In our unstable and ever-changing world, savvy travellers are seeking out the guidance and assistance of Professional Travel Advisors. Yes, they do charge a fee, but then, don’t all professionals? So what do you get for your money that you don’t get by booking online or direct with a supplier? Let’s take a closer look at the world of travel and the realities today.
Agents advocate on your behalf: We always knew that travel was fraught with perils, such as delayed, cancelled or missed flights, natural disasters, terrorism threats, unexpected changes in itinerary, or lost reservations … sorry not meaning to scare you off travel. Advisors spend a great deal of time developing relationships with tourism suppliers so they can reach out to key people at hotels, airlines, tour operators, insurance companies (even after hours) to talk to the people who can help make things right for you. Even when things went horribly wrong at the beginning of the pandemic, travel advisors were on the phone bringing clients home, cancelling and changing existing reservations – that alone was worth the service fee most initially charged. Did you know that travel advisors don’t get paid the majority of their commission until after you travel? That means they have worked hours, and yes, sometimes even a year or two out, on your behalf without pay to make sure you are safe and have peace of mind. W Travel advisors, such as myself, are dedicated to our profession and our clients – unlike an Internet booking sight.
Agents have travel knowledge and expertise: Good travel advisors invest time taking courses and furthering their knowledge about destinations and reputable suppliers. They are generally well-travelled and have learned firsthand about the vast array of products and services available in any given destination. Advisors will consult their colleagues and reach out directly to suppliers for answers they may not have. Online research can be overwhelming with all the offers, incentives, and hidden costs. Most often, travel advisors can find rates equal to or better than what you would find online. Professional Travel Advisors are affiliated with larger companies who can offer you added amenities not available to the general public. Want additional resort credits? Early check-in/check-out privileges? Complimentary room upgrades? Breakfast included? Travel advisors can ask on your behalf. Customizing your travel plans to meet your needs and expectations is the mark of excellence.
Agents look after the total package: Travel advisors take care of you from the moment of your first interaction, through to when you step outside your door and return home and even afterwards in follow up calls. They will customize your experience; help guide you in the complicated issue of travel insurance; arrange added amenities (such as a tea ceremony in your ryokan, a golf lesson with a major pro, or private transfers when you arrive at your destination). Professional travel advisors are like having your own personal travel concierge. Why would you not use them!
Selecting the right Travel Advisor for you: Generally you will find a professional travel advisor the same way as most people would find a doctor, accountant, aesthetician – by referral, online referral networks or meeting them in business/social situations. It’s in your right to interview a travel advisor before deciding to use them. Look at the whole picture. Do they have a professional looking website? Are they licensed? Do they have professional designations? Awards? Some travel professionals limit their customer database or work primarily on referral basis only so as to give the best service to each and every one of their clients.
As a professional in the travel industry for over 35 years, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly, yet I still feel blessed every day to work on behalf of my clients curating their travel dreams. Professional Travel Advisors are worth the small investment in YOU!