Valid question… and I do hear “Oh, I can just book that myself on (insert Online Travel Agency name (OTA) here- like Expedia, Kayak, Priceline)”. Yeah… you could book through those. But I’d like to tell you what travel agents bring to the table. Here are just a few of the reasons you should book with a travel agent.
- They perform countless hours of research… for you.
I have a client who wanted to have a spa weekend with a friend. So I took part of my day and researched about 40 different spas in the state. Then narrowed down the list and spoke with employees at the hotel and the spa. Then narrowed down the list some more. By the time I was finished, I had narrowed down to 3 spas within/under budget and knew which room at each resort to request, to accommodate my client’s friend who may have some mobility challenges when the spa weekend arrives… all this while she was at work.
And let’s face it… have you ever Googled “Puerto Vallarta hotels”??? I just did… there were 18,400,000 results. There’s a lot of information out there on the internet… that’s a big rabbit hole to go down!
- They are constantly getting education.
So in the first eight months of this year, I have taken (and passed!) 82 courses/tests… courses on different destinations, hotels, resorts, Disney, tours… I plan on taking many, many more…
Additionally, I am currently in the middle of earning my CTA (Certified Travel Agent certification) and my CCC (Certified Cruise Counselor certification) at the same time (!!!!!)… these certifications are like earning your CPA for accountants or your CFP for financial planners. Once earning these certifications, I will be required to do continuing education each year to maintain the certifications.
I work at gaining knowledge all… the… time…
I also do resort/hotel site inspections and cruise ship inspections… I get to know destinations… more knowledge to benefit YOU.
- If something happens, travel agents are on the phone working to fix it.
It’s April 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic is running rampant… cruise lines are cancelling itineraries left and right. One day, I was on the phone with a major cruise line- but I was on hold for 6 hours! I had 3 clients to take care of… a high school principal and his family, a lawyer and her family, and a stay-at-home mom and her family. I waited on hold… not them. The next day, I was on hold with another major cruise line for 4 hours for 2 clients.
Or how about when a resort “lost” a client’s reservation? When my clients arrived at a resort in Mexico, the resort said they didn’t have a reservation for them. My clients immediately gave me a call, I spoke with the resort and took care of it. Yes, there was a reservation and I had ALL of my paperwork in front of me. My clients even got a room upgrade for the inconvenience!
- They monitor the trip after everything is booked… just in case something changes.
Summer of 2020 I booked some flights for a client to visit her family… there’s a pandemic so everything is constantly changing. I checked the status of her flights each week, and knew that the airline had changed the times of the flights TWICE before they even called me to tell me about the change.
- Travel agents get paid from…
Believe it or not, you aren’t paying anything extra for using a travel agent. AFTER you travel, the hotels, cruise lines, the travel partners- they are the ones paying the travel agents. So money is coming back to a local family or a family you know, not going to a large company’s headquarters in another state. By using a travel agent, you could be helping to pay someone’s bills, karate classes, or a child’s college tuition.
So why book with a travel agent? We save you time… we could save you money… the value we bring to you is amazing! Give a travel agent a chance!
And always remember… the internet is for looking, a travel agent is for booking!