You: “Why should I use a travel agent when there are 1,000 sites to plan my own trip? Trivago, Travelocity, Kayak, etc…I’ve planned my own trip 100 times” or “Travel Agents cost money!”
Travel agent response: *deep breath*
- Those internet sites…
- First of all. Those are big businesses. The vacation packages that pop up might seem like a great deal, but, every single one of those vacation vendors has paid the internet host (expedia, travelocity, etc) to post their offers. Who is going to pay for that advertising? YOU. The consumer. By using the skills and services of a Travel Agent, you are supporting small (often home-based) businesses. I’ve heard time and time again from people that asked me for a quote and went on to book with an internet based company (no hard feelings), and they are shocked to discover the hidden fees tacked on to EVERYTHING.
- You are paying for a Travel Agent, whether you use one or not. You think you are getting the best deal possible (those sites depend on you feeling like you’ve walked away winning). I promise you -it’s still reflective of availability to utilize the FREE services of a Travel Agent.
- You are supporting a small business – for FREE
- A good agent will NEVER charge you a fee for planning assistance. The good ones will go above and beyond to save you money. To us, you are a human, likely a friend, (or you will be by the end of your planning experience). We CARE if you have a good time and enjoy your trip. Back to the small business aspect- by utilizing our skills and services, you are helping us put our kids in dance classes, music lessons, tai chi, trapeze class etc…Many home-based agents do this as a side job, or part-time job to help make ends meet.
- What does a Travel Agent do for you?
- We go above and beyond. I have hand delivered diapers, groceries, bed rails and strollers to resorts. I have also watched a client’s dog so they could enjoy their vacation after their town was severely affected by a hurricane.
- If you are a vacation pro, using an agent can be as simple as an email that says, “book me a trip on November 1st on Happy Cruise Line, here’s my credit card, I’ve cruised with them before, I’ll do the rest.” (The Unicorn Client). Or, an agent can plan everything for you, from whisking you out your front door in a limo to planning every dining reservation, excursion and tour and getting you home from the airport at the end. (The Normal Client – we love you just as much as your unicorn counterpart).
- Life is busy – super busy; between working, caring for your home and family, and just getting through every day…We take the stress out of planning. Your travel agent can plan every single detail of your trip. All you have to do is show up. Sometimes, it’s a great feeling to be “cared” for.
- You suggested (told) your husband he has to plan something special for the trip, but, he’s a husband – who can he call? YOUR TRAVEL AGENT! (Insert Ghostbuster theme music, but played by steel drums and in Jimmy Buffet’s voice).
- Your friends and family are tired of hearing you talk about your (mildly obsessive) vacation planning – you know who wants to talk about the difference between a 5:30 and a 5:45 dining reservation? THIS GIRL. All day.
- Many travel agents will also offer some kind of incentive with booking; like onboard credit for cruises or gift baskets to welcome you to your vacation. I’m also going to reiterate, WE SAVE YOU MONEY– we are always on the lookout for a better deal, an upgrade or some way to make your vacation more valuable.
- We have no shame. We will often call your vacation destination and blatantly ask for an upgrade for you. (shrug, no shame). We also might tell the front desk about what an incredible human you are and how awesome your family is, so they can keep the magic rolling.
- We are your advocate
- Something has come up and you need to make a change or cancel? You work full-time and have a life after work, (who lives like that?) Your Travel Agent spends on average of 3-hours on the phone, (listening to repetitive hold music), per client.
- You are having a less than magical vacation? We can start the line of communication with the proper channels to make it right, sometimes we even have a direct line to the General Manager of the resort.
- We have your best interests in mind.
- If you are a happy traveler you are going to tell your friends, your family, your hairdresser, your uber driver – We depend on word of mouth referrals. We go above and beyond to enhance your vacation in every way possible, down to tiny details you might not have thought of or even known about. If you “heard” about a great place that your friend visited and it looks amazing in pictures, and they had a great time – and after we’ve discussed your vacation dreams and wishes and it turns out that I think you might like another place better… I’m going to say something and present other ideas. For example. Your friend had a great time sitting in one spot on the beach, getting gorgeously tan while drinking mojitos for a week; and you tell me you want to do the same… but, you don’t like sand, sun, mojitos (blasphemy), or sitting on your butt on the beach… I’ll find you someplace YOU will enjoy.
- When you are talking about Disney ESPECIALLY… your friends, your family, your hairdresser, the mailman… ALL have a very passionate connection to the Disney Resort and parks. They will impress upon you repeatedly, the places you HAVE to go (HAVE TO!!!!). Your travel agent is a non-biased entity that is planning for YOU, and making sure that YOU are taking YOUR vacation.
- Traveling with a group?…We don’t mind being “the bad guy”
- You have a vision of your whole extended family; gloriously tanned and taking a smiling picture on a quiet beach, or in front of Cinderella’s glittery, sparkling castle…but, planning has turned into the fight scene from the Lion King as you try to plan during a family dinner… A travel agent is the referee to jump in the middle, hear everyone’s fantasy for vacation and mash them into one memorable experience for everyone…(and if your sister Becky is just dreaming way out of the box- your travel agent can be the one to reign her in).
- We are experts in our destination library.
- Odds are, your friendly neighborhood travel agent is up every night taking courses, learning about each destination in fine detail and also honing in on how to maximize your vacation. Also, dealing with different vendors,we have learned who is a good go-to, and who to avoid (the best vacation souvenir is memories, the worst vacation souvenir is bed bugs- we know who has them). We have the history of our past clients experiences at a resort, as well as our own. If we’ve had a negative experience there, we will steer you elsewhere.
- We have friends in adventurous places. You want to go to a remote destination that you have to backpack into and spelunk though a spider infested cave while bats swoop at your head… We know someone who can help us plan that. (But… we also might send you a beach flier… just in case you change your mind on the cave dwelling)….
- We plan several vacations per day!
- The average vacationer plans 1-2 vacations every year; we do that typically per day. We won’t overlook important details that sometimes vacationers overlook -like, transportation from the airport to your hotel… 5-hours away.
In conclusion… Travel Agents save you time, money, heartache, stress headaches and are the driving force setting your sails in the direction of some of the best memories of your life. These are the moments you’ll look back on in photos and remember spending as a newly married couple, your first family vacation, a giant family trip with grandparents – Make the (free!) investment in a Travel Agent, and all you have to do is make memories!
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