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Pam Smithgall

What does a typical day for you consist of?

To describe a typical day.  Often I have received a request either by phone, email or through our website for a trip.  I set up a time to talk with the client by phone so we can discuss what I can do for them, what fees they would pay and in general what I think their trip might cost.  If they choose to work with me, then we process their planning fee & I start working on what I will propose for them.  I look carefully at what they say they want and consider what types of nice surprises we might be able to include for them and write up a beautiful proposal for them.   Sometime days I have received feedback after sending a proposal perhaps by phone or email.  We talk and maybe they need to go think about what I’ve said or maybe they decide to put deposits down to secure the trip, so I handle all the payments.  There is quite a bit of writing involved so that I can explain exactly what is booked, what they have paid, what will be due to pay later etc.   So those kinds of things go on every day and I usually have about 12 trips going at any time, so you have to switch from one stage of a trip to another.  On any day, I might have people who are traveling at the moment, so I am in touch with maybe their hotel or if they are on a cruise, I may be in touch with someone who will be greeting them at various ports along the way.   I keep an eye on all aspects of trips as clients are actually traveling.   Some days I may be meeting with clients to present them with their travel documents as well as the gift bag of goodies that we provide to make their trip even more fun.   It’s always so fun to get with people just before they head out, as they are usually so excited!  If I have others who have just returned from travel, I call them, write them a hand written welcome card, check in with the managers at their hotels to thank them for a job well done, things like that!

Then there’s always marketing tasks such as possibly creating a social media post, or an ad maybe on facebook or writing my weekly newsletter which all clients receive.  Every day has a wide variety of things going on, so you have to be very organized and be able to keep lots of things going at once!

What advice would you give someone considering this career?

I think getting a business or marketing degree or possibly a degree such as they have at University of Houston on hotel & hospitality management could be very helpful.  Learning about the world and the geography and the cultural differences will really be helpful.  Being very good with computer skills and people skills is huge too!  Working for an agency, airline or hotel could really be a good start!

What is a book or movie that has inspired you?

Movies or books that take you into history or into an area of the world which is very different from where you grew up really opens your eyes to this world! Anything with historical fiction can really light up your interest in places you may not have ever known about.  I really love the movie Out of Africa for the great scenery and story set in Africa.

Do you (or your company) offer internships or job shadow opportunities to high school students? If so, how would a student go about applying for one of those?

I haven’t been able to offer internships or things like that.  If someone wanted to sort of watch how I present and market the world of travel by “liking” my business facebook page, that could give you a little view into it all.

Pam Smithgall

Travel is truly an adventure and is often life changing! I’ve been so blessed to have discovered that this world is full of new friends you just haven’t met yet. I’m a lifelong Texan who started out in education and as a professional musician, who decided to transition to a new career in 1996. Music and travel are truly two of my passions!

Planning great trips is very much like performing great music, making intricate parts align in perfect harmony! I enjoy opening clients’ eyes to the beauty of this world. and creating wonderful memories!  There is so much detail in travel planning, and I know the ins and outs of how to best spend your time and travel dollars. You will have great advantages when you work with me, thanks to the time I have spent in so many destinations, the close working relationships I have with those who will be hosting you, and the care I use when designing your itinerary. I do not send clients anywhere that I would not go. I want you to return from your travels excited about your next destination!

I enjoy getting to know my clients and have many who have been planning with me since I started my business. My clients are special to me and I really care for them. I become part of clients’ lives, and that is a wonderful privilege! My clients often send their friends and family members to me, and it always brings a smile to my face to be so trusted.