I wish I could find a Jen Knoch everywhere I travel. It’s easy to find travel agents, hotel concierges, and corporate event planners galore who can offer some piece of travel planning, but it’s seldom information that’s very customized or personal. Consequently, I spend a lot of time talking to friends to get their tips and pouring over sites like TripAdvisor. I’ve had great experiences with travel planners for big trips, groups like Costa Rica Expeditions or the Blue Men of Morocco, for example, but what if you’re an individual, family or a book group traveling to someplace like the Twin Cities or Chicago or Seattle?
Knoch’s Radar Virtual Concierge Services, which caters to Twin Cities experiences, offers customized suggestions, based on the client’s needs and it’s affordable for “regular” people. She says, “My sweet spot is the locally owned businesses that do tend to be more unique, under-the-radar and neighborhood type places that typically aren’t known to corporate event managers, hotel concierges, and travel agents. They tend to focus more on the obvious, larger venues, well-known, chains, etc. An individual, a couple, a group, a family looking for an adventure in the Twin Cities whether they live here or are visiting, are my absolute perfect clients! There is so much to do here and much of that is ‘unknown’ and I get my kicks out of blowing people away with the greatness of these cities from dining to music to retail to all-things culture.” Radar’s service is offered on a one time, weekend, annual or event-based basis, with the fees to match, starting at $15. I have yet to find a comparable service in other markets. Do they exist?
One of Knoch’s favorite “bookish” spots in the Twin Cities: Wild Rumpus. It’s one of my favorites, too, and I’ve missed going there now that my boys are grown. So, trolling their Web site, I was delighted to discover that they have an adults-only book club and, best of all, a remedial book club for adults who missed or want to revisit some of the classics of children’s literature. The store’s animal hosts alone make it worth a trip.