Who Needs a Travel Agent?


Introduction:

Hi!  Welcome to my little corner of blogland where I will give you travel tips, reviews and oh, well… why don’t I go CrAzY and just blog about anything travely that makes me go, “Hey! People should see this!”  How ’bout dah?

First, what makes me worthy of Travel Guru-ness?

When I was seven years old I saved my pennies to go to France and bought a French dictionary so I could teach myself (as terrible as it was) French. Love me for my love of travel, not my French skills.

As a teen, while my totally tubular, leg-warmer wearing, big-haired friends watched MTV, I was glued to the Travel channel.

As a result I’ve worked in the travel/tourism/hospitality industry since the late 1980’s. Some of my boasted employers include; Hyatt Regency, Funjet Vacations and Expedia, to name a few.  There’s practically no place in the world that I wouldn’t go. I’ve stayed in everything from European tent hostels, & cruises to All-inclusive resorts, rappelled waterfalls in Costa Rica, swam in the sacred cenotes in Mexico and have flown over the majestic Alaskan peaks.  I’m not even close to being finished!

Most recently I worked a Travel agent.  That’s right.  Travel agent.  A good many of you are asking, “Is there’s still such thing as a travel agent? Doesn’t everyone book things online these days?”

I’m glad you asked.  Why yes! Yes there are Travel agents, and you are correct!  Most people do most of their travel planning online.

Which brings me to my blog post…… *insert exciting drum roll here* Let’s add some hula dancers too!

Who should use a Travel Agent?

Wow!  You are such a good question asker!  Thanks for being such a wise and curious reader.  Who should use a Travel Agent?

  1.  You’re planning a big trip and you don’t know much about the area and/or haven’t traveled much.   The majority of Travel Agents work commission only. That means they are paid by the hotels, cruise lines and travel suppliers. You don’t have to pay a penny, unless the agency includes a fee.  That means you have a travel planner, for free! (or mostly free.) You can have confidence in advice from an experienced professional, and can give you insights on how to best travel this destination.  Since they Travel agents have access to different travel options and know where to look, plus they know the market is competitive, they are your best bet for getting the best possible price as well. Did I mention perks? Yeah, sometimes agents can add in perks as well.
  2. You’re taking a cruise for the first time and have no idea which ship is best for you. Not all cruise ships are created equal. They all have different target markets and different amenities. You could absolutely boogie-woody love one ship and have a snorefest another. Let a travel professional help you choose the cruise experience that is best for your desires and needs.
  3. You don’t have time or don’t like travel planning. Planning a wedding? Have kids? Heavy workload? too many irons in the fire? Just plain ‘ol don’t like planning trips?  why not have a travel professional do it for you? It costs little to nothing to use an agent, so, why not?But listen!STOP collaborate and LISTEN!!!!

    If you use an agent to do research, please respect their work PLEASE DEAR GOD PLEASE and do NOT be a jerk book the trip on your own. Agents are paid by commission only, meaning they are paid through hotels, cruise lines and other travel providers.  Would you like it if your boss made you do hours, days and even weeks of work for nothing outside of volunteering, a charity or mission work? Don’t lie  I didn’t think so. Not to mention, many agents can get you extra amenities or give “Thank you” gifts.  You could miss out on some cool extras.

Who should NOT use a Travel Agent?

  1.  Those who only want the cheapest thing out there.  Will agents give you the best value out there?  Yes.  They will make sure you get the best bang for your buck. However, “cheaper” is not always better.  Travel agents are there because of their love of travel and their experience and will do their dandy-bestest to make sure you get the right vacation that is right for you.  People who want the “cheapest” are usually the ones who make them do the most work, and since they are paid on commission only, that means the smallest pay.  If you want “cheap” then please do it yourself online.  Agents DO want to give their clients the best value possible, but we all cringe when people come in and say, “I want the cheapest vacation.”  It usually means lots more work for little pay and ultimately an unhappy client because they end up having a crappy time. We want to create spectacular vacations, not replicate what you can do online yourself.
  2. If you don’t trust your travel agent.  The Travel agent/client relationship thrives on trust.  If you can’t trust your agent, find another one or do it yourself. It’s no fun for anyone, so it’s best to move on.
  3. You’re not willing to respond to your Agent’s calls or e-mails.  I’ve witnessed terrible mess ups because the client wouldn’t return messages. I had one client that booked a cruise on his own (on-board booking standard practice) and he booked for Christmas the wrong year.  Yes Year!!!  The cruise line passed the booking to me, (since it was an on board booking and he was my client.)  He never responded to my calls and e-mails.  He ended up changing phone number and never updated me.  I had a hunch it was booked wrong, but he wouldn’t get back to me.  When I finally heard from him it was a week before he was supposed to leave did I mention it was over Christmas asking where his documents were.  I finally had to break the news to him that he booked the wrong date.  Thankfully I used my super-agent skills to get him and his family to an all-inclusive in Mexico instead, because all cruises were booked up. Because it was freaking Christmas  I ‘ve also had clients miss out on great deals because they didn’t correspond with me.   Too bad suckahs’! Take that for making me work for nothing!
  4. Those who are apart of a super cool Travel club.  Some clubs, such as Dream Trips does the planning for you and provides 4 and 5 star vacations at 2 and 3 star prices!  Plus, depending on your membership, you have access to your own booking engine with guarantees that you’re getting the best possible price.

Anyway, that’s the nuts and bolts of who should and should not use an agent.  I look forward to seeing you all in future posts!  Leave me a message and say “Hello!”

Below is me in Alaska, when Celebrity Cruise Lines invited me to experience their Alaskan cruise tour this past May.  Here I’m touring a place where iditarod puppies are born, trained and raised.  This one was born on May 5th. They were thinking of calling him Macho.

IMG_8011

 

Categories: Uncategorized

2 comments

  1. I was sooooo pleased with the condo you found for Jacob and me over Spring Break! Thanks a million!

    Like

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