Travel Factory Blog

Travel Tips, Stories, Deals and Info... The Travel Factory employs 4 full time agents with 100 years total experience in the travel industry. Our agents specialize in cruise, tour and resort vacations as well as corporate incentive and school groups. Our mission is to provide the best, most courteous, most detailed, most informative service. Our slogan, "Building vacations to your specifications" says it all.

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The heritage of this agency started back in the late forties when the airline industry was just getting off the ground. Mrs. Ruth Gay who initiated the travel agency business back then was focused primarily on ocean travel, but air travel was beginning to make a little headway.

When I started in the business in 1976, travel agents were appreciated and loved because we were the lifeblood of the airlines business, 'course it was the phone and Official Airline Guide operation back then. To show their appreciation, the airlines paid the travel agencies a commission for selling and servicing their (our) customers.

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The Travel Factory Gang

jerusalem-3934346_1280 The Holy Land - March 2021

Don't ask me when, it's been too long to remember when or why, but I decided, for lack of another name, (you might say I am creatively challenged), to refer to the groups that my wife and I host as “The Travel Factory Gang”. Some tour operators and cruise lines have a little hesitation and suspicion when I announce the name of our group, so most of the time I have to explain the nature of the group.

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Tooting Our Horn......Part 2

Tooting Our Horn......Part 2

We visited this topic a few months ago, but being a former coach, I've found it's always good to review. The question often comes up, “why in the world should anyone want to use a travel agent?”. One of my comebacks is “why would anyone want to use an insurance agent, or a financial adviser, or for that manner a doctor?” Of course, we in the business consider it to be a profession that requires a certain amount of education, expertise, and experience, just like the insurance agent, financial adviser, or physician.

One of the ways that our clients have discovered our value is in the shopping and pricing out a travel product. When they go to an app or website of a tour operator or on-line agency, they are getting a price quote based on the proper buttons pushed. When a travel consultant offers a price, it is the result of training, skills, and expertise in finding the RIGHT price with the RIGHT supplier, in the RIGHT destination, all carefully chosen to make their clients happy. In other words, the price that the agent quotes are the result of professional research.

Another thought here is that the average traveler who takes one, maybe two trips a year generally has no idea how a travel agent does their work. They are not aware of the time, energy and effort, resources used, or vendor relationships built up over the years to give them the best quote available based on the clients interest and needs.

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Travel Tipping Etiquette

Travel Tipping Etiquette

One of the most often over looked expense of a vacation is tipping etiquette. Who should you tip, how much, when should you tip....all important questions, because after all, TIPS means “To Insure Prompt Service”...and that is what we all expect when were on vacation.

It has been our practice for a long time when assisted at a hotel with our luggage that we tip the bellman a dollar a bag...the same for a sky cap at the airport. If you enjoin the services of the concierge for reservations at a restaurant or a show, about $5-$10 should be a fair tip. Usual tip for the maid who attends your room is around $2 a day.

Tipping the taxi or limo driver figure around 10-15% of your fare. If you are using valet parking service to park your car, $5 is fair compensation.

Nowadays, tipping on a cruise ship is fairly easy. They add the charge, usually around $14 a day per person to your room account and that is distributed to all those who have served you in the dining room and your room steward. They also add 15% gratuity to your soft drink or alcoholic drink when ordered on the ship.

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Would You Like to Know About The Travel Factory?

Would You Like To Know About The Travel Factory? Would You Like To Know About The Travel Factory?

We will occasionally get folks who don’t have a lot of history in Abilene ask us about how long we’ve been in business and if our agents are experienced enough to be giving out travel advice.  

Up until last year about this time, I always had an answer that usually took too long, but since last October, we have that answer summarized on our website; www.thetravelfactoryabilene.com.

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