Travel agents get a lot of funny responses when people find out what they do. The extremes range from those who think our job is completely obsolete to that one family member who keeps asking me to hook them up with a free cruise. Contrary to what some people think, we've put in our time and sweat in a challenging industry. Here are a few things you may not know about travel agents.
1. Travel agents are not extinct.
Many people are surprised to know that travel agents still exist and are, in fact, growing in demand. Approximately one-third of travel from the United States is booked through a travel agent and, according to ASTA, this route is considerably more popular among younger travelers. As the travel industry grows in complexity and diversity, travelers are recognizing the need for knowledgeable, up-to-date professionals to guide them through the planning process.
2. “Booking it yourself” is not as easy as it sounds.
Booking a vacation online sounds easy, but ultimately ends up costing travelers time and money they don’t anticipate. Many online booking sites are not upfront about hidden fees and regulations. Sorting out a change or booking mistake will often require travelers to spend hours on hold with a call center, finally reaching someone who really doesn’t care how their experience turns out. Travel agents are personally invested in making sure your trip goes smoothly. We are there to assist and advocate for our clients before, during, and after their trip.
3. Travel agents have access to deals and info that your clients don’t.
Travel agents work hard to establish relationships with your vendors so our clients can enjoy the benefits. The access we have to hotels and other travel suppliers is not something that can be bought; it develops through relationships, time, and experience. Suppliers are much more likely to cater to the needs (and maybe toss in some fun extras) of travelers booking through agents who have long-standing relationships with their brand.
4. Flexibility can help save.
Clients often come to us with some very specific parameters about their itinerary — dates, times, airlines, and airports. We know that departing one day earlier or later can make a difference of hundreds of dollars. Or that choosing an alternative airport can result in savings that surpass the cab fare to drive a little further. You work your best travel agent magic when your clients can clearly express their travel goals, but value your judgment on the specifics on how to reach them.
5. We are working even when we are on vacation
Every time I travel I'm scoping out hotels, restaurants, and local attractions. I ask questions, attend trade shows, and try every new experience available to make sure I can offer you the best recommendations.
6. We have our clients’ best interests in mind.
Many travelers mistakenly believe that travel agents will try to steer them towards packages and vendors that will give them the largest commission. Great travel agents want to develop long-term working relationships with their clients, designing vacations and travel experiences that always exceed expectations. If a travel agent is advising against a “cheap” option, it’s because we believe the discount is not worth the drop in quality or may cost you more in the long-run.
7. We love what you do. We don’t have some kind of secret “get rich quick scheme.” You work hard and love it! If you’re in this industry, you’re in it because you love travel and everything related. We are passionate about sharing our skills and knowledge and making our clients’ travel dreams come true!
Travel is almost at a stand still right now. We are waiting for things to open up just as you are. Please follow us on Facebook for the latest travel news.https://www.facebook.com/pg/petersontravelprosllc/posts/