Life today seems automatic. With the advances in technology many of life’s chores have become automated. Cars are built by machines, phones are answered by computer generated voices that can respond to our voices, and your very own phones are automated. The human has been taken out of everything and everyone seems to be jumping on the band wagon to do it yourself. The travel industry is not immune to this electronic trend with the birth of the online travel agency. The birth of them along with the vast information now available on the world wide web has led many individuals ready to escape believe that travel agents, now preferred to be called travel advisors or consultants, have gone wayside. While searching for destinations, hotels, flights, and more has become easily accessible, it is important to understand that navigating the vast amount of options available for a single destination without an advisor or consultant is difficult at best, and often results in a disastrous vacation.
Below you will find the top seven reasons why you should work with a travel expert.
Access to Suppliers
Yes, it’s true the internet is amazing and has tons of information at your fingers’ disposal. More information than you could consume in a lifetime. That said, it’s guaranteed that any travel expert will have direct access and relationship with the suppliers no matter the mode of travel. It’s a guarantee, especially for an expert who specializes in a specific type of client, travel or destination, that they will have advance notice or access to things not on the websites or that have not been updated yet. As such, experts that get to know their clients can keep a watch list for when these specials become available and notify you in advance based on your travel preferences.
However, while access to the suppliers is great, it is important to realize that the value of an expert goes well beyond our initial search for the right fit for you. Indeed, any one of the benefits on the list below would be enough to justify hiring an expert. Put all of them together, and you’ve got a precious gem
Savings? Hold up
The main excuse for going without a travel expert is that doing so will save money. Indeed, you may find a cheap bargain online and assume you are “to the good” keeping money in your pocket by not paying a consultants’ fee. It is certainly possible a good vacation can be had by taking things into your own hands, it has often proved to be not the case with clients calling after the fact wanting an expert to help fix the bad situation they got themselves into. Generally, an expert will take a very small percentage as an upfront fee to cover time, research, and intellectual property while receiving most of their compensation from supplier commissions which add no additional cost to your vacation package, only the value of the guidance and care you will receive. Not to mention experts often have access to additional amenities or can make special requests that you can’t do online yourself.
All in all, you probably won’t save a whole lot of money by booking your vacation yourself without an agent, and it’s likely that you’ll end up paying more or having less, as you won’t have an expert around to help you secure the best value for your budget.
While some of us wilt when it comes to asking for extras, travel experts are trained in the art of building relationships. Our travels and attendance at industry events lets them build one on one relationships directly with the tourism boards, hotels, cruises, tour operators, and more. Their belief in cultivating an environment rich on knowledge and building direct contacts in their areas of expertise only deepens their benefit of getting you the best value and experience for your dollar. All in all, you can rely on a consultant to navigate the sea of options out there to secure you the best value and experience.
While there is no 100% guarantee that an agent won’t be what they advertise, it is highly unlikely. Why? Travel agencies and their advisors pursue the best outcome for their clients, not for themselves, due to various seller of license requirements among states and error and omission insurance requirements. The travel industry has predominantly built on word of mouth and referrals. And, we all know how one bad review can ruin a reputation. Therefore, you can count that most experts are working on your behalf to provide you an experience you will never forget.
Did you know all vacation packages come with documents? Did you also know, unless you hire a travel expert, you will be doomed to figure out exactly what you need to print and have for your travel destination? Do you need a passport? Are visas required? Do I need proof of marriage? Does the destination have travel alerts? These are all questions that your travel expert will be on top of before you travel to make sure you have the right items in hand. Travel experts will take the time to answer questions and go over any special instructions or needs for your vacation package so there are no surprises. Showing up to the airport or arriving in your destination without the necessary paperwork will certainly leave a bad taste in your mouth and often ruin your entire trip.
Travel advisors make it their business to develop and cultivate a robust professional network. We already mentioned their connection with suppliers, but it goes beyond. They cultivate within their own competitors, developing relationships with other travel experts and agency owners. Using the depth of their network to increase their base knowledge, but the good ones will actually refer you out to one of their connections if they feel you would be better served by another expert. The best experts have built a network of industry partners to fill in the spaces so they have the best resources for all destinations only a call or email away.
Last but certainly not least, a travel expert provides a wealth of advice vital to the vacation experience. Each client and each vacation experience is unique. An advisor will use their knowledge, experiences, past client feedback, and industry relations to build you the ideal escape. The advice begins from the initial contact, through the building of the package, suggestions while in destination, and through follow-up upon your return. The best advising and the most important bonus of using an expert, the one they hope you never have to use, is advice in a crisis. They are there to weather any storm, mishap, or worse when it comes to your vacation.
As you can see, it’s always advantageous for you to work with a travel expert. With an expert you have a human who cares to turn to.