Destination Spotlight: Saint-Barths

Formally known as Saint Barthelemy, St Barths has long been an exclusive Caribbean hideaway for well-versed travelers seeking white sand beaches, designer shops, and luxury resorts. Some of the best resorts in the world can be found on this quaint French-speaking island just southeast of Anguilla. St Barths is the ultimate luxury hideaway for those discerning travelers who value exclusivity above all else.

Team Ourisman’s own Angela Valenti traveled to St Barths in the spring of 2021 and we have a few highlights we are thrilled to share with our clients! First and foremost, St Barths is an ideal destination for those who want to stay at one, or at most two, hotels during their stay. St Barths encourages visitors to rest and relax upon arrival, making hotel hopping more cumbersome and frustrating than fun. It’s best to set up at one property and give in to the luxury at check-in.

Our favorites on the island have to be the Eden Rock and Cheval Blanc. Both properties offer guests a superb experience, but their vibes are decidedly different. Eden Rock exudes a certain sex appeal that only exists on a French-speaking island while Cheval Blanc offers guests a more sophisticated, romantic environment. Both have marvelous beaches and the best service to be found on the island, without a doubt.

There are other options on the island that we would be remiss not to include. Hotel Le Toiny is located on the windier side of the island and is set back hillside overlooking the ocean. It’s very private property, great for couples. All villa suites are standalone accommodations and have their own private pools. Hotel Le Toiny’s beach club is about a 5-10 minute ride from the property, complimentary of the hotel of course, and features a restaurant, lounge chairs, and an occasional DJ!

The newly rebuilt Le Sereno oozes a true laidback luxury vibe and offers a variety of accommodations with dark wood floors and crisp, white linens. This property is perfect for couples who want complete seclusion and privacy. The Rosewood Le Guanahani, which recently reopened in the fall of 2021, is a sprawling resort located on its own private peninsula. Its location has it poised to be the go-to destination for families once word gets out.

Le Barthelemy Hotel & Spa, modern in style, offers beachfront duplex accommodations on Grand Cul-de-Sac beach. The lagoon-like water offers guests calm/shallow water perfect for paddleboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, and snorkeling with sea turtles! This hotel also features two luxurious 6-bedroom villas with their own private pools.

Should guests become bored of languid relaxation beach hopping is always an option, as is a trip into town for some shopping at exclusive boutiques and dining at world-class restaurants. One of our favorite, quintessential St Barths experiences is to rent a brightly colored Moke for a day to tool around the island. Beach clubs provide a lively lunch scene and a decidedly European flair that can only be found in St Barths. Nightlife here is electric and perfect for those who want to get off property at night. For those who love island hopping, St Barths can easily be paired with the nearby islands of St Maarten or Anguilla!

When it comes to the logistics of getting to St Barths, leave that in the hands of a professional! The logistics of getting to this island are tricky and we have the insider information you need to make your travel experience as seamless as possible!

For more information on hotels and resorts in St Barths and how Ourisman Travel can provide exclusive amenities like daily breakfast, resort credits, upgrades & more at the properties listed above, reach out to the team via email at team@ourismantravel.com or submit a Travel Request Form!

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Meet the Adventurer – Courtney Sanak

Like any true Adventurer, Courtney loves getting out of her comfort zone and exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations. She travels to fully immerse herself in a destination, the people, and be present in the moment. “The best vacations open your mind to new cultures and ways of life.”

While on a cruise along the Peruvian Amazon, Courtney was able to visit a local community to learn about their daily life. “We fished in the Amazon River and the crew cooked our catch. Traveling has also expanded my palate – I found that piranha is quite delicious!”

Courtney fishing on the Amazon River with a local guide.

No matter where she is headed, Courtney researches the destination to try and find the local hidden gems – whether that be the best neighborhood restaurant or hiking trail. For Courtney, the anticipation of a trip is almost as exciting as being on the trip itself. As a planner at heart you can always expect her to have a packing list and suitcase ready to go days in advance. 

Backpacking in Patagonia, taking in nature’s majesty in one of the world’s last wildernesses.

Her must-have item while traveling? Her camera. “I love taking pictures. My house is full of my favorite travel memories.”

Her favorite travel memories include a safari in South Africa and hiking with her husband in Patagonia. Courtney’s next trip is to Costa Rica where she has planned a mix of adventure and wildlife viewing as well as some downtime on the coast.

Courtney on an African safari game drive posing with a lioness.

Some destinations on her bucket list include New Zealand and East Africa. “I would love to cruise Milford Sound one day with my son, Ellis, and share my love for travel.”

Final advice from this Adventurer? “Be flexible and leave time at leisure in a destination. Sometimes the joy of travel is to take the stress out of dates and times and adopt a laid-back schedule.”

To learn more about the team and how we work, reach out to us at team@ourismantravel.com or submit a Travel Request Form. Want to discover your travel personality? Take our Travel Personality Quiz and find out your travel style and where you should head off to next!

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Meet the Connector – Allie Weachter

When it comes to travel, Allie likes to escape her daily routine and appreciate all that the world has to offer. “From trying new cuisines to watching a tropical sunset, traveling is a great opportunity to immerse myself in new experiences.”

As a Connector, Allie enjoys creating lasting memories with loved ones and learning about different cultures. While traveling, she not only connects with those around her, but with nature and “enjoys the opportunity of putting technology away and being present in the simple moments.”

Allie immersing herself in culture by roaming the streets of Marseille, France.

While traveling, Allie also enjoys touring history or art museums, biking, visiting wineries, hiking, walking on the beach, playing card games, exploring small towns, shopping, and eating.

Like any connector, Allie’s favorite part of a vacation is the quality time and memorable experiences spent with friends and family. She finds her most memorable trips are the ones that allow her to take a break from everyday life. Her favorite travel memory is skiing and snowboarding with her family in Colorado, and ending each day with aprés-ski. For Allie, “essential aprés-ski drinks include hot chocolate or hot apple cider with a toast or two of champagne.”

Allie enjoying snowboarding in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

Regardless of where she travels, Allie makes a packing list of everything she needs to ensure she doesn’t forget anything and tries to be as organized as possible. Some must-have items in her suitcase and carry-on include packing cubes, face mist, hand sanitizer, headphones, and snacks.

Allie skiing at Jupiter Bowl, just north of Park City, Utah

Allie’s next trip is planned for Tulum, Mexico. “It is my first time visiting Mexico, so I am looking forward to experiencing the culture and authentic food. I also have plans to swim in the Cenotes and tour the Mayan ruins.”

Another destination on her bucket list is Bali. “I would love to see Bali’s natural wonders, such as the waterfalls and Jatiluwih, and stay in a unique, hand-crafted villa or treehouse.”

Final advice from this Connector? “Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone!”

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Benefits of Travel: 6 Powerful Memories

My grandparents were avid world travelers, flying all over the globe in the 1950s and 1960s. The travel bug skipped the next generation (my parents) but definitely made its impact on me. Travel has been one of the passions of my life. But why? What are the benefits of travel?

Here are some of my favorite (and powerful) memories.

Amazing sights  I was 18 at the time, on my first trip to Europe, and a group of us decided on the spur of the moment to visit Zermatt, Switzerland. Arriving late at night with (no plans to get a hotel room), we slept in a field. I was awakened the next morning by the first light of dawn. I opened my eyes to the Matterhorn, perfectly illuminated by the rising sun, set in a cloudless blue sky.

Unique flavors  I truly enjoy experiencing local cuisine in its native setting. I love discovering hole-in-the-wall restaurants known only by locals — like a small family restaurant in Grenoble, France where I had veal cordon bleu for the first time, a take-out joint in Java where I enjoyed some thoroughly authentic chicken dishes, and my first taste of spaghetti carbonara while dining al fresco in Rome.

Distinctive sounds  I recall the morning when a group of us were standing in the courtyard of the Wellington Barracks in London (where the Palace Guard is stationed). Unlike the hundreds of tourists crowded on the outside of the fence, we were on the inside standing right in front of the members of the guard as they played their morning band concern for us. A dramatic dramatic auditory experience, but just as thrilling is the experience of listening to the quiet echoes of your footsteps in a Gothic cathedral … or the whoosh of a gentle breeze blowing across the still waters of a gorgeous mountain lake.

Fragrant aromas — I am thinking of a temple in Vietnam (but there are so many others) where I stood among local people who had come to burn incense, in the fervent belief that the fragrance carried their prayers heavenward. The smells were intense … as was the intensity of the worshippers.

Blossoming romances — Travel is the perfect way to deepen relationships between lovers. What is more romantic than sharing a meal from a window with a clear view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris? Or going back to a favorite place you’ve previously shared together… to pop the question?

Family togetherness — But perhaps the most important thing we get from travel are the things families experience together. Those shared experiences, profound discoveries, and fun times stay with us for a lifetime. Unlike most anything else we can buy, spending our money on travel experiences makes us richer for life.

If you’re searching for reasons to travel, now’s the time to partner with us! We are happy to talk about the benefits of travel with you, help you discover your personal why, and create a trip that achieves everything you want. Which of these benefits of travel resonates most with you? Send it to team@ourismantravel.com or fill out a travel request form.

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Hotel Spotlight: Cheval Blanc Saint-Barths

Located along the pristine and prestigious beaches of Flamands Beach, the revered Cheval Blanc Saint-Barth has long been one of the most exclusive hotels on what is already an ultra-exclusive island. Like the Eden Rock St Barths, this property caters to travelers who crave luminary status along with over-the-top luxury when they vacation. We were thrilled that Angela was able to visit this classic property in Saint Barths during her recent visit to the island and her top takeaway is clear: this hotel simply cannot be beaten.

The hotel is a crisp white from head to toe, allowing the tropical foliage and turquoise waters to shine. Pops of coral hues are strategically placed throughout anchoring the beauty of the island in the beach-contemporary, clean design. The open-air lobby is flanked by garden pathways leading to the accommodations throughout the property. Signature artwork by Jean-Michel Othoneil, the Constellation of Pegasus, greets guests with unmatched style and immediately gives arriving guests a sense that they have arrived in more ways than one. The arrival experience has been created to lift the weight of their travel day off of guests’ shoulders and make all thoughts of real-world problems disappear.

Guests find their rooms off of boardwalks lined with stunning tropical gardens and trees, providing perfect ambiance and shade from the Caribbean sun. The rooms are spacious and maintain the same white design aesthetic as the main buildings, with touches of blue in the Ocean rooms instead of coral that bring the soothing ocean waters into the accommodations. The Garden suites feature gray touches and views of the vibrant greenery of the island.

The true queen on property is without a doubt the Villa de France, a stunning 5-bedroom villa with sweeping views of the ocean and access to the beautiful beach. Featuring not one, but two private infinity pools, a private spa & gym, and a kitchen to host meals prepared by a private chef, this villa operates as a boutique hotel within a boutique hotel. Each bedroom comes with its own bathroom and the villa can comfortably house 10 guests. Cheval Blanc Saint-Barth does not offer connecting rooms and families traveling together will need to book multi-bedroom suites or villas to accommodate their groups. Villa de France is perfect for larger families or groups of friends looking to enjoy an even more elevated experience at this exclusive property.

Aside from high-touch service and an incredible room product, Cheval Blanc Saint-Barths offers what is arguably the best spa on the island. With only 4 treatment rooms, it is advisable to book your spa services well in advance. The Guerlain treatments are as high-end as they come and with treatment packages designed with a focus on wellness and anti-aging, guests find themselves leaving the spa feeling renewed and refreshed.

Dining here is just as perfect as the rest of the experience with two meticulously designed restaurants that deliver beautiful meals and a lovely bar for a well-deserved cocktail or two. La Case is well known across the island and very popular for lunch while La Cabane, the beachfront restaurant, offers gourmet cuisine in a soothing setting. The White Bar is the stunning cocktail bar on property with an inventive menu and beautiful views. Guests wanting something unique can take advantage of the property’s Carte Blanche option, offering perfectly packed picnics, private dinner cruises, or in-room meals with a stunning presentation.

Clients of Ourisman Travel enjoy elevated VIP treatment when they book stays at Cheval Blanc Saint-Barth and enjoy additional perks like complimentary breakfast, resort credits, and more. For more information on Cheval Blanc Saint-Barths, St Barths, or how we work please reach out to the team at team@ourismantravel.com or submit a travel request form!

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Hotel Spotlight: Eden Rock St Barths

While on our educational tour of St Barths hosted by our partners at Ultimate Jet Vacations, we had the privilege of conducting a site inspection at the iconic Eden Rock St Barths. Originally built as a private residence for Remy de Haenen, the first pilot to land on this stunning island, the Eden Rock St Barths has been a luxury hotel since the mid-90s. Loved by celebrities and the well-to-do from both sides of the Atlantic, the Eden Rock St Barths is well known as one of the most luxurious properties on the island.

With many additions to the original expansive residence that still makes up the main building, this property boasts one of the best locations in St Barths; nestled peacefully in St Jean Bay and offering guests a multitude of views of the soothing turquoise waters from their rooms and common spaces. Guests are greeted on arrival by attentive valets who whisk their bags away while you head to the front desk to check-in. Here, the service is known for its attention to detail and ultimate discretion, a must given the property’s penchant for attending to a star-studded clientele. The property also offers guests its own app, Eden Rock St Barth’s InsidER Travel Companion provides information ranging from daily local news updates & weather forecasts to restaurant recommendations & suggested activities to enjoy. A must for anyone on property!

You will notice the hotel’s signature cherry red throughout the property, from the lounge chairs to the hand railings and even the life preservers. However, though the color does make an appearance in some of the rooms, the room design is more individualized from category to category. With 37 rooms, suites, and villas to choose from, this boutique hotel’s design aesthetic is what one would imagine a fun, eccentric, European pilot’ would be – giving it plenty of personalities to enjoy and keeping return guests excited to try different accommodation styles. All of the bathrooms on property are stunning, marble-laden oases featuring walk-in showers, Ligne St Barth toiletries & the always necessary double vanity; many feature deep soaking tubs as well, the perfect respite from a day lounging seaside. Most of the accommodations here have lovely ocean views and some offer direct beach access, something worth paying for in St Barths where access to the white sand beaches is highly coveted.

Some of our favorite rooms at Eden Rock St Barths are the masculine Howard Hughes Suite boasting 360 views of the bay from its three terraces, the sleek and modern Christopher Columbus Suite with its oversized 87-inch bed & contemporary art collection, and the Beach House Frangipani with three spacious bedrooms and an elegant Caribbean design. For families looking for a well-appointed escape, the Heavenly Beach Houses are another wonderful option! Comprised of the Jasmin Orchid and Ixora twin-level villas, these accommodations can accommodate two adults and two children and offer upstairs and downstairs living areas, making them perfect for families with small children.

However, nothing can top the twin villas Villa Rockstar and Villa Nina. These villas are more fraternal than identical twins, each taking luxury to the next level in her own way. However, these two villas offer a unique opportunity for larger groups looking to stay on-site as they can be booked as a pair to create a sprawling, private 9 suite complex just for your group. Nina Villa features three expansive suites and one of the most incredible art collections on the island, perfect for those who want to vacation in beauty and style. Next door is Villa Rockstar, a huge private home that has often been described as “a two hundred million dollar yacht on land”. Villa Rockstar features 6 suites and can accommodate 12 people to Villa Nina’s 6 guest limit. Both properties come with their own private pools and a dedicated chef, butler, and housekeeping staff to address any need, big or small, of their guests.

At Eden Rock St Barths, guests dine on cuisine from Master Chef Jean-George Vongerichten, who has enough Michelin stars to his name to create his own constellation. His worldly approach to dining brings a new and interesting take on resort fare and he is heavily involved in each aspect of the restaurants here, from their inception to their execution. With three dining options to choose from, a nice number given the small size of the property, guests will find plenty to excite their senses and keep things interesting during their stays.

Aside from the stunning accommodations, Eden Rock St Barths caters to guests in a way that is hard to match. With nonstop room service, and frankly any other service you can think of, this property offers an unmitigated approach to luxury. From its dizzyingly elegant approach to design to the exquisite dining Eden Rock St Barths has transcended simply being an exclusive hotel to a full-on luxury lifestyle. Welcome drinks are served in the Remy Bar, named after the pilot whose influence & larger than life persona still lingers around every corner. Fans of frosé will be happy at Bar on the Beach where they have perfected the frozen pink wine slushies.

Clients of Ourisman Travel can enjoy additional perks at Eden Rock St Barths through our partnership with Virtuoso and Ultimate Jet Vacations, and the value is hard to beat given the price point of a stay at Eden Rock St Barths. Complimentary breakfast, Eden Rock branded merch & priority for upgrades upon arrival add extra value that is hard to beat. For more information on our trip to St Barths with Ultimate Jet Vacations, how we can plan your stay at the Eden Rock St Barths, or how we work, please reach out to the team at team@ourismantravel.com or fill out a Travel Request Form.

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Villas & Private Homes: How Ourisman Travel Can Help

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many travelers have shifted focus from sprawling resorts and are turning to private villas and home rentals for their vacations. Naturally, when one first considers renting out a private home for a trip their first thought is to hop on Airbnb or VBRO to see what is available over their dates in destinations that excite them. However, just like how kicking off trip planning with a Google search can be overwhelming and discouraging, the same stressful experience can come from looking for a legitimate rental on Airbnb or VRBO. Private home & villa rentals are great, but how do you know what you are seeing is what you will be getting? We’ve all heard the horror stories about misleading photos, inflexible booking policies, disruptive neighbors, or unsafe areas – the list goes on and on! Surely there must be another way to find a reputable villa or home for your vacation?

That’s where Ourisman Travel comes in! As the industry has adapted to better accommodate travel demands in the wake of the pandemic, so has Team Ourisman. We have worked hard exploring what luxury villa and private home partners we have available to our clients and are proud to say that just like our hotel network, our networks for villas and private homes are expansive, with a strong global presence and representing the best of the best! Better yet, our partners are thoroughly vetted by our host agency, ensuring that their product is luxurious, their service is high-end, and that you will indeed get what you pay for. Our team has spent time over the past year learning how to work with these partners and we are excited to bring our clients a wealth of villa and private home options for future trips!

So what does our process look like when a client requests a private home or villa booking? We approach villa and private home requests through our consultative Hotel Plus service. Oftentimes, because villa and private home requests involve more detail than a straightforward hotel booking, we will schedule a phone call with you to discuss your trip and get a sense of what your needs are for the villa and what type of villa or private home would best suit those needs. We will talk through your budget, destinations you are considering, the size of your group or family, and get a sense of your “must-haves” in addition to your “wish list” items for the villa or private homes. One of the unique aspects of a private home or villa rentals is that they are outfitted with amenities that hotels and resorts simply do not have! Ranging from docks with boats, jet skis and other water toys to gourmet kitchens, pools with slides and some of the most amazing bathrooms in the world, the possibilities for over-the-top amenities in some of these villas and private homes are truly endless. Through our consultative process, we will be able to source options for you to choose from, eliminating your need to sift through hundreds of options yourself. Plus, every option will be hand-picked for you and thoroughly vetted by our partners, ensuring the only surprises upon arrival are welcome ones.

Through our Hotel Plus service for villas and private homes, we are able to assist with some concierge requests such as airport transfers, private chef arrangements, and other onsite touches. If you are looking for a more detailed approach to your itinerary, we can elevate your trip through our Tailored Luxury service and arrange for activities like private yacht rentals, exclusive private tours, and much more. The beauty of a private villa or home rental lies in the possibility of complete customization!

If booking a private villa or home is something you have considered in the past but were not quite sure about pursuing, or if it is something that you’ve only recently thought about, reach out to us at Ourisman Travel to learn how our global partnerships and planning expertise can help you find the perfect property! Our partners know their portfolios inside and out, with many of them working exclusively with advisors to ensure the privacy of the villa or home and the limited access many of the owners demand. Submit a Travel Request Form or reach out to the team via email at team@ourismantravel.com to get started!

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Hotel Plus: A Consultative Approach to Travel Planning

For many, the idea of taking a trip and executing said trip are two completely different concepts. Typing “family-friendly vacation ideas” or “luxury hotels in Cabo” into a Google search and watching millions of search results populate can cause more stress than a vacation is worth! This is where our Hotel Plus service comes in. While not every trip needs a consultative approach, there are times when your planning & stay experience will benefit from having our expert guidance.

Our Process

Through our Hotel Plus service, Team Ourisman provides a personalized approach to consultation that takes the personal elements of each trip into account. Our Hotel Plus consultative services require a fee of $150 per destination. We consider many planning elements ranging from budget to ideal dates to the type of property that will best suit the needs of the specific trip and present a curated list of up to 3 options for our clients to choose from. Hotel Plus trips can include as many or as few destinations as needed to find the best fit for your trip.

Added Benefits

In addition to our expert consultative services, Hotel Plus includes our assistance with concierge requests once you have booked. Our team will assist you in communicating with the concierge at your hotel of choice to arrange dinner reservations, spa appointments and airport transfers. Our team will monitor the communication with the concierge to ensure timely responses and helpful service.

When is Hotel Plus most beneficial?

Hotel Plus can benefit a wide range of trip types but is most helpful when you are looking to travel somewhere you have never been or are exploring an accommodation type outside of what you normally book, like a villa or a private home rental. Ourisman Travel has 15 years of hotel and destination knowledge behind us driving our process and our insider information provides key insights that simply cannot be found in a search engine. Having professional recommendations always makes for an easier decision! We not only know what the best family-friendly options are in Cabo, but we also know what the best room categories are to accommodate your needs and our process eliminates most of the back and forth that makes travel planning stressful.

How does Hotel Plus compare to our other services?

Hotel Plus was created to act as a bridge between our straightforward Hotel Only service and our highly curated Tailored Luxury service. Most of our clients are familiar with our Hotel Only service, as this is what Ourisman Travel was founded on when we started as an agency in 2006. Our Hotel Only provides our clients with our exclusive value-added amenities that they have love with our added VIP support and personal attention. Hotel Only does not require any upfront fees, provided trip requests are received before seven days of travel and is ideal for travelers who already know what hotel they want to book for their trip. Our Tailored Luxury service provides clients with in-depth itinerary design, curating trips from start to finish through a collaborative process that prioritizes the individual goals for the trip. Hotel Plus acts as the perfect blend of Hotel Only & Tailored Luxury, providing our personalized approach to consultation without the commitment of a full itinerary.

There are many trips that can benefit from our Hotel Plus consultative service. Honeymooners looking to find the perfect hotel in Hawaii, a family looking for the best option for a weeklong Caribbean getaway, or a group of friends looking for something out of the box for a long-awaited reunion our consultative services will help you find the right hotel for your trip! For more information on our Hotel Plus service and how we can assist with your travel planning, reach out to the team via email at team@ourismantravel.com or vial our Travel Request Form.

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Pro-Tip Blog: Travel Planning in 2022

It has been established that the demand for 2021 will continue to climb to all-time highs in many destinations, but what about 2022? As more travelers get vaccinated and more countries adjust their COVID requirements to open their borders, the pent-up desire for travel continues to rise to insatiable levels. Avid travelers are eager to get back out into the world and after over a year of extreme limitations, they are looking to take trips they had put off before the pandemic and make up for lost time. How will increased travel demand affect travel planning and what are the best ways to adapt your travel planning approach in 2022? Team Ourisman is here to offer advice on travel planning for 2022 to ensure you are able to go where you want and get the best value possible!

Appreciating Supply vs Demand

The pandemic was truly a shared global experience, impacting everyone’s lives in immeasurable ways. We experienced limitations we had never faced in the modern age and watched travel all but disappear. Now, as the world begins to reopen post-pandemic, is greeted with unprecedented eagerness making it crucial to manage expectations out of the gate. We are all adjusting to this new world post-pandemic and helping our clients understand that planning is not going to look the same as it did in the past has been a major theme in 2021. There has always been a finite number of hotel rooms in any destination and now the competition for those rooms is fierce! The key to successful travel planning in 2022 and beyond will be flexibility and appreciating that hundreds if not thousands of other people are looking to travel and considering the same destinations you are. This will naturally drive up the prices and might make it hard to find what you are looking for. Sifting through thousands of results populated by a quick Google search will take even more time as you try to understand rates, promotions, and cancelation policies alongside ever-changing travel requirements.

Understanding Hotel Rates

First things first, we need to acknowledge that hotel prices have surged and are at an all-time high for the summer of 2021. So what does this mean for the coming months and beyond? After taking huge losses due to the pandemic in 2020, the travel industry at large is doing everything it can to recuperate those financial losses and we are seeing that reflected in hotel rates. High-demand destinations like Hawaii are seeing prices increased by as much as 3 times what they were in years prior and while the rates might even out as summer 2021 draws to a close, higher rates are likely here to stay. We are advising our clients to book as far in advance as possible to secure what is likely to be the lowest rate a room will be listed for. Beyond securing a rate before it spikes, we can provide context into what the different rate options are and guide you to the rate with the best value. In the world of luxury travel, value is determined by several factors including the deposit required at booking, the cancellation policy, and the amenities, if any, that are included in the rate. Do yourself a favor and reach out to us before locking yourself into a reservation you can’t change at a rate with limited value!

Here’s a piece of insider info for you: hotel rates follow airlines’ publication schedules, becoming available about 330 days out. Sometimes advisors are able to access rates before they are published, which is a great advantage to working with a trusted advisor with great connections, like Team Ourisman.

Lean On An Advisor

With rates and demand steadily rising, having a wide planning window will be a must for anyone who considers themselves to be travel savvy. Another must as we enter this post-pandemic era of travel post will be having a trusted advisor on your side to help you navigate the ins and outs of planning, booking, and managing your travel. Advisors have access to more than just great value-added amenities and if you have not already been working with an advisor, now is the time to start! Beyond providing complimentary breakfast, resort credits, and priority for potential upgrades, Team Ourisman has spent the past 15 years developing close professional relationships all over the world to the benefit of our clients’ travels. Reaching out to us and asking for our advice can mean the difference between reaching your destination with ease and being stuck at the airport because you didn’t fully understand a country’s new entry requirements. We are here and happy to support you, whether it is your first or fiftieth trip with Ourisman Travel.

Appreciate The Adaptive Advisor & Their Value

Like hotels, airlines, and cruises, the travel advisor community has had to adapt to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and those of us that came out of 2020 did not come out unscathed. Our community was forced to learn tough lessons and for many of us, this meant changing the way we do business to ensure we are operating in a more sustainable way. For us at Ourisman Travel, and many of our colleagues, this meant trimming down our team, learning new skills to be as versatile as possible, and learning to place value on our expertise by adjusting our booking policies to ensure we are compensated for our work. There are tons of articles coming out these days applauding the work of the travel advisor and urging travelers to lean on them in the years to come. We have found that while most of these articles are right on the money with the why of using an advisor, many times they create false expectations in how advisors work, namely when they mention fees, specifically a lack thereof. The phrase “you get what you pay for” rings true in many circumstances, but particularly when it comes to travel planning. At the luxury level, advisors invest countless hours into research, communication, planning, and management of trips for their clients. Like any professional service, advisors are experts in their field and we believe it to be a good rule of thumb to expect some type of fee from your advisor for their hard work and time. Place value in their abilities and watch your travel planning experience improves!

Understand Services Available to You

We encourage you to take time to learn what your advisor has to offer and how each trip request might be best served by their expertise and the various services they may offer. At Ourisman Travel we have worked hard to create different service levels to accommodate a range of requests, making us one of the more flexible agencies in our luxury travel community. Our Hotel Only service, for example, provides hotel reservation services with no upfront fees provided the request is straightforward. If you find yourself in need of some consultation and extra assistance in finding the perfect place to stay or understanding travel guidelines, we are happy to provide that additional support tailored to you and your needs through our Hotel Plus service. Hotel Plus also includes assistance with concierge services ranging from dinner reservations, spa appointments, and airport transfer arrangements. As we look to the future of travel, we are finding that planning ahead for hotel stays is becoming the norm and advise that our clients arrange for dinners, spa experiences, and the like ahead of their arrival. If you are looking for a fully curated itinerary, we are able to assist with that as well! Our Tailored Luxury service is our top-tier planning service designed to manage trips from beginning to end, including all elements and fully personalized experiences.

In short, the demand for travel is not going anywhere and 2022 is shaping up to be a record-setting year in the travel industry. If getting back out there, anywhere, is on your list be sure to set yourself up for success by managing expectations, giving yourself an ample amount of time to plan and adjust as needed, and by leaning on a great travel advisor to help you navigate the post-pandemic travel landscape. If you don’t already have a great advisor in your corner, reach out to Team Ourisman to see if we are a good fit for your needs! We are always happy to schedule a phone call for you to get to know us better and learn how we work. Reach out to us via email at team@ourismantravel.com or fill out a Travel Request Form!

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Pro Tips: Festive Travel Planning

Getting away during the holidays in December, referred to as “festive season” in the travel industry, is popular for many reasons. From ease of taking vacation time due to the holidays to winter school breaks, December is an incredibly popular month! Festive season is unofficially identified as December 20th to January 4th and within those two weeks, there are more restrictions in place compared to other times of the year. From blacked-out dates to minimum night stay requirements and extended cancelation windows, festive travel can feel daunting. As always, Team Ourisman is here to assist; we have outlined a few of our top tips for successfully planning festive travel!

When should I start planning?

We advise clients to start thinking about their festive travel plans as early as possible! Knowing that demand for December, in general, is always high, particularly over the dates of December 20th through January 4th, it is always best to think ahead. Tackling planning for travel over the holidays early will give you more options to choose from rather than having to choose from what is leftover. Also, hotels usually give guests who have previously stayed with them over festive, first right if they would like to re-book for the following year. Otherwise, festive availability typically becomes available in early February, so mark your calendars if you want to get a jump on planning!  

Are there deals during the festive season?

While some properties may have specials running through the festive season, most hotels and resorts at the 4 and 5-star level will have higher than usual rates during the holidays. Again, this is due to high demand. Don’t count on discounted rates during December and make sure you budget accordingly to avoid disappointment!

How will festive restrictions come into play?

Because the demand is high for festive, many hotels and resorts lean on stricter policies to ensure their inventory sells and stays sold. It is very common for resorts to have minimum night stay requirements ranging from 7 to 10 nights, higher deposits or even prepaid stay requirements depending on the size of the property, blacked-out dates that can only be seen by travel industry professionals, and extended cancelation windows. These policies are important to remember and understand as you are planning your festive vacation. Our team is here to help break these policies down for you and make sure you have the full picture before making your reservation!

How can I protect my investment when strict cancelation policies are in place?

Whenever a client books a trip with a cancelation window of 30 days or more, we recommend travel insurance. We are partnered with Travelex, a leader in travel insurance, and our team is trained to quote the best plan to give you the most coverage and include your airfare if necessary. We are also able to offer travel insurance through our partners Ultimate Jet Vacations and Island Destinations as a package with your hotel reservation for ease and to make the claim process more straightforward.

Are there any fees involved when booking festive trips with Ourisman Travel?

In cases when rates and availability are readily available, we do not charge a fee. However, we do require a festive fee of 100 USD per hotel if rates and availability are restricted.

Many times, clients have an idea of where they want to go and what they want to spend but have a hard time finding viable options that fit their needs. This is where Ourisman Travel can be a huge asset to you in your planning process! Festive trips can engage with our Hotel Plus service for an additional $150 and our team will present you with several options that fit your needs. Spare yourself the headache of sifting through thousands of Google results and leave it to the professionals!

What else should I consider when planning festive travel?

Because hotels are at capacity over the festive season, it is important that you make all of your transfer arrangements, dining reservations, and spa appointments ahead of your arrival to ensure you secure the times you want. Ourisman Travel is happy to assist and can make these arrangements on your behalf through our Hotel Plus concierge service!

To learn more about how Ourisman Travel can assist with your festive travel or other trips, reach out to the team via email at team@ourismantravel.com or submit a Travel Request Form. We look forward to hearing from you!

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