Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Honeymoons and Dreams: Meet Travel Agent Gloria Emanuelson (Los Angeles Weddings)

"I'm like a honeymoon matchmaker for couples,"  Gloria says."I love creating an 'experience' for them that they are always going to remember."
I first met Gloria Emanuelson at a networking event about four years ago, right after I'd gotten back from my friend's destination wedding in Hawaii. We started talking about how much I loved it there, and how I love to travel. I wanted to plan a trip to Italy with my husband later on that year. I'd been before, but Zane hadn't, and I wanted to keep it simple with the same itinerary as the first time I'd gone - Rome, then Florence, then Venice. That led to a discussion about the relative costs of flying into Rome and out of Venice (I'm American, I didn't even know Venice had an airport), and how I still missed Florence some times. We talked about how Venice is a must-see but there's not much to do after the two things you're supposed to do (Canal ride, St. Mark's), and how Zane was a vegetarian foodie who loved pasta, so that would work out nicely. A week later, knee deep in wedding planning, I asked her to help me plan our trip. She did, and it was perfect. I still miss Florence, from time to time.
"My favorite part of my job is getting to know each couple and finding out what type of honeymoon you want," she says. " Relaxing, active, touristy? What part of the world do you want to go to? And, for how long? The best trip is between 5-7 days, but with time differences and travel times, that last question really affects the second one!"  She says. Last year, she created a Thailand honeymoon for one pair of newlyweds, that included a food tour all around the country. It started with a stop in Bangkok, where they were fitted for traditional clothing that they were able to pick up on their return, before they left. You know, right after the Elephant rides. "I loved hearing later what an amazing time they had," she adds. "That's what it is all about."

Gloria has been an independent travel agent since 2006, following 15-year stint at American Airlines.  She founded Honeymoon Dreams and Wishes last year. She travels out of the country to different hotels and resorts at least 2-3 times a year, herself, which is essential to building wonderful trips for her couples, and re-establishing the contacts that allow her to not charge them a direct fee. But, she can also help you book any trip, at any resort or hotel that you want to go to as well. Direct fees only come into play when she's asked to book a group of 20 or more for a destination wedding.
"For a lot of people, their honeymoon is a one-time trip, and for a special vacation like this, you want to use a travel agent," she says. It's not just where the best hotels are, or the ones within your price range, but what to expect when you get there. What are the unknown unknowns?" That's one of my favorite subjects, so, what are some of the unknown unknowns in traveling all around the world?" Off the top of her head, she says, "Things like, bring multiple swimsuits to a tropical destination. The water supply has gotten better in Mexico, but you want to pack Pepto Bismol tablets, just in case. You're going to need good walking shoes wherever you go in Europe, and a good tote or backpack. What's the latest exchange rate, and how do you maximize that? An experienced travel agent can get you all the information quickly. And I can tell you exactly where to go have the experience that they want."
Tahiti is her most popular destination request. "And, yeah, it is a lot of lying on the beach, and some couples really like that. But there are a lot of other things to do there, too. Lots of water activities -  You can go to Shark and Stingray feedings, get right in the water with them. On dry land, there are jeep tours, or you can rent scooters and go exploring on your own." Her second most popular request is Cancun.
"Wherever you want to go, I want to make sure you have a wonderful time," she says. "I'll order champagne for your room when you check in, or something like chocolate covered strawberries. I take a personal interest in whatever travel arrangements I'm making, to ensure that your trip is flawless.Your honeymoon should be special from beginning to end, and sometimes it's the small things that count. I takes all pressure off of you - you'll know that everything is taken care of." I can vouch for that, so much so that I put her in charge of our 10th anniversary trip to Hawaii next month. Zane wants to go on a helicopter tour of the volcanoes on Kona. Me? I'm looking forward to the big bed, the beach, and the hot tub. And, I can't wait to see what else Gloria has in store for us.

You can find out more about Gloria Emanuelson, and how to book your dream honeymoon at http://www.honeymoondreamsandwishes.com, or contact her directly at 310-430-0876, or gloria@honeymoondreamsandwishes.com

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

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