We share a lot of tips and tricks for planning your own vacation, but when it comes to group trips or something as important as a destination wedding, there are a lot of advantages to turning to the help of a professional. This is why we are excited to have Ashley Morris on the show today. Ashley is the founder and owner of Alpaca Your Bags Travel which specializes in group trips and destination weddings.
Ashley shares important tips that only a travel professional can provide. An experienced professional can make recommendations, get discounts to rooms and amenities, and be the go between who handles the group financial part. We also grill Ashley on her favorite destinations, how she ended up with such a fun business name, and why she got involved in the travel industry. Ashley’s knowledge and passion really shine through in this fun interview.
[02:55] Ashley Morris is the owner and founder of Alpaca Your Bags Travel. The name may be funny but they take travel very seriously.
[03:06] She's in her fifth year of business with Alpaca Your Bags Travel. Prior to that, she worked in corporate marketing and advertising.
[03:19] One of the things she brings to her new career is all of her past experience in advertising. She used to help people make marketing decisions, now she cuts through the clutter and helps people make travel decisions.
[03:42] Ashley believes everyone’s style of travel is different, and there's something out there for everyone.
[03:51] 75% of Ashley's business is group travel mostly for destination weddings. She also specializes in celebration groups whether it's a birthday, a family reunion, or a family holiday.
[05:10] Ashley shares how she ended up with the name Alpaca Your Bags Travel.
[05:44] Ashley and her future husband wanted a destination wedding where they could focus on each other and quality time with friends and family.
[06:22] The plan was to find an amazing tropical all-inclusive destination. They knew what they wanted, but not how to do it.
[07:01] Her first attempt with a travel agent didn't go smoothly. Technology in the travel industry is a bit outdated.
[07:40] They planned their wedding and had 60 people go to the Dominican Republic for their event.
[08:04] When they returned, Ashley was looking for a next career and went to travel agent school.
[08:36] It's her goal to make everything as easy as possible for her clients. She has a streamlined process where everything is done using technology.
[09:22] Clients often get overwhelmed going online and doing their own research.
[10:01] For something as important as a destination wedding having a travel adviser is really helpful. Ashley takes the time to get to know her clients, so she can plan the perfect event.
[11:28] There are nuances to group travel that make it very helpful to have a travel professional on your side. Group booking can be a challenge.
[13:12] Benefits of booking a group travel trip include travel professionals have relationships with the top resorts and hotels.
[14:30] When you work with an adviser, you can get free rooms, discounts, excursions, and more. Without the help of an expert, you are leaving money on the table.
[16:09] Ashley is constantly on the pulse of what is happening. She also travels to the destinations.
[17:01] It's not just about the resort, there are a lot of moving parts to a trip like transportation.
[17:34] A true travel expert will have actually been to the destination.
[18:10] Ashley asks questions to narrow down the destination. Do you want a legal or symbolic destination wedding?
[20:05] You do the legal part in the US, before you leave, then when you get to your destination you have a symbolic wedding.
[20:53] In a symbolic wedding, anyone can officiate that wedding.
[21:42] Legal destination weddings in Jamaica are very simple.
[22:15] Do you want an all-inclusive resort? These are concentrated in Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.
[24:18] What is the comfort level of your friends and family when traveling?
[26:12] Is it important to do what you want or accommodate as many people as possible?
[27:41] What do you want to do when you get there?
[28:59] Ashley's top three destinations are Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo. She also likes Ocho Rios in Jamaica.
[36:18] Fifty percent of engagements happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. The ideal amount of time to let your family and friends know that you are having a destination wedding is 11 to 12 months.
[37:03] The ideal time to contact Ashley would be 12 to 13 months before your event.
Links and Resources:
Call Ashley 816-287-0383
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