How to get more value from travel agents
Travel Agents are more valuable than you think
Before 9/11, we looked to travel agents for knowledge and expertise and booked our travel experience with a lot more confidence than we do today. Now, everyone is a travel agent because everyone knows how to book travel online – we often refer to that as OTAs (online travel agents.)
Who are travel agents?
A Travel Agent’s current job description may read something like this:
A travel magician who will spend unlimited number of unpaid hours designing a perfect travel experience for travel consumers with no promise or commitment of a final sale
We often take vague requests such as “I want the least expensive all-inclusive travel package for travel May through July”
Be available 24-7 (again without any promise of a final sale or service fee)
Requests for 5-star packaging with an unreasonable budget
To be the end-to-end solution experts of travel. We replace Google and every travel question falls in our turf (again at no payment for our services or promise of sale)
I’m a Romance Travel Expert. I listen to your dreams and customize an experience that is based on your personal taste, lifestyle and budget. This design includes education, protection, value and follow-up.
Our job requires us to wear multiple hats
To serve you best, we must stay on the cutting edge of technology and marketing so that we can share our message with you. This is a huge investment of time and money.
We must also invest in our education of destinations, resorts, tours and other amenities which again means a huge investment of time and money. But, how can we match you up with the ideal package if we have no knowledge of them personally?
Because we care about you and your travel experience, the investment is worth it.
We are Entrepreneurs
We must also invest in sophisticated communication equipment and processes. We are small business owners who are making a huge financial and time investment, so we can design your travel experience as well as bring you the best in service and communication (again without at no payment for our services.)
Contrary to popular belief, travel agents are NOT well compensated. We are in the travel business because it is our passion not because of the money we make in commissions. Truth be told, the number of hours in research and service may result in a net loss instead of net profit.
Lookers and Shoppers
Most consumers are looking to be served and there’s nothing wrong with that. I bring my feelings as a consumer into the way I run my business. But just as we have varying levels of service, we have varying levels of demands and expectations.
In the travel industry, the most common expectation is for travelers not to pay a service fee for our unlimited hours of service. It’s also the expectation that we will find the cheapest deal in the shortest amount of time, answer every question as well as prepare you for travel. Many times, a travel shopper may be working with multiple agents in the hopes of seeing who will bring in the lowest price.
Service is important to every consumer – I’m a consumer as well. When we partner together, I’m committed to designing the experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life. If you’re looking for a true partner, then we are a perfect match. If you’re looking for someone who will merely find you the best deal in the shortest amount of time or charge no service fees, then we are clearly not suited to work together.
Let us know what you think about working with a travel agent.