One question seems to keep popping up numerous times lately – “why should I use a travel agent?” In these days of constant connection, email and Facebook ads promoting all kinds of travel deals, that’s a fair question. Anyone who uses a search engine can find what is termed the latest and greatest travel deal. Everyone has their favorite spot to search for airfare, hotels, etc., whether it’s Travelocity, Kayak, Hotels.com. So what is the advantage of a travel agent. More importantly, does it cost you more?
So let’s address the biggest elephant in the room first. Does it cost more to use a travel agent? Most travel agents work on a commission base only. That commission is paid to them by the various suppliers they work with. The cost is not passed on to the client. How is this possible? Travel agents and/or the companies they work for are part of a bigger consortium. This increases buying power, which in turn results in better deals and amenities for a travel agent’s clients. There are some agents who do add a standard fee for services which is paid by the client, but personally I do not.
Now that you know you aren’t going to be charged extra (at least by me), what are the other advantages? ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) put together a list of 101 reasons, but I’ll keep this blog list short and sweet.
- We literally have hundreds of suppliers at our fingertips. Do it yourself vacation planners could search for days on end for the best deal. It might take a travel agent a couple of hours to sort through all the specials out there – but I can guarantee we can narrow down the best prices faster and more efficiently than you can. And guess what? We can probably find some special amenities to throw in for you to sweeten the deal. We are truly the one-stop shop.
- Yes, anyone can search on-line and find bargains. But how do you know that bargain is going to be the best fit for you? There’s nothing worse than planning for months, anticipating that perfect, relaxing, much valued vacation time – then showing up to a dump resort whose online photos have obviously been photo shopped; the cruise ship that doesn’t come close to what you had in mind; or the “beach” you and your kids were looking forward to that is now non-existent due to the latest hurricane. Travel agents know the questions to ask you to narrow down what would be the best bang for your buck and leave you with memories – of the good kind – to last a lifetime. Most travel agents also travel extensively, so they can give you firsthand knowledge of hotels, destinations and valuable personal experience.
- You know that great coupon travel deal you booked? Guess what happens when you experience travel challenges and call the 800 number…….you wait on terminal hold for the next available representative, only to be told there’s nothing they can do about you showing up and the resort is oversold and they have no room for you. Or how about that cruise and airfare you booked, and now your flight and every flight after it has been cancelled and you are going to miss the ship. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a travel agent you can call, who will pick up the phone and make the dozen phone calls and arrangements for you? In this day of airline mishaps it truly pays to have someone who has your back! A travel agent works for YOU. Believe me when I say we want your vacation to be fabulous.
- Travel agents attend training, seminars, classes and webinars all the time. Take advantage of us. Benefit from our knowledge!
- A travel agent can create a special itinerary with anything and everything YOU want to do. You don’t have to spend hours researching only to get stuck with a bargain that’s not really what you want.
- Travel agents should be using only dependable, reputable suppliers. You know that great hike you booked through a local in Peru that was a phenomenal bargain? What happens if they go out of business before you arrive and you have already paid in full? Yep, travel agents have that covered too.
- Have you ever had a medical emergency while on vacation? I hope not. But if you do, your travel agent can help you find the nearest medical assistance.
- Travel agents know the best times of the year for travel to different destinations that result in cheaper prices and smaller crowds.
- Travel agents are great when you need a group discount and coordination. We know the best properties for groups and the suppliers to work with. Do you need 5 or 10 rooms? You bet we can get a discounted rate!
- It’s just easier to use a travel agent. Enough said.
So the next time you are thinking about that weekend getaway, family vacation or dreading planning that upcoming family reunion, talk to some local travel agents. Find one that you think you can work well with. And then let them sweat the details while you take all the credit!
Thinking about a trip but don’t know where to find an agent? Check out our website at http://www.takeoffandgo.com for the latest deals and travel tips. And give us a call!