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An Interview With Laura Massoni

Q 1:  Where does your passion for Italy come from? What is it about Italy that you LOVE?

I believe one source of my passion, is that I was born and raised in Italy, and have lived in San Diego since 1992. This has allowed me to share my Italian culture and heritage in great detail with my American friends and family, in a way that hasmade them excited to experience the environment I grew up in. As well as understand the world they are entering from the Italian point of view.

I love talking about my childhood, the trips to the market with my mom, the endless Sundays spent at my grandpa's country house picnicking with family and friends, and the long family meals spent over the holidays. The warm feelings, traditions and memories are what remain from my years of growth and traveling. There is also the knowledge that building a truly wonderful life begins in the heart. The heart is the home to the memories and experiences that sustain us, the well from which we will draw incredible reflections and new adventures. Our goal is to try and leave a lasting memory in our client's hearts, which they take with them everywhere they go.

Italy is my family in my heart and the US is the roof over my head. I hope to be able to show you the Italy I love. Be open to new cultures and customs, it will help your heart grow to new feelings. Anything can change but passion remains.

Q 2:  How long have you been doing what you do and how did you become an expert on Italy?

I have been working in the travel industry for over two decades. I started as an airline reservation agent and moved through various areas of the industry. In 2011 I realized that I wanted to get back to my roots, and it wasn't until that year that I made the decision to concentrate only on Italy, turning away business to other parts of the world. It was only after making this decision that I realized how much I loved sharing my homeland with clients.

Q 3:  Who is your ideal client?

Our ideal clients are travelers who want to experience Italy, from a local’s perspective. They are interested in hearing personal stories and learning about local traditions. They truly desire to experience a country which is so diverse, that the only way to get an authentic “flavor” is by interacting with its people. We are not interested in the price shoppers, people who are driven by least expensive travel often at the expense of experiencing something memorable. These type of clients are looking for a click and go agency, and that is something we choose not to be. We tailor make every itinerary based on our client's specific desires. In fact, we only put together tour packages after having had an in-depth conversation with the client. Even the simple itineraries like Rome, Florence and Venice are custom designed with specific tours for that particular client in mind. Every itinerary, like our clients, are unique and specially crafted.

Q 4:  I have never worked with a tour operator, is it the right decision for me?

Tour operators, or destination experts, are only for those travel agents looking for more than just “a hotel and transportation” booking. You would hire us only if you are looking for expert advice and a local's prospective of what Italy is all about, with support locally that only an Italian specialized agency can give you. After all we already have done the homework for you. Consider this, our staff continually travels to various regions throughout Italy in order to discover new sites and experiences… at least three to four times a year.

Q 5:  How are you different from other tour operators?

We are not a giant agency, we don't sell to the masses and we only do ITALY. You will never find us promoting commercial products or large group tours. We are the “slow food” specialists of travel to Italy. We personally know the hotel managers, the chefs, and the tour guides. They have become our friends, because they have the same passion and desire to share our wonderful country, with those who wish to experience the true Italy, nothing more.

We also have an office in Italy and our Italian staff monitors your clients while they are traveling. There is a dedicated phone extension in both the Italian and US offices allowing for instant direct communication between offices when needed. We provide full coverage that is always available during standard American office hours.

Q 6:  What do you expect from a travel agency partner?

We want you to feel comfortable working with us. We want you to know we are bringing you the best. You should understand that you cannot price shop us. An Internet tour will never be the same as one of our tours. Our guides are hand picked and are there to escort your clients, on the days you need them. The internet tour guides are assigned according to a particular work schedule, determined by the tour company. Who you will have is the luck of the draw.

We want you to communicate with us openly… as you would with a good friend or loved one. Your itineraries will be created around what you desire. We ask that you collect a deposit in order to protect yourself from the price shoppers and to ensure that when we work for you, it is because you and your clients value our time and expertise. By selecting us as an itinerary planner, we are committing to bring you a wonderful Italian experience. We can do this together! And you need to know that we don't take on more clients than we can genuinely service.

Q 7:  What type of people will this not work for?

This concept and the way we present travel is NOT for the price driven shoppers (in case you didn’t read that before), people who aren’t passionate about Italian travel, and those DIY type of travelers. We respect your clients and your business, please respect ours.

Q 8:  How exactly does See Italy Travel work and what do you include in your packages?

When we receive your request by email or phone we will do the following;

Q 9:  What can I expect from working with you?

All of our agents were born and raised in Italy. We have the cultural and touristy experience that is necessary to build perfect itineraries. We say this because we know everything about holidays, store closures, museum closures and almost every custom… Although we cannot predict weather, we can build amazing tour experiences.

We also send you a series of information about the country to send to your clients, they will NOT be disappointed and you won’t either. This is why, we say “that your client’s experience with US will give YOU A WORLD OF CLIENTS!”

Q 10:  Can I get referrals of former clients to see what kind of experiences they had working with you?

Of course you can, you can also read client praises on our web site.

Q 11:  Do you accept Credit cards?

Yes, we accept all major credit cards without adding an additional fee.

Q 12:  What are your itineraries like?

Each and every one is unique and will vary according to your client’s needs, age, weather and cities visited, as well as their interests. In addition, we can customize existing small group tours depending on clients interests of course. We have also developed small group departures, you can find them on the GROUP section, in case you have a client that doesn’t like to travel alone!

Q 13:  What if we need to contact you when we are in Italy?

See Italy Travel also has an Italian office, in Turin, that is available for any questions or concerns that may come up during your client’s travel. This number can be found on all of our final travel documents.

Q 14:  Ok, I am not sure if I am ready to work with you, how can I sample your work to see if you are the right solution for me?

You can schedule a thirty minute consultation and ask the questions and address the concerns you might have. We will also be happy to send you sample itineraries of past clients.

Q 15:  How is your booking process?

Please refer to question #7, for a detailed explanation of our process. Remember, we customize every itinerary according to your client’s needs.

Q 16:  What happens once we've paid a plan to go fee?

We will send you an itinerary, based on our initial conversations with you, of what we think would be the ideal trip. It's important for you and your client, to be open and honest about your desires and wishes, as this will make this process more about what you want and less about guess work. We will then openly discuss and alter the itinerary, until the right one has been crafted for you.

Q 17:  What happens after final payment?

After final payment is made, we will send you vouchers, phone contacts and the names of each supplier we've used, so that you know exactly who you are meeting and when. We also send you a series of Q&A's to prepare you for you trip, as well as provide some background on Italy.


See Italy is a division of the Laura Massoni Travel Corporation.