YOGA & SPA: Let’s go back to your beginnings. Where did you grow up?
CHERI KELLER: I am a native of St. Louis, which is a wonderful city with a small-town feel. I was always active, staying outside all day as a young girl, and participating in sports in high school. I grew up in Chesterfield, and the Chesterfield back then is nothing like the Chesterfield of today.
Y&S: What was Chesterfield like when you were growing up?
CK: Where do I begin? When I grew up, Chesterfield was farmland until it became incorporated in the late 80s. Back then, my friends and I played outside until the street lights came on and rode our bikes without helmets! We walked freely from house to house and played in the woods. Everybody knew one another. In the 90s the population of Chesterfield grew by almost 50%. Along with the population boom came strip malls, businesses, large office buildings and that’s when things really started to change from a suburb with a community feel to a city within a suburb.
Y&S: Where did you go from there?
CK: I studied at the University of Missouri Columbia and received a Bachelor of Science degree. Columbia was close enough to St. Louis, but far enough away to be independent.
Y&S: I had the privilege of working with you at the Living Fit Expo. You seem energized and passionate to share your travel experiences and expertise. What energizes you?
CK: What energizes me is working with my clients to plan the perfect vacation for them. I am a detailed person so it is important for me to make sure my clients’ experiences run smoothly. I am passionate about creating new travel experiences for myself, as well as for my clients.
Y&S: It appears people are changing their travel habits and focusing on destinations that provide healthy food and activities for their guests. What’s a destination that you’d like to share with our readers that provides healthy choices on vacation?
CK: I recently traveled on a European River Cruise, making a precruise stop in the Czech Republic and then sailing down the Danube River to Germany, Austria and Hungary. You may think that River Cruising would be an unusual healthy choice vacation, but you would be surprised how active we were during our 10-day vacation and how healthy and fresh the food choices were.
Y&S: What’s your favorite activity or spa treatment at this particular destination?
CK: I thoroughly enjoyed the vineyard hike through the Wachau Valley but my favorite activity was biking through the Danube Valley from Engelhartszell to Passau. The river-hugging ride along the Ilz provided a great workout while enjoying spectacular scenery, such as orchards, meadows, charming villages and the occasional castle.
Y&S: If you had a crystal ball, what would you see as the future of the travel industry?
CK: There is a resurgence in the use of travel advisors. People are finding that an online booking through a search engine takes too many hours of research and can be too stressful and impersonal. A travel advisor can provide the perfect vacation by listening, understanding your desires, suggesting and investing in your satisfaction. Travelers are discovering that travel advisors often save them money and deliver more value, as well as adding bespoke experiences. Many times, an Adelman advisor can obtain added value to your vacation, such as resort or cabin credits and additional amenities.
Y&S: I agree. Years ago, booking online was easy and relatively inexpensive. Now, there are so many upcharges it’s not worth the time and effort. In addition, there are many advantages to using a travel agent over booking plans yourself. Some travel agencies have great connections with hotels, airlines, and car rental companies, and due to this they can offer discounts on these travel costs. Are you affiliated or connected with any major travel brands?
CK: Adelman Vacations has unique and leveraged connections with hotels, airlines, tour companies and cruise lines. With those relationships, we are able to offer added value to our clients’ travel arrangements. Some examples of these added value amenities would be complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, resort or on-board cabin credit, or, in applicable circumstances, a complimentary car and driver.
Y&S: Some travel agents charge their clients fees for putting together quotes and some don’t. It seems that everyone’s business model is different. Do you charge a fee for these services?
CK: Adelman Vacations does not charge fees for many of our cruise and tour packages. This is why it is such a good choice to work with a professional advisor at Adelman Vacations.
Y&S: Things arise and cancellation or changes are sometimes necessary. How much will you be refunded if you need to cancel your trip or make a change to an existing itinerary?
CK: Penalties vary widely, depending on the trip you have booked and at what point you need to make a change or cancellation. A very good reason to use a travel advisor is for their help with any unexpected changes or cancellations. A travel advisor can help you maneuver through the existing policies and, in some cases, have the pending fees waived. Optional travel insurance is highly recommended. Advisors can help you find the most appropriate optional cancellation and change protection policy for your specific needs.
Y&S: What’s your vision for Adelman Travel?
CK: Adelman Travel has been actively concentrating on the training of all our advisors. We acknowledge the trends for wellness and healthy lifestyle vacations and continue to explore new options in this niche for our clients. There are many choices for healthy vacations and I can help navigate you through all of these options.
Cheri is married to Robert Keller. They have a son, Jason, who has traveled extensively and now lives in Boston, and a second son, Jeremy, who lives in St. Louis. Keller maintains an active life style by attending Barre classes at local studios several times per week and power walking Faust Park on the weekends. Cheri is also a wellness specialist and a luxury travel expert.