Another week of wonderful client departures and returns as summer season is heating up, and already in May I've had numerous clients board international flights. Let's Travel! As mentioned last week, and in my social media outlets over the last few weeks I was featured on WTAE Channel 4 Action News, the local ABC affialite in Pittsburgh.
Tom Garris of ABC Channel 4 Action News, reached out to me in early April, the contact was for a story WTAE was looking to do on the upcoming summer season fo travel. Tom, wanted to see if I was interested in being interviewed in person and put on air. While I was extremely busy with already finalizing May departures, the opportunity was shocking to me, and I just could not pass this up. I was never on TV before, let alone the news for a story. I was very nervous how this was going to end up.
We setup a day and time, and the weather worked out well for us to hold the interview in a small park. Tom interviewed me on various topics about the travel industry and summer travel ideas, and recommendations. We spoke about cruises, flights, destinations, the recovery, the pandemic, my agency, my professional history and more. Of course as these always go, very little actually made it on air. As we wrapped the video interview Tom was very kind and so easy to talk to. He made me aware that the piece will go to air sometime in May, but he was not sure when. He also said I should only expect about 30 seconds on air. So I knew not much of this was going to air.
Day & Weeks in May came & went and I saw nothing or heard nothing from WTAE about the air dates. I was beginning to think they decided they were too late to air a summer season peice and nixxed it, or you know..... I just completely failed, and they were not going to go with it.....lol.
Then came the last week in May, I was in the middle of working like always in was mid day, and one of my relatives I've not heard from in years texted me. "I just saw you on the news!" I was shocked, my reply was when? how long was it? I discovered they aired it on the midday broadcast, I wanted to see it but missed it, as I wasnot aware it was going to air. Then over that weekend a client informed they saw my peice...and "it was really good!", again I missed it. Finally came the next Monday, I was waking up just getting ready to start the day, and another client informed me they saw it. Ok that was three times! I reached out to Tom before my crazy day started, and he kindly informed me, yes it aired 3 times and may air again. He also told me it was longer than expected and the editors were very happy with the interview so gave it a whole 2min air segment! That really shocked the hell out of me.
Upon asking for a copy of or where can I see it, sent me the weblink for the story. So not only was I on air for 2min, but the peice also went online. I was finally able to see the story, and now I happily share it with you all:
Below is the transcript of what aired:
Tom: SUMMER TRAVEL ADVICE TO GET A PULSE OF THE SUMMER VACATION SEASON. WE TURN TO A SEASONED VETERAN OF THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY. DEREK SCHEMONITZ, WHO HAS BEEN AN AGENT FOR MORE THAN TWO DECADES, JUST LAST YEAR, HE STARTED HIS OWN AGENCY, MR. TRAVEL AGENT, LLC.
Me: "THE DEMAND FOR TRAVEL COMING OUT OF THE PANDEMIC IS MASSIVE. THERE’S A HUGE BOOM."
Tom: HE DEALS IN THE LUXURY MARKET AND SAYS TRIPS TO EUROPE ARE THE MOST POPULAR IN THE SUMMERTIME. THE BIG ADVICE HE HAS AHEAD OF THE TRAVEL SEASON IS TO BOOK AS EARLY AS YOU CAN.
Me: "I’M ALREADY STARTING TO SEE SOME AVAILABILITY ISSUES AS AT CERTAIN CERTAIN HOTELS AND THE TOURS AND CRUISES ARE SELLING OUT."
Tom: A QUESTION HE SAYS HE GETS ALL THE TIME IS WHAT’S THE BEST DAY TO BOOK? HISTORICALLY, PEOPLE HAVE SAID TUESDAY IS THE ONE TO CIRCLE ON YOUR CALENDAR. BUT OUR EXPERT SAYS THE REAL THING TO FOCUS ON IS THE DAY YOU LEAVE.
Me: "SO IF YOU’RE PLANNING FOR FOUR MONTHS OUT AND YOU CAN LEAVE ON A TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, COMPARED TO A FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY, YOU ARE PROBABLY GOING TO GET A SLIGHTLY BETTER PRICE ON AIRFARE."
Tom: SOMETHING NEW FOR 2023 CRUISE SIZES AS THE AVERAGE ONES CAN CARRY BETWEEN 2000 TO 4000 PASSENGERS. SCHEMONITZ SAYS PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM OTHERS STILL, SO SOME HIGH END PROVIDERS ARE GOING SMALLER.
Me: "RITZ CARLTON CAME OUT WITH A SUPERYACHT THAT CAN ONLY ACCOMMODATE MAYBE 60 CABINS, 50-60 CABINS AND SO YOU CAN SELL AT A LLEISURELY PACE ON A LUXURY SHIP, BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE WITH 3000 PEOPLE TO DO IT ANYMORE."
Tom: ONE FINAL TIP HAS TO DO WITH YOUR PASSPORT TO GET ONE AT NORMAL SPEEDS CAN TAKE UP TO THREE MONTHS AND TO EXPEDITE IT WILL COST YOU $60. BUT EVEN THAT TAKES 7 TO 9 WEEKS. IF YOU NEED IT EVEN FASTER THAN THAT, YOU’LL HAVE TO CALL AND MAKE AN APPOINTMENT.
Me: "I’VE HAD CLIENTS WHO HAD TO DRIVE TO PHILADELPHIA AND GET THEIR PASSPORT BY APPOINTMENT AT THE VERY LAST MINUTE"
One thing I have to correct that I said on air is about the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection's Evrima Yacht. I said on air that it has 50-60 cabins. That is inaccurate, the correct number of suites, yes it is all suites is 149, with a max guest capacity of 298 people.
To go into a little more detail about what was discussed.
A.) This aired in May, for summer season 2023, if you are planning international travel for this summer it really is going to depend on the destination, as far as availabilty and price. Some places that have very few hotels are very much sold out or slim pickings. Not that I'll have problems finding you accommodations in major cities with lots of upscale hotel choices to chose from or in large resort zone coastal/beach destinations. It's more so the smaller gems that are oversold for the summer. I'm more so planning for clients now in Sept/Oct 2023 and into Spring/Summer of 2024, but it's never too late to decide on a last minute international vacation.
B.) You are always going to get a better price on international flights flying weekdays compared to weekends, however availabilty of alotted space on international flights can make even a bigger difference than day of the week. If planning for international travel my advice is always I want to book you as early as possible, and flights become available on most carriers 11 months out.
C.) Passport timeframes vary, I have connections that can turn them around in just a week or two, but you'll pay for the quick turn around. Otherwise standard processing is around 2-3 months, and expedite service is about 1-1.5mths. Too get a passport just days before departure you have to secure an appointment approval with a local passport office, which can then turn around the passport same day usually.
Derek Schemonitz, Owner/CEO & President of: