We had the good fortune of connecting with Scott Wismont, CTA and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Scott, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
That travel advisors exist and having one that you work well with is just as important as the destination. Travel professionals have seen significant changes in how and why we work from our peak in the pre-internet world through the post-pandemic world. In today’s environment, we are the experts and advocates for our travelers to make sure they have great vacations.
When changes happen, we stay on top of them and communicate those that will impact your vacation. When things go wrong, we are your advocate to speak on your behalf to help get you to where you need to go. As many found out during the early days of the pandemic, this alone is worth its weight in gold.
The relationships that I form with my travelers are more than transactional. I genuinely get to know my travelers so that not only will their first vacation be memorable, but every vacation that they take in the future will be effortless and just as exciting as the first.
When you start to think about planning your next vacation, spend time researching travel advisors. Look for one that not only works with your destination but is someone who you can see having a long-term professional relationship. During your initial consultation, you should get a good feel for how they work and if your personalities will mesh well.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I started as a fresh travel advisor in 2015 after taking my first cruise. I was shopping around for a travel advisor that I felt understood the concerns of the LGBTQ+ traveler but wasn’t having much luck. During the search, I ran across a new agency owner who offered me an independent contractor position, allowing me to enter as a new travel advisor. The downside was that his brand was focused on Disney destinations, and over the next several years, I struggled to distinguish myself as a travel advisor for the LGBTQ community.
Fast forward to 2020, and the travel shut down. During the first few months of the pandemic, I took a hard look at what I was getting out of the current arrangement and what I wanted going forward. I used the time to build the brand and company I had been dreaming of—cue in Rainbow Getaways, the Premier LGBTQ+ Travel Concierge.
I started Rainbow Getaways to help LGBTQ+ travelers research, plan, and book incredible vacations where they feel confident and comfortable to enjoy and explore the destination.
The LGBTQ+ traveler is unique compared to travelers outside of our community. We have a shared desire to have a run-of-the-mill vacation to feel safe and have a good time. But I don’t think that is enough. I want my travelers to have the type of vacation they will talk about for years. Going to Iceland to see the Northern Lights for their 60th birthday. Take a private tour of the ancient sites in Egypt. Or spend time walking the streets of Malta and reliving Game of Thrones.
To accomplish this, I have formed partnerships with tour operators, hotels, cruise lines, and others that are either LGBTQ+ owned or have earned an excellent reputation for working well with our community. Even in countries and regions that are not at the top of the LGBTQ+ most-travel-to lists, we can explore with local experts who can share local history and know the best destinations for what we want to do.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Being in Central Florida, there’s a lot of things that are on the must-do list for my friends who come down for the first time. We’d spend a few days doing Disney and Universal, making sure to do the “tourist thing” in the parks and eating the best snacks.
After our time in the theme parks, we’d move out to other parts of Orlando, spending some time at other tourist traps (I mean destinations). We head to the Atlantic Coast for some time at Kennedy Space Center, watching ships leave (most of my friends up North haven’t seen a ship in person before), and have dinner at Fishlips to top off the experience.
After our day on the Atlantic Coast, we’d head to the Gulf Coast for some resort time on the water. I’d get us a room at the Postcard Inn on St. Pete’s Beach, I fell in love with this quaint little resort years ago and it’s always my go-to for accommodations in SPB.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Looking back at my life so far, each connection has played a role in helping me get to where I am and where I am going. From the support of my family, loving me for who I am without question, to the managers of my past showing me what it means to be a good leader and entrepreneur.