It surprises me how many people, upon hearing that my novel is about a travel agent, wants to know what exotic destination I am writing about. No, a travel agent, not a tour escort. Sure, I know some agents escort their groups, but if it is a land tour they pick up an over all escort from the tour wholesaler or the bus driver is the guide. And even then, in places that have several interesting sites, they have a local guide come on board.
I just got back from
with my kids, and couldn't help 'networking' and met a few people with a group
from the Midwest. Ninety people, and yes they
had a 'host' with them from the bank that put the group together. No agent, as
the bank had a touring and travel department. (It raised an eyebrow for me as
most of those departments in companies in my hometown were eliminated decades
ago.) So, of course, I had to go meet this person with the title “host”. Took
me back years. She was there to see to it that they all got on and off the
ship--with luggage, to the included shore excursions, and to make sure that
'thank you cocktail party' went as planned. Needless to say, she was running
around the ship a lot taking care of complaints and changes. We met in the
shore excursion line, and she got waited on before me and I left her there
still arranging. And she did all this while fielding calls from home concerning
the next tour the bank was offering a few weeks later to . Those participants were worried
about the weather. And I must admit, I wonder if that tour went considering how
hard the hurricanes hit Vermont . Vermont
Now, I was on the Princess Sapphire, a huge ship, and I didn’t find one travel agent. Okay, they could have been hiding or keeping a low profile, especially if this was vacation time for them. You’d be shocked how you are questioned once someone finds out you are in the business. But I have cruised and found ‘agents’ acting as hosts.
My book, Downsized To Death, is about a working travel agent and she never leads tours or groups. So, when as I caught sight of that host throughout the rest of the cruise dealing with her ‘charges’, it occurred to me, as a mystery writer, how I could take this situation and write a murder mystery. I didn’t come up with much, I mean, it’s been done to death, all those tours and cruises and someone gets murdered and someone or the escort dives in and discovers the killer. And I don’t even read those things because they inevitably annoy me to no end with all the incorrect things they put in as procedure. I know, most readers don’t know or care about these things, but I do! I once read a story about a shop keeper who booked all the rooms in a small hotel for a group and said she didn’t have to pay until they checked out. ?????? So, even though it was pleasurable thinking about murdering some of those ‘charges’ that the ‘hard working’ host had to deal with, it’s a bust idea, because, as I’ve said, it has been done to death.
PS: all puns intended.