Why should I use a Travel Professional?
Today, with the overwhelming number of sources for travel information (the Internet, cable television, newspapers, magazines, guidebooks, etc.), it's no wonder the consumer is confused. Yet that's precisely why the services of a professional travel consultant are more valuable than ever.
In January, the television news magazine, 20/20, reported the results of a test in which travel agents beat consumers at uncovering the best airfares. However, it is much more than the "lowest fare" that provides the compelling argument for a good travel agent.
The best thing an agent can do is to match up a traveler with the vacation that's right for them. The professional travel consultant builds relationships with their clients to learn their interests and lifestyles, as well as their dispositions.
Below is a list of some of the important services provided by travel professionals:
1. Who are you going to Call?
If you have a problem with a particular part of your travel experience, the agent is there to act on your behalf to see that restitution is made.
What would you do if the hotel has lost your reservation? What would you do if the car rental agency has run out of cars? Specifically, who are you going to call? Who's going to help you? The hotel? The car rental company? They don't care. You're just one person. Losing you as a guest or a customer is no big deal. Basically, you're on your own. About all you can do is hit the streets and hope that something comes up...
If you book through a travel agent, all you have to do is make one simple phone call. And everything will be taken care of. Will the hotel assist your agent? Will the car rental company assist your agent? Of course they will, because now they're dealing with someone who has the potential to send either hundreds of guests, or no guests at all. From a purely business perspective, a travel agency can send thousands of dollars (or even tens of thousands of dollars), or no dollars at all...
2. It is not just about price
You look to travel agents to provide the best overall solution to your individual travel needs. By asking tons of questions up front, an agent can provide a relevant needs assessment. This can include dates, quality or location of accommodation or stateroom, cancellation policy, recreational amenities, the ease of doing business, etc. No two customers are alike. What works for one may not work for another.
3. Show me the Money (I saved)
Saving money is not just about price. It is more about value. If the hotel was not the right location, if the cruise line was not the right cruise line, if the golf course was not the right golf course. It does not matter how much you saved. One can save a ton of money and be miserable or spend a little more to be in heaven. A travel agent can recommend relevant offerings and also provide cost saving strategies. Moving a date, changing the location of a room/cabin, being open to flight options, etc., all can save money. Nobody wants to pay more than necessary so an agent will help you find the best value without the sacrifices of a cheap trip.
4. I already have a Job!
If you have an agent that you trust, then you don't need to spend what little free time you have, scouring the web, trying to piece everything together-- flights, cars, rooms, etc. In addition, your agent might be working with transfer and car rental companies that you simply don't have access to, and in many cases, even hotels and airlines that you don't have access to. An agent is someone who has taken the time and made the commitment to be the best so you don't have to make planning your vacation a second job!
Travel agents, unlike instructions on a web page, are experts in understanding and deciphering the myriad of travel information out there. It is what they have been trained to do and they do it every day.
And...just to clear up any misconceptions about how travel agents operate...we do not use the same online vacation providers the public can access and then add a service fee...commissions come from the suppliers, not the clients! Agents can meet any offers you will find online and sometimes even beat them!!!