Since opening a storefront agency, I have fielded many questions as to what the benefits are of using a travel agent in an internet-based society.
There are many benefits to using a travel agent, from saving time and money to providing special perks and upgrades. Today, agents are more popular than ever and playing a key role in the continued growth of the travel and tourism industry. If you're questioning calling an agent, consider some of these reasons before going at it alone.
Travel agents take care of every aspect of your trip, from your flights and hotel to ground transportation and excursions. Therefore, clients can be organized without having to stress over the planning process. It is so nice to arrive at the airport in Paris (totally jetlagged), and as you walk out of baggage claim a person is waiting with your name on a sign to whisk you away to your hotel. The language barrier is not a factor because they have already been given specific instructions on where to deliver you and it is all pre-paid in US dollars.
A common misconception is that using a travel agent will cost you more than if you booked your trip yourself. WRONG! Agents have access to the best deals because they deal with wholesalers that are the bread and butter for most resorts and hotels, therefore getting rates based on volume, not to mention the expertise of knowing which hotels to refer you to.
Travel agents do the work for you, saving you invaluable time along with the headaches of scouring the Internet for travel deals. They have access to all the specials and when the best deals are running. Plus, you're more likely to look forward to your trip when you haven't been left disenchanted with the planning process.
Using a travel agent provides you with unparalleled peace of mind as agents are available to assist clients before, during and after their trip. In the event something does go wrong, your agent will be an invaluable resource. They can help you in the event of a flight cancellation, an accident occurrence, baggage loss, and many other problems.
Travel agents are extremely knowledgeable because they are travel experts. In addition to being well-informed about destinations around the globe and having visited many themselves, agents can offer travel tips to help you along the way, whether revealing airport hacks or the best off-the-beaten-path restaurants in your destination.
Travel agents have been there, done that. They have visited the areas and resorts and know what to recommend for you. Many times, they get to know the managers of the resorts and can request special room upgrades and VIP treatment. It is hard for one to call a resort and say, “Hey, I am a VIP, you need to treat me like a king!” Whereas- an agent can call managers and ask for the moon for their “VIP client!” Agents can craft your ideal itinerary and personalize your experience by putting their knowledge, contacts and own experiences to work. They'll know what you can expect ahead of time and can make special requests on your behalf.
Travel agents are real people so you can travel confidently knowing you won't be relying on a hard-to-reach customer service center or an irritating automated sequence in the event you have questions or need assistance. They also know to tell you important facts about VISA requirements and passport information. A lot of online travel deals can appear too good to be true and many are. Run, don’t walk away when you see the qualifying words: “As low as….” For a cruise- that means the worst season and the worst room category. For land trips, it means the flight is a red-eye. Working with a travel agent ensures that you won't be the victim of a scam or deceived in any way. You are given the bottom line best price that includes all taxes and fees and explained exact room categories and flights.
A good travel agent will talk with you for a while to get to know you. They will listen for certain clues that give away your travel preferences. Are you the type that likes minimalistic accommodations and peaceful surroundings or do you prefer total luxury and feel the need to be pampered? Do you like a party atmosphere or a quiet and secluded haven? Better yet, a good agent has been to all these different types of properties and understands the entire vibe that would suit you perfectly.
A travel agent is passionate about travel and can inspire you to visit destinations you've never heard or dreamed of. Travel agents are globally connected, and clients can take advantage of those connections in the form of exclusive deals, experiences and service in and around their destination.
Last, but certainly not least, is the fact that you should DEFINITELY give your local agency a chance to match or beat any prices you may come up with – because you are getting more than just a hotel room and flight, you are getting an experienced person to help you through all aspects of your trip.
The Classy Travel Blog is a great way to educate yourself; Not only with travel tips and tricks, but also with insight on all of the Classy Destinations around the world.