When Stacey Almond visited Universal Orlando as a child, it was a ride involving Jaws that put the frighteners on her, while a simulator ride themed on the Back to the Future films was her favourite.
Fast forward 12 years and for the 22-year-old Cover Star from Affinion Travel in Kettering the rides have changed, but the experience was just as thrilling.
Stacey, who is a frontline sales agent for the company, first visited Orlando aged two, thanks to parents who were die-hard theme park fans. She still loves visiting theme parks to this day and jumped at the opportunity to be part of the Cover Stars trip, even though she had already been to Orlando that year.
“I entered on the spur of the moment and didn’t think I had any chance of winning but I wanted my 15 minutes of fame and wanted to put the Affinion name out there. When I found out I had won I was so excited and was jumping around screaming,” she said.
Despite being a theme park aficionado, the Cover Stars trip showed Stacey a completely different side of the destination, including shopping and nightlife.
Stacey said: “It caters for everybody and every age range – families, couples, singles. There’s so much more to do than just the theme parks.”
The star treatment started at the airport. “We got upgraded to Virgin Atlantic premium economy and it was my first experience flying a higher class than economy and was a real highlight,” said Stacey.
“I really enjoyed the extra space, the added touches, and the staff really looked after us. The priority boarding speeds the process up.”
The next surprise highlight was the shopping at Orlando Premium Outlets, particularly the discounts. Stacey’s best bargains were a pair of Ugg boots for $99 and a stack of Hollister clothing. The shopping was made all the better by a personal shopper.
“She came up with suggestions for items that I wouldn’t normally have looked at and she recommended really good places to go,” said Stacey.
Other highlights of the trip was the chance to visit the Universal theme parks and try out Stacey’s favourite ride, Revenge of the Mummy.
For Stacey the experience showed that even when you know a destination well, there’s more to selling holidays than child’s play.
Stacey’s sales tips
- Consider selling a hotel on the Universal Orlando site, even if it is only for a couple of nights. Having the early access into the theme park gives visitors the chance to experience it before the crowds arrive.
- Pre-book tickets. It helps clients budget in advance and saves queuing at the park.
- If clients don’t want to stay at the parks consider selling accommodation on the coast. The theme parks are a short drive away.
- The shops at Orlando Premium Outlets are incredible. I didn’t realise just how cheap they are and they stay open late. Advise clients to pack light if they plan to shop.
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