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Adult vacations are great for couples. Children are wonderful. But sometimes, you want a special getaway together.
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Robert Louis Stevenson
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This is a transcript of an interview with Donna of Fox Travel about Adult Vacations
Robert: Hi everybody, this is Robert with Fox Radio and my guest today is Donna Daniels. Donna is the owner of Fox Travel, and she has 30 plus years of experience in the travel industry.
She's going to share her knowledge today on an emerging travel topic: adult vacation, or adult travel
Hi Donna, what I want to talk to you about is what's adult travel today? I think our listeners would enjoy knowing more about adult vacations.
Donna: Well, it encompasses a lot of things. Obviously, if you're getting married going on a honeymoon, you might want to go somewhere where there are no children. If you've been married and your kids have now graduated, gotten married and flown the coop, you might be in a period of your life to rediscover each other, and you would like to do that without children.
It is a whole different experience. Dining menus and venues are more elaborate gourmet, wanting you to wear long pants and shoes instead of shorts and flip flops for dinner. Some of them require reservations because they're small and intimate restaurants trying to give you opportunities to discover each other again like you did when you first met
Robert: Tell me what kind of resorts do you recommend for people that want to have a kid-free destination? Are there entire resorts that are adult only?
Donna: Yes, there are. Resorts groups are developing unique brands that specialize in adult travel, family travel, and kid-focused resorts.
Robert: If they're looking for a little romance, where would you go?
Donna: If I was looking for romance? Well, you know, romance is in the eye of the beholder, if you will. One of the places that are very romantic is a couple's resort; it's Couple Sans Souci. The reason it is romantic, it is built on a 75-year-old site of a spa. It's down a cliff side and the spa areas are open to the crashing water on the volcanic rock. It is quieter in the evening because it's about getting into each other. It is about being together as a couple, they have the suites, they have regular rooms, they have beachfront suites. You have a variety of accommodations for you.
Then, up in the lobby area is where a lot of the activities go on. They have an excellent balloon bar, but the entertainment may be just a three piece combo around a pool that's just off of the lobby. It's off the lobby overlooking the bay, and it is a spectacular view. When you look down the cliff from one of the viewpoints from the first spa, all you see are these beautiful plants just cascading down the cliff. It's real easy viewing, real easy viewing. I take the same pictures from that spot every time I go because it's enjoyable.
That's a romantic kind of a thing rather than, "Well wait a minute, I want to do a little bit more dancing. Maybe I steal my romance in smaller chunks." Perfect example, couples that have been together for a long time, well there's a reason why they've been together for a long time. They probably communicate quite well. Sometimes they don't get to do that at home, so they want to get away and be able to do that. They want to slip in their romance by sleeping late in bed and maybe ordering breakfast in bed. There are so many samples you can order breakfast in bed. So many of the resorts you can do that.
Then, maybe it's not just alone. You know what? They have many activities at these resorts. Let's see; they've got a soccer game going on on the field this afternoon. We've got water volleyball going on. Maybe it's, that might be Jamaica. In Mexico, they might have tequila tasting, painting coconuts and making jewelry and water aerobics going on. Maybe there's a lot of activity that is things like the guessing games that you can play. Around the pool are activities like that. There's social things with a bunch of people or things by yourself. Then maybe, "Okay I'm getting ready for dinner and let's steal away. Let's get a bottle of wine," which you can do at most of these all-inclusive resorts. "Let's sneak over there to that seated area we saw near the volcanic rock on the edge of the pool. Let's go over there to that gazebo and let's just talk and have some wine."
That can be worth ten days of relaxation for some couples just to have an hour or two of alone time. It comes in many different fashions. First, you got to give yourself a chance to experience that, to see what you can do.
Robert: You were discussing Couples. They're all in Jamaica, correct?
Donna: Couples are all in Jamaica right now, yes they are.
Robert: What resorts do you like in Mexico for adults?
Donna: Mexico, I would suggest Karisma Resorts. They have the El Dorados swim-up suites with butler service and 24-hour room service, free internet. Their Italian restaurant has a gondola in the lobby. When you walk into the restaurant, it's all set up as if you were walking down the streets of Italy along the river there, the Rialto.
Robert: I read somewhere that Karisma Resorts and the El Dorado Resorts are couples only. So that is a segment of the adult travel market, I guess.
Donna: Right, it is, it is. They're doing quite well with it. They are building in Jamaica as well. They're expanding to Jamaica. They do have some relative properties in Europe for those that are a bit more adventurous. Another well-themed resort property company is Iberostar. They have the ones for children, and they have the adults only properties These are separate resorts where all three resorts might be next to each other, but they're private resorts, and you do not have reciprocal privileges between the resorts.
Then they have a resort that is the high end of the couples only with the entire Butler thing attached to it. You can get as pampered and as taken care of as you want. The girls here at Fox, they have been to the various resorts, selling people to those resorts. The neat thing about it is they ask for reports when these people come back. That's how they expand their knowledge of the resorts. They can't go everywhere although they want to, we all want to, but it comes slowly but surely. They grow their knowledge by actually reviewing with the client. "What did you like about it? What was your favorite part? Did the kids like the activity? Was there plenty of choices? Did you get to do everything you saw that was possible to do?
The sign of any great vacation is being able to get around the resort and getting the experience you want. When you get to the resort, and you see the activities, and you see a daily planner. Most every single one of them has a newsletter telling you what you can do every day and what's available. Of course, doing nothing is an option too! If the resort is doing what it's supposed to do for the people that are looking for the vacation, most of the time the people won't get to do all that stuff.
Robert: Yeah, they have too many options.
Donna: Too many choices.
Robert: Speaking of too many opportunities, we've just been talking for a few minutes, and it's apparent to me that anybody who wants to plan a special vacation should be talking to a travel agent.
I mean, you couldn't do this much research on the internet, you'd be googling your mind out, and still would be totally confused as to where you want to go.
Your phone number is on the website so people can call you. (281) 363-0808 but as an outside observer I'm kind of overwhelmed by the choices. I'm sure you guys can help people put it in perspective.
Donna: Oh, we can. I will tell you something interesting. We've been around long enough, I've been in the business a little over 35 years. Here at Fox, we were here before the internet. We were here when it just got started. People would come in, and they'd ask us, "How much does it cost to fly from here to there?" We would tell them, and they'd go, "Okay, thank you." Then we'd say, "Can we help you with the tickets?" "Oh, no no. I saw this online myself. I'm fine; I'm OK." Then there was that period where people said: "I need somebody to validate what I'm finding before I punch the "buy" button. The whole thing is, with the internet, I can do it myself, and I can punch my own button."
When you got to the boomer age those clients, who tried to get into all the internet what they found that was a little harder for them to cope with than the younger ones that are growing up in school with it.
Time was you'd get on a site, and you'd click on something, and you'd click on something and you'd click on something. Then you don't even know where you are. We've had the cycle of the clients that used to work with us and then they decided to do it on their own. Then they came back because they started getting too confused. Now they use it as a reference guide and a bank of travel ideas. Most of our clients use it as a reference tool because we can add a lot to that. Especially if someone happens to have the American Express card, there are even more benefits that we can use.
We have access to group rates, say, on cruises where you can get more amenities by just booking in the group space than you would get if you booked on your own. Then you also have someone that you can constantly. With a travel agent, you can come in, talk to us; you can see who you're talking to, bring up your questions, bring up what you discovered. That way you can bounce your ideas off of us, and we'll tell you that, "Well, you know, if you found something like that I would advise you to take that because that's good." We might turn around and say, "Well, I know that but did you read the rules? Do you realize that it states you can do this but that doesn't have the taxes included, and it's only valid if you go Tuesday to Tuesday and Thursday to Thursday."
Something like that. We stay up with all those rules as well. We're going to give you the compilation of years of experience of working one-on-one with clients, sending them to destinations, asking them how their vacations went. Share with you what we have found is a summary of all that real life experience. I think the internet and travel agents work well when used hand-in-hand. It's nice to be able to talk to somebody and not be on hold and not get a mechanical voice answering the phone. I refuse to allow that. It is all about I want to talk to a live person. That's who you get when you come to a travel agency.
Robert: At least a good one.
Donna: Yes. Yes, a good one.
Robert: Let me ask you a possibly impertinent question. When I think adult travel, I think maybe topless beaches, stuff like that. Is that an available thing for regular folks?
Donna: You know, my father told me something many years ago that everybody ought to practice. You can't get a yes if you don't ask the question.
Robert: Sure enough.
Donna: When we are working with our clients we will either go ahead and ask them a few qualifying questions on what they want. Many folks asked us because there might be another set of vacation destinations that can help them explore the world of erotic travel. Even cruises. It's kind of like some people have built it and they're just waiting for the people to come and see what they have to offer. There are entire resorts that cater to topless and clothing-optional guests. In fact, it's a reality on the Riviera Maya in Mexico. You can go almost to any resort, and there are naked people on the beach, that is nothing new at all.
Then there are also resorts that specialize in total nudity, or they have access to nude beaches. Couples resorts have some nude beaches available. Hidden Beach is the resort that you can be totally bare if you want. It's an optional clothing resort. If you want to be nude, you can. From the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night. You can wear something to dinner or around the pool or not. It's a way to experience freedom. The people that have come to enjoy it, they want to be like that two-year-old kid running around in the front yard and the sprinkler without a care in the world and no decisions to make. Going somewhere where they can be nude or mostly nude, the freedom they had as a child. We can help you with all that too.
Robert: All right. Let me ask you one more question because I think this is something that's relatively new to the travel industry. The concept of an adults only/couples only cruise.
Donna: Couples only cruise. Yes. It's been around for about eight years now. This is a chartered ship with areas you can be nude or topless. It is jam packed with activities. They'll have all kinds of bands playing. They might have a Latin band playing over here; they might have a piano player who sings and plays over there. There are evening shows with entertainers, singers, and dancers. They'll bring in DJs with all kind of DJ-ing style so that you have something up in the sky lounge and something out on the pool deck.
They've arranged for breakfasts to be served later so you can sleep in if you want. They've arranged for the midnight snack to be open until 4 am instead of 2 am so that you can party and drink but you're going to be hungry before you go to bed. You can do that too. You can choose whatever you want. They have body painting if you want to do a little something on the wild. They had one on this last ship that was animals. People so well painted you had no idea that they were not animals, it looked so good.
They are up and coming because of the curiosity about excitement, and the boomers are into this too, that's what's interesting. Boomers are into this because they want to be around excitement. They remember being younger and dancing a lot and did. Now that they're empty-nesters they want to go back and enjoy all that. They want to see and, be reminded of what they experienced all those years ago, and get out there and see if they can still keep up and dance. It's all about the smiles; that's when you know you're going a good job. It's all about the smiles.
Robert: I heard that the ships are interesting and that you have mild to wild right inside the ship where you can get a little wild or a lot wild or not wild at all.
Donna: Well, the thing about what the ship offers you is choices. Women are keen on having choices. You have the opportunity to see great entertainment crews onboard ships. These entertainers are versatile, and they're talented. One night during the week of one of these cruises you will have the staff, the crew, and even the captain, out dancing with guests in the atrium of a ship. That's very popular. We get audiences of hundreds of people wanting to watch that and have some fun.
Some people want to get dressed to the hilt, while some people want to stay casual. It is all just fine.
There are areas of discovery on couples-only cruises. If that's something, you want to try to do you're welcome to explore the area of discovery. But you don't have to. You can do a regular cruise, more or less. Just know, if you want to engage in a little bit more titillation and romance you can do that too.
Robert: Well super. Donna, I think we're kind of at the end of our time but I appreciate your input, and I'm sure anybody can call you and ask more.
Donna: Sure, call anytime. This was fun, Robert. Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Robert: We'll do it again. Thanks.
Donna: All righty, bye.