Why Use a Travel Agent?

use a travel agent

We hear it all the time and maybe you’ve said it yourself: “Why should I use a travel agent? I can book my own travel online.” True, prospective travelers can research virtually anything on the internet and actually, we do recommend doing a little self-study when you’re planning a trip. But as experienced travelers know, the services of a professional travel agent are invaluable. Here’s why:

8 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

Time Savings – Shopping for the best travel values, comparing features and benefits, and vetting supplier quality is downright grueling for an individual. Studies show that 20% of DIY travelers spend over five hours researching and planning their trips. Travel advisors have the tools and resources to sort through the myriad of travel options to narrow the field for you. And then during the reservation process, we attend to hundreds of details from transportation to tee times – so you can spend those five hours perfecting that golf swing!

Insider Connections – Travel agents have the influence to obtain special privileges that individuals simply can’t access. We develop insider connections through professional affiliations such as Virtuoso and BCD memberships, as well as global relationships born from industry networking and previous booking history. We can often confirm sold out hotel rooms or get VIP lounge access. We can arrange private museum showings, a personal vineyard tour by the estate owner, or tickets for the hottest show in town. Travel agents have clout!

Cutting edge – Just as a fashionista knows what’s in vogue, travel agents know the latest scoop on new properties, the best deals, what’s hot and what’s not. We know if a travel provider is experiencing service issues and which hotels are undergoing construction so we can steer you away from potentially poor experiences. We stay abreast of new travel innovations, products and vendors, and know when emerging destinations are drawing attention. It’s our business to know travel trends!

Complimentary Amenities – There’s a difference between cost and value. Accommodations, tours, cruises and air travel can be found at a range of prices, depending on quality and inclusions. But travel agents often include added value at no additional cost. Special amenities might include room upgrades, food and beverage credits, a complimentary spa treatment, wine and flowers in your room, early check in and late check out, or a host of other special touches. Travel agents add value to your trip!

Expertise and Knowledge – Professional travel advisors tend to be well-traveled themselves and have in-depth knowledge of world destinations, activities and cultures. Personal experiences as well as ongoing training give us a wealth of knowledge that we use to help travelers discern their own travel desires. Travel is not only our job, it’s our passion. We are immersed in it and have vast resources to draw on. The best part? Travel advisors love to share their accumulated expertise!

Personalized Service – In today’s technology-infused world, some tasks like banking and shopping can be accomplished online, but designing a complex trip benefits from interacting with a real person. You can’t get that online. Travelers can ask questions, get advice and develop a professional relationship with their travel advisor – just as they would with their accountant or mechanic. Every traveler has different interests, needs and budgets, so we get to know a traveler’s personal style to plan their dream vacation.

Trip customization – Today’s traveler increasingly wants independence from a cookie-cutter tour. They want to pursue individual interests and to engage with the local culture through special experiences to make the trip unique and memorable. They may want a romantic dinner on the beach, to accompany a local chef for market shopping or a private city tour with an historian guide. Individuals rarely have the contacts to arrange these exclusive events, but a well-connected travel agent can make those arrangements in a snap!

Safety Net – It’s an unfortunate truth that unforeseen events can interrupt the best laid travel plans. It might be a flight delay that risks missing your cruise, a hotel room that doesn’t meet your expectations or an emergency that cuts the trip short. Having a travel agent to troubleshoot relieves stress in a rough situation. We use our clout and connections to handle problems so you don’t have to stand helplessly in line while your blood pressure spikes. Travel agents are fixers!

Why use a travel agent? Planning flawless travel is a complex task that requires expertise, creativity, industry connections, attention to detail and plenty of time. Professional travel agents spend years honing their skills so they can create customized trips for their clients that surpass expectations. Our greatest joy is when a traveler returns and says, “Thanks for planning our trip of a lifetime! We couldn’t have done it without you.”

The real question is, “Why would you not use a travel agent?”

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Comments

  1. What a great article and great timing. So many people have had trip interruptions due to the weather this season. What a good time to remind them who is out here helping things go smoothly.

  2. Thanks for the useful info, but how can we know that some travel agent is the right guy for the job? Is there a some kind of selection process where travel agent must meet some expectations to work in this field?

    • Hi Mark, that’s a very good question. Choosing a travel advisor is much like choosing any professional, such as your accountant or doctor. First, you want to know that they have the necessary knowledge to provide the services you need. There are various designations, such as Certified Travel Consultant (CTC), Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC), and Master Cruise Counselor (MCC), that require rigorous course work and testing. Travel Advisors can also obtain specialization certifications from a number of destinations and even specific vendors such as Disney or Sandals. No one person can possibly be an expert in EVERYTHING, so you want to find out if your prospective advisor is knowledgeable about the destination or type of travel you’re interested in, i.e., adventure travel, destination weddings, cruising, tropical all-inclusives, etc.

      Secondly, it’s really important that you feel comfortable with your advisor and develop a rapport with one another. Do they listen to your travel needs? Do they make suggestions to enhance your trip? Are you comfortable discussing your budget with them? Most advisors are happy to provide an initial consultation at no charge to find out your needs and to discuss their fees and how you can work together. Your travel advisor should be someone you trust and like because travel is so individualistic.

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