Have you ever wondered if there is any benefit to working with a travel agent? I recently had someone ask me why they should hire a travel agent, when they can just go online and find cheap prices to great vacation spots. My answer to him: Yes, sometimes you can find great deals, and yes sometimes you'll even find the cheapest price in town. However, travel agents offer something different. Value.
Today, I'm pulling back the curtain on travel agents (TA), so you can see for yourself how working with one offers you VALUE, making your vacation smoother and most importantly, STRESS FREE.
1. Your Time Is Precious: Did you know it takes the average person 40 hours to plan their vacation? (And don't let it be a Disney vacation, which takes WAY more time than that!) TA's make all the phone calls and wait on "phone-hold," sometimes for hours, just so YOU don't have to experience this colossal waste of time. Isn't time your most precious commodity? Then why waste it chasing after the latest deal, which by the way, usually results in information overload, overwhelm and confusion.
2. Knowledge Is Power: TA's know the ins-and-outs of travel destinations, and will set you up with the best accommodation for your circumstances. Not only do we have more research tools, we have connections to properly research a destination. We completely vet every single hotel/resort where we send our clients and only chose reputable companies.
3. Latest Information: The travel industry changes all the time, and it's our job to keep up with the latest trends and information. (As a travel expert, I work hard to get different accreditation to increase my qualifications. I attend all sorts of webinars, seminars, FAM trips, and classes to prepare myself for trip requests just like yours.) We also have resources the average person doesn't have...things you just won't find on Google. So when you use a TA, you can feel safe knowing your travel arrangements will follow all the proper guidelines and protocols.
4. Custom-Made Vacation: TA's create custom-made vacations just for YOU. Not something that's prepackaged, pulled off a shelf, or created for the masses (which is what you get from those BIG impersonal booking engines, that send everyone on the same "cookie-cutter" vacation).
TA's have the knowledge and expertise to help you find your happy place. We know all the right questions to ask to set you up on the vacation of your dreams. Sometimes the hardest of part of planning your vacation is deciding where to go. If you want to swim with dolphins in Hawaii, or stay in a beach house in the OBX with a personal chef, or visit a jungle hut in Nilgiri foothills, then hiring a TA is your best bet.
5. You're Paying For The Service: Did you know every time you book a trip on your own, through Expedia, Orbitz, Travelosity, etc., you're paying for the services of a travel agent? These services include researching destinations, quoting prices, booking hotels & flights, building custom itineraries, scheduling car rentals, making reservations, booking excursions & arranging transfers to and from the airport. When you use a TA for all of these services, you don't pay a dime more than if you booked the trip yourself online. The cost of our commission is already included in the cost you pay, whether you use a TA or not. So essentially if you're booking your vacations online, then you're paying for services you're not receiving!
6. Peace of Mind: Many TA's track their clients' flight schedule before, during and after their flight, making sure the plane is scheduled to depart and arrive on time. (I do this behind the scenes without my clients even knowing because I want to stay ahead of any potential trouble with reservations being missed). Working with a TA means you relax on your vacation while they double check reservations, pre-arranged transfers and any excursions you may have booked. You get peace of mind knowing that you have an advocate in your pocket ready, willing, and able to handle any situation that comes up. And things do come up! (Ask me how I know!)
7. Small Deposit: Many times when you use a TA, you don't have to come up with the entire balance, like you do with online booking engines. You simply put down a small deposit and pay when you want, (or monthly) up until the final payment is due. How's that for flexibility!
8. The Internet Won't Have Your Back: TA's answer your texts, emails and phone calls, no matter where you are on the planet and no matter what time you call. That's just part of our good customer service relations. But, last time I checked, online booking engines don't answer the phone. (Just saying)
9. When Things Go Wrong: A TA is there for you when something goes wrong while on your vacation. They'll step in and act as your personal concierge to fix the issue. What happens when you miss your flight, loose your passport oversees, or are left helplessly stranded overnight at an airport because of a delayed or cancelled flight. Or what happens if the airline you're scheduled to use goes on strike or bankrupt while you're traveling. TA's work to find alternate travel arrangements while you continue relaxing at your hotel. We are your biggest advocate, and you can think of us as your own VIP service.
10. Small Details Matter: When you check into your resort or hotel, you just might find a little gift waiting for you on your pillow, compliments of your TA. It could be a bottle of wine, chocolate covered strawberries, a fruit basket, a spa credit, or even early check-in. However, you certainly won't receive anything when you use booking engines!
Also when you return home from your vacation, do you have a welcome home postcard waiting in the mail? If you used an online booking engine, you won't. But if you use a travel agent, like me, I always look forward to sending welcome home cards to my clients. Sometimes it's about the small details!
I hope I have convinced you about the value of a travel agent. I also hope that maybe one day we can work together on your getaway. For those who have allowed me to plan and book their highly customized family vacation or anniversary getaway, I am truly honored. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
To Your Greatest Travels,
Kimberly is the owner of Travel Kimestry. Her areas of expertise include The Bahamas, The Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe and ALL THINGS DISNEY. She’s passionate about working with families who enjoy traveling the world. She looks forward to working with YOU soon!