Fun Fact! When I decided to enter the travel industry I had never used a travel agent/advisor. In fact, it was because of my antiquated views of the field that led me to become a travel advisor.
Growing up my mom used a travel agent, who ironically was my third-grade teacher. She’d make a call to book a cruise my mom had already picked from a brochure and then Ms. Brown would book the trip for my mom. It was, in my viewpoint, an order taker role with not much creativity attached to it.
My introduction to travel planning for myself was to spend HOURS researching the destination, the culture, the food, and the adventures. I mean it is time-consuming. But I love it. It couples my analytical brain with my creative brain. This is the service that I wanted to bring to people who either don’t love that type of work or simply don’t have the time to commit to that level of research.
Little did I know that the type of advisor I wanted to be existed. It was just an example of “you don’t know, what you don’t know – till you know that you don’t know it.” Not only that, I didn’t know that a travel advisor could not only give me my dream-style vacation but can often do it for the same price with added perks. WHAT???
Yes! So for those of you still questioning the use of an advisor. This is my attempt to enlighten you.
Save time and hassle. A Travel and Leisure article estimated it takes 26 plus hours to plan a vacation. I’d
guess that it is more when it is an unfamiliar destination.
The internet is vast, and while that is great, there really isn’t anyone out there patrolling all the sights and vetting services for you. Truthfully, how many of you have been a victim of an Instagram influencer to only end up with a less than stellar product?
A travel advisor is well connected. They know the options far better than most. That coupled with the advisor being the one to sit on hold, check fares, prices, and the lot – that should be the deal-winner alone – but wait, there’s more.
There’s the notion that you can book it yourself for less with travel-related search sites. While that may be true I wanted to reference bullet one again. Everything on the internet isn’t always as it appears. Is that picture-perfect house on the beach in Puerto Rico as dreamy as it appears? I had to learn that lesson the hard way, and I’ll share that story one day with you.
A travel advisor protects your precious vacation dollars. In most cases, they’ve been there, seen the resorts, and know the locations. By getting to know the client, an advisor can match a client with the right experience. It’s a shame to waste money on the wrong vacation, even if it is a great deal.
Maybe bargain hunters aren’t best served with an advisor, but travelers who appreciate the value in dollars spent certainly are.
There is the misconception that you will pay more. Travel advisors are making money but you aren’t paying it. Travel advisors make a commission off of the trips they plan and in most cases, a good travel advisor will charge a planning fee. However, this doesn’t mean you will be paying more. The fee that is charged by the advisor is often made up in the perks he or she is able to deliver to you, like automatic upgrades or credits. These perks are a benefit the advisor has through the relationships built with travel suppliers. Bottom line is that DIY travelers don’t have access to these benefits.
If anything these past few years have shown us, that we have to be prepared for the unexpected, and traveling during a pandemic can be complicated. Advisors are well-informed and watch out for their clients. They know the protocols to enter countries and more importantly, protocols to get you home.
Additionally, the traveling public has relearned the value of travel insurance. If you aren’t prepared to lose the investment you’ve made in your vacation, you should always purchase travel insurance.
Best of all, a travel advisor serves as the one-stop, one-number resolution to any issues that should arise. You don’t have to worry about calling the airline, the hotels, the tour operators – your travel advisor is going to take care of you.
Think of all the services you already pay for. The professionals in your life that you wouldn’t dream of letting anyone less qualified handle: financial planner, lawyer, dentist, hairstylist, auto mechanic, electrician, or plumber.
Trust a travel advisor. Then all you have to do is pour a glass of wine, pack a bag, find a dog sitter and daydream the days away excitedly awaiting your adventure.