies to our clients in amazing ways. In case you’ve not really thought about it, I firmly believe that vacations are not about the plane, or the room, the pool, the food or the price. Vacations are about the stories…the experiences you have, the people you're with and meet along the way and how it made you feel. These are at the heart of the stories you’ll tell for years sitting around the kitchen table with your family or sittin’ at the bar sharing a beer with your friends. Maybe we should really focus on this instead of all the other stuff that seems to drive our vacation decisions because there are an unlimited number of stories waiting to be told…if only we have the guts!
For example, I have been to Mexico and the Caribbean more times than I can count. Although I've had more than ample opportunities, I have never been scuba diving a single time although I love the whole idea of it. Now let’s take that up a notch, how about a NIGHT DIVE with a group of my friends? Now that, is an epic story just waiting to happen right there!
How about you? What story is right there waiting to happen for you at the intersection of Opportunity and Guts? Because here’s the sad and harsh truth…a story about something that you ALMOST did is the worst fricking story ever! So here is my challenge to you exactly as it came to me from my friend Marilyn. Write your own story and do it now. Don’t make excuses, wait for permission or just the perfect time when all the proverbial stars are aligned. Don't let that voice in your head convince you that it is a bad idea. Start right now!
Looking for a little inspiration to get the ball rolling? Here are my Top 10 story ideas that the team here at Romance Travel Designers can help make a reality for you:
This, of course, only scratches the surface of the amazing experiences to be had and the stories waiting to be told. The good news is that we have the time, know-how and expertise to turn virtually every vacation story that you can think of into a reality.
However, this means absolutely nothing if you don’t have the interest, time, energy, money or the courage to make it happen. Do you have the guts to set aside all of that for the reward of an epic story that you’ll be telling for the rest of your life? I truly hope you do as after taking the time to think about the inspiring words from Marilyn, I am convinced that No Guts. No Story. is not only a pre-requisite for starting a new business, it is also the exact right attitude for a fun, happy and fulfilling life.
So then, I am very pleased to announce that No Guts. No Story. starts today! Who’s with me?
By Tom Brussow
President/CEO-Romance Travel Designers
One of the top Caribbean beach spots that our clients have consistently enjoyed over the past ten years is Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
If you’ve been there, you can surely relate as there is much to love. Punta Cana offers affordable all-inclusive luxury resorts like Secrets Cap Cana, Iberostar Grand Bavaro, and the Hard Rock Punta Cana, amazing white powder sand beaches and turquoise blue water…all perfectly matching the picture of what paradise should look and feel like.
Punta Cana’s popularity seemingly had no limit with travelers arriving from all across the U.S in record numbers. I’ve been there at least ten times and we’ve easily booked thousands of travelers and more than 20 Destination Wedding groups so we know the lay of the land very well. I can barely recall more than a handful of times when anyone even expressed a minor complaint or a concern. And, to be clear, none were ever about safety related issues.
This abruptly and unexpectedly came to a halt in June of this year when news reports began to surface about so-called “mysterious deaths” of U.S. tourists. News outlets across the entire media spectrum intensely picked up on this for about a 2-3 week period. The stories and various theories spread like wildfire even though clear-cut evidence of any wrong doing or negligence by anyone associated with the Punta Cana resorts was never uncovered or proven.
But that, of course, didn’t stop the media from exploiting the story for their own purposes…they know quite well that fear sells…plain and simple. Or, more accurately, FEAR CLICKS! In the age of minute to minute cell phone newsfeed updates in the hands of pretty much every consumer, the media has become extremely adept at “monetizing misery”…with no actual, verified facts required.
John Tarkowski, President of Apple Vacations said it very well in a recent TravelPulse interview, “Unfortunately, the fact-based reporting that used to be a core tenet of the press seems to be increasingly rare these days. The shift to digital appears to have created an environment where success is determined by clicks and sensationalist headlines have become the dominant business model”.
So then, quite unfortunately, the fallout of essentially two weeks of intense reporting has had a lingering devastating effect on the Dominican Republic (DR) and the good, hard working people of the country. Previously, the DR welcomed more than 6 million annual visitors to their country with an astounding 99% saying they definitely want to go back. As you can imagine, this number is down considerably as fear and misinformation not only drives clicks, it resonates with consumers and shapes engrained attitudes that are very hard to break. We saw this same thing occur with Mexico not so long ago. Here, anecdotal reporting and fear-based reports had many not wanting to visit Mexico essentially because their neighbor’s aunt heard something from someone and says it’s not safe.
In both cases, for the DR and Mexico, we know well through our own first-hand experiences and based on the on-going feedback we get from our clients that it just ain’t true. If you look at the data, consider the State Department’s advisories and just use common sense, you’ll find that the Dominican Republic passes every test for traveler safety on its own merits and as compared to other destinations in the Caribbean, Europe and even the U.S. for that matter!
IMPORTANT UPDATE: On October 18, the FBI and the U.S. State Department advised that they had uncovered no connection with a cluster of tourist deaths (tied to tainted alcohol) in the Dominican Republic, supporting the country's position that the deaths were coincidental and due to natural causes.
Here is more on the findings: FBI released the results of its investigation
Even so, the Dominican Republic government has stepped up safety protocols with strengthened site inspections, monitored hotel medical staff and facilities, and enhancement of food-handling procedures for every resort in the destination. Plus, individual resorts are proactively enforcing safety measures. For example, the AMResorts® properties require regular staff trainings for emergency response situations and thoughtfully advise guests about responsible alcohol consumption during their stay. These extensive precautions are now in place to ensure clients receive the highest safety standards during their visit, all of which contributes to a fun and worry-free vacation.
The bottom line when it comes to successful and safe travels is to be a smart consumer. Step one is to seek out the expertise and guidance of a travel professional. Step two is utilize fact-based resources such as www.travfacts.org and www.YestoMexico.org to get the real deal on what is happening. Step three is to conduct yourself in a responsible way while on vacation. Don’t overindulge, use caution in unfamiliar situations and don’t put yourself in harm’s way…so basically behave as you would at home or if you were visiting New York, Chicago, or Miami.
Finally, take what you hear from the media and via your neighbor’s aunt with a highly skeptical grain of salt. All too often, people form opinions and make judgements based on headlines and morsels of information that catch their attention or fit their own pre-existing views of the world. Don’t fall into that trap as if there one thing I know to be the case, it is that “a little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing”!
So be smart, be informed, be confident, live your life, and by all means, TAKE THE TRIP! The friendly and good people of the Dominican Republic are anxiously and enthusiastically awaiting your arrival!
Ready to Go? Did you know that Funjet Vacations offers Exclusive Non-Stop Vacation Flights to Punta Cana from Milwaukee, Chicago, Rockford, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, St. Louis, Lansing, Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati?
Hello and thank you for stopping by to check out our blog and for your interest in Romance Travel Designers!
I'm Tom Brussow, a.k.a your "Chief Romance Officer" so to speak.
If you have a minute, please let me share why Romance Travel Designers is no ordinary travel agency...actually, far from it.
Given that your search and/or the cosmic powers of our marketing brought you to us, the chances are pretty good that a romance travel experience could be in your future. We are honored that you did and rest-assured that you came to the right place. We are confident that no other travel company is quite like Romance Travel Designers!
So, What is A Romance Travel Designer You Might Ask?
Simply said...the best of the best in the romance travel industry.
We've assembled an amazing team of experienced travel agent advisors from all across the U.S. that will work with you to design the perfect romance travel experience. This means a romance vacation that's everything you've dreamed of. We realize that for you and your special someone this is no ordinary vacation. And, that selecting the right destination, resort, tours, and delivering all the special romance touches is required and can't be done online or with just any travel agent. For all that, you definitely should select a Romance Travel Designer.
Collectively, we have countless years of trip planning experience...this means hundreds of destination weddings, thousands of honeymoons, and most importantly lot's of very happy travelers!
In doing so, we have come to know and greatly value the many awesome hard working people in Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Europe, Costa Rica (and many more) who manage and work at our key supplier companies each and every day. They are the heartbeat of Romance Travel Designers.
This has allowed us the opportunity to partner with some fantastic and very well respected companies. In doing so, we have the peace of mind of knowing that we and our travel suppliers and resort colleagues will deliver the best experience possible, 100% of the time! Learn More About Our Supplier Partners.
Each of them was specifically chosen for the unique products they offer as we specialize in designing customized romance travel experiences tailored to fit the unique style, budget and personality of you and your partner.
This includes honeymoons, destination weddings, vow renewals, anniversary trips, babymoons and engagement or proposal trips to the best and most beautiful places in the world.
If fact, we are so confident in our work, that we offer each and every client our promise of exceptional service from start to finish. If you are not beyond delighted about your romance travel experience, we will go the extra mile to make it right.
Here's what this means for you:
> Our first impression will inspire confidence:
Our experts will explain step-by-step what Romance Travel Designers can do for your special event. We'll ask questions and gather all necessary information needed to help make the best-informed decision. This includes your vision for the trip, your personal style, activities at the resort, outside activities and your budget.
> We'll do the research (so you don't have to!).
> We'll be here every step of the way...before, during and after your trip.
> You'll travel stress-free and with confidence knowing every detail has been covered.
> We'll follow-up to make sure all your expectations were met.
> If we or any of our suppliers fall short, we'll be there to help make it right!
So once again, thank you! I hope that we have the opportunity to earn your business and show you why Romance Travel Designers is truly the best of the best for the handling of your very special romance travel experience!
Have Love. Must Travel. Enjoy!
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