Travel agents are STILL providing great value in saving travelers both time and money. See below for five compelling reasons of why you still need a travel agent for your next trip.
- Price and Payment Plans! I used to be SUPER SKEPTICAL! When considering using a travel agent. But for one particular trip in 2010, I researched and researched to try to beat a travel agent’s deal but to no avail. Also, travel agents offer payment plans. Payment plans ‘lessen’ the expense. You can choose to pay on your trip every month, similar to your electric bill, or you can wait it out until the final payment is due. Would you buy a house in cash or take out an interest-free mortgage? It just makes sense to take that interest-free payment plan!
- Groups! If you’ve ever hosted a group trip, you are aware of how much of a pain it is to ARRANGE travel with others. Let’s just be honest – you want the benefit of a fun girlfriends or guyfriends trip, but who actually enjoys being the planner, collecting the money, customizing each person’s itinerary, making arrangements with the hotel for a group discount, etc? For the smoothest group trips with increased engagement and participation, set a date and group budget, and then contact a travel agent to keep the group organized and on task. Let them do the grunt work! And for those guests that are first-time international travelers who need their hands held slightly tighter– the travel agent will have them well-prepared for their getaway!
- Resources! Travel agents have resources and relationships with hotels, their suppliers, and airliners. While you have the internet at your fingertips, a seasoned travel agent can find and create cheaper flight/hotel packages rather than booking a la carte or through third party tour companies. As a travel agent, I am able to travel quite frequently. For the past five years, I have focused my attention on all inclusive vacations and Cruise vacations. I take roughly three trips per year and I am able to recommend the most suitable resorts for my clients based on my first hand experiences. I often revisit my favorite resorts, building a rapport with key personnel, which allows my clients to have an even better experience upon arrival.
- Human interaction! Have you ever tried to call a third party booking site? Or an airliner? God forbid, you need to make a change – contacting larger tour operators and airliners is a hassle! When you book with a travel agent, they are your main point of contact. You can email them directly, text them, call them, see them (if you’d like). It’s much easier dealing with one trustworthy person that you can hold accountable, rather than being at the mercy of an 800 # where the representative is having a bad day and not at all empathetic to your needs.
- Get your time back! Do you know much time can be spent researching a well-thought vacation? Hours and hours! I’m not talking about a quick domestic weekend trip. I’m talking about a cruise or an overseas vacation to an unfamiliar destination. There are so many considerations when taking great vacations – flight times, hotel quality, hotel location, cruise type, transportation to and from the airport, entertainment options, hotel amenities, and then there is price. People underestimate the time that agents spend researching the combination of things that are important for guests to have a great experience. Find a good travel agent and tell them exactly the vibe that you’re seeking for your trip. A great agent will make it happen for you and within your budget, if it’s reasonable!
Final disclaimer: Ok, let’s be real! Travel agents don’t have a magic wand. They can’t sell you a dream. You must have a realistic budget and realistic expectations. But I am generally more convenient and cost effective!