Seven Things Travel Agents Want Their Clients to Understand:
1. Travel agents are not extinct.
Many people are surprised to know that travel agents still exist and are, in fact, in demand. Approximately one-third of travel from the United States is booked through a travel agent and, according to the American Society of Travel Agents, this route is considerably more popular among younger travelers.
As the travel industry grows in complexity and diversity, travelers are recognizing the need for knowledgeable, up-to-date professionals to guide them through the planning process.
2. “Booking it yourself” is not as easy as it sounds.
Booking a vacation online sounds easy, but ultimately ends up costing travelers time and money they don’t anticipate. Many online booking sites are not upfront about hidden fees and regulations. Sorting out a change or booking mistake will often require travelers to spend hours on hold with a call center, finally reaching someone who really doesn’t care how their experience turns out.
Travel agents are personally invested in making sure your trip goes smoothly. They are there to assist and advocate for your clients before, during, and after their trip.
3. They have access to deals and info that you don’t.
Travel counselors work hard to establish relationships with their vendors so their clients can enjoy the benefits. The access agents have to hotels and other travel suppliers is not something that can be bought; it develops through relationships, time, and experience.
Suppliers are much more likely to cater to the needs (and maybe toss in some fun extras) of travelers booking through agents who have long-standing relationships with their brand.
4. Flexibility can help save.
Travelers often come up with some very specific parameters about their itinerary — dates, times, airlines. An experienced travel counselor knows that departing one day earlier or later can make a difference of hundreds of dollars. They work their best travel agent magic when the customer can clearly express their travel goals, but value their judgment on the specifics on how to reach those goals.
5. They are working even when on vacation.
Every time travel counselors travel, they’re scoping out hotels, restaurants, and local attractions. They ask questions, attend trade shows, and try every new experience available to make sure they can offer their best recommendations.
6. They have their clients’ best interests in mind.
Many travelers mistakenly believe that travel agents will try to steer them towards packages and vendors that will give them the largest commission.
Great travel agents want to develop long-term working relationships with their clients, designing vacations and travel experiences that always exceed expectations. If a travel agent is advising against a “cheap” option, it’s because they believe the discount is not worth the drop in quality or may cost you more in the long-run.
7. They love what you do ... really.
Travel agents work hard and love what they do. The really good agents are in this industry because they love travel and everything related. They’re passionate about sharing their skills and knowledge and making your travel dreams come true.