Some people shy away from challenges; others embrace them. And Kimberly Bagnoli, a AAA travel consultant in the Canton store, runs right toward them.
After working at AAA Ohio for two years in member services, Bagnoli wanted to try something different. When a long-time travel consultant retired and the position became available, “I wanted to go for it,” she said.
Four years later, she’s certain she made the right decision.
“Being a travel consultant allows me to break out of one routine. You’re doing different things every day; it’s a lot to learn and do, and I really enjoy that,” she said.
Bagnoli also enjoys making connections with clients that can lead to more than just a one-off transaction. One couple, whom she met while creating a TripTik®, have become regular clients, booking multiple cross-country trips and cruises.
Advice for new travel agents
“Don’t be discouraged if you feel like what you’re doing right now is something basic,” she said, on giving advice to other travel consultants. “If all you’re doing is talking and making connections, that’s good.”
Those connections have led her to book a wide array of travel to destinations around the world. Right now, she said, cruises are the name of the game. And her favorite trip? A Uniworld river cruise in the south of France.
Another perennial favorite for many travelers is Walt Disney World. Her tip for trips to this destination is simple: Plan ahead, but be flexible.
“I always give people the same advice about excursions: Book the things ahead of time that you know you want to do, then leave some free time to roam and explore,” Bagnoli said.
As wedding season approaches, the number of honeymoon bookings increase, too. Popular destinations for young couples are Punta Cana, Cancun, Hawaii – and yes, Disney. According to Bagnoli, most couples opt for all-inclusive packages, so there are fewer details to take care of later.
“I don’t like my clients to have any surprises on their trip,” she said. “I give them as much information as possible up front.”
And when her clients travel, “I feel like they’re my kids,” she said. “I really take it personally. And my reward is when someone returns and tells me they had a great time and really appreciates it.”