Planning Custom Alaska Travel

Help your clients check off items on their Alaska travel bucket list by asking good questions By: Kenneth Shapiro
Shapiro // © 2016 TravelAge West
Shapiro // © 2016 TravelAge West

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Check out six secrets to great Alaska trips.

This issue’s cover story, “6 Secrets to Alaska Custom Tours,” points out that travel agents could have happier customers — and higher commissions — by mastering the art of planning personalized trips to Alaska.

As the story says, a common refrain of travelers returning from Alaska is, “I wish I had done X, Y or Z.” With so many adventures available, it’s inevitable that something will be missed. But everyone has their own personal Alaska bucket list, and travel agents should try to understand what a client is truly seeking. For instance, if a client says he or she wants to “see wildlife,” this could encompass a wide range of experiences, making it easy for an agent to miss the mark.

Asking the right questions and understanding the motivation for your client’s trip is the first step toward building an unforgettable custom vacation.

The story also points out how many travelers actually make the mistake of not spending enough time inside Alaska’s Denali National Park, even though the area offers great opportunities for outdoor adventure.

“Fewer than 1 percent of the visitors overnight at the end of the road in Denali,” said Beth Brandon, director of sales and marketing at Alaska Denali Travel. “These people want the Alaska of their dreams. They want to experience wilderness and abundant wildlife. They want to immerse themselves in the magic of Denali.”

Denali is a truly impressive park, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service, one of the most successful and cherished government programs in history. In honor of this milestone, TravelAge West will run a new online series called “National Parks Centennial,” where each month on our website we’ll post a story about a different national park. This month, you can read all about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park at

Like Alaska, our national parks offer an opportunity for people to be inspired by the beauty they find in nature and to live out their dreams of wilderness adventure. It’s a type of travel that feeds the soul and renews the spirit, and what can be more gratifying than making that opportunity possible for your clients.

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