Between weather delays, natural disasters, flight cancellations, lost luggage and much more, a lot can happen on vacation. Travel agents act as the traveler’s advocate in the event something goes wrong, helping navigate the challenge of making any necessary itinerary changes.
«As travel agents, we have seen it all,» Troy said. «While the traveler may have never had to deal with a weather delay, we have. We know the details and the best way to handle the situation. We can talk to the airlines, resorts, etc.
, to make sure you are fully taken care of in the best way possible. We will find the best possible solution for the given situation whether it means changing dates of the trip completely or just rebooking them on the next available flight. » «My clients have my cellphone number and at times I have gotten a call in the middle of the night,» said Ashley Knebelsberger, a AAA Travel Agent in Dayton, Ohio.
«When a couple was accidentally left behind while a tour bus went from Prague to Berlin, I was able to recommend train transfers to Berlin and secured a taxi ride to the appropriate hotel to rejoin the group.
» «If their flight is cancelled, I get them another flight out and secure it while there are 50 people waiting in line to talk to the customer service person,» Platero said. «I have had clients put off ships into the hospital and I have coordinated a hotel for the loved one and flights home when needed.
(I) also helped clients cancel tours and hotels when they have been injured in the middle of their trip so they won’t be penalized. » When clients of Landay’s on their honeymoon had their flight to Hawaii canceled, they were told the next flight wouldn’t leave until that evening, so they wouldn’t arrive until 10 p.
Distraught, they called Landay. «I looked up the flight schedules for that particular airline and saw that they actually had three other flights, all of which left earlier than 5 p. ,» Landay said. «The reservation agent was simply pushing all passengers to later flights indiscriminately.
- » Landay told her clients to get in line to speak to the reservation agent;
- When they reached the front of the line, they gave the agent their cell phone to speak to Landay;
- «I told her that I could see two seats on their 1 p;
flight in our live air system,» Landay said, «and I expected her to honor their tickets on that earlier flight instead. She did. And they got to Hawaii four hours earlier to start their honeymoon. » When a group of clients on their way to Rome had their flight canceled, they were so discouraged they were ready to cancel their trip, but Teri Reilly, a AAA Travel Agent in Northfield, New Jersey, was able to get their trip back on track using her travel experience and contacts.
She quickly found her clients a hotel near the airport with a free shuttle, then turned her attention to their Rome itinerary. Spotting another unpleasant surprise, she called a friend in Italy, where she has traveled numerous times.
«She is a tour guide in Rome and had always offered to help me and my clients if I ever needed her. Well, this time I really needed her,» Reilley said. «I found out that there was a transportation strike going on and I needed to get my clients to their hotel somehow.
- » Reilly’s friend picked the clients up at the airport and even called their tour conductor at the hotel to say they would be late and find out when and where they would meet for their Vatican tour the following morning;
«My clients were so happy and raved about my friend and all that I was able to do to get them back on track,» Reilley said..
What is the benefit of using a travel agent?
What is a Travel Agent? — A travel agent is an individual who both provides and arranges travel or tourism-related services to the general public. This is done so on behalf of the travel agent’s accommodation or travel suppliers. Travel agents simplify the travel planning process by booking flights, cruises, rental cars and hotels, as well as resort stays and events. They work to make sure that each and every detail of your trip is accounted for in order to help ensure that you have a memorable, hassle-free family vacation! .
Is it worth it to use a travel agent?
Should I use a travel agent to book every flight? — Don’t be silly. If you’re flying from Milwaukee to Cleveland to visit family, it’s doubtful a travel agent will save you much, if any, money. Don’t waste your time. Hop on Cheapoair and find the best rate in 10 minutes from the comfort of your home.
- But there are a number of situations where employing a travel agent actually makes sense;
- If you’re traveling internationally —especially to a country you’ve never visited — a travel agent can be an invaluable resource in helping you navigate the unfamiliar terrain;
You can get help booking with foreign services and ask questions to your heart’s content. Traveling to other countries can be a tricky business, and arming yourself with information is essential. Online sources can help you to some extent, but remember, many websites are actively trying to sell you a product or a service and their information may not be wholly objective.
Group travel is another common situation that can greatly benefit from an agent’s touch. Coordinating bookings across multiple parties can get messy. A travel agent can keep things organized, negotiate with services and personally work out any complications that may arise.
Rather than trying to reserve rooms in the same hotels and seats on the same flights with multiple credit cards and names, let a travel agent do the dirty work. Travel agents are also wonderful for providing destination advice. Many specialize in particular destinations and will be able to provide insight as to how you should structure your visit.
Why use a travel agent instead of booking online?
Why use a travel agent instead of booking online? Simply put, you’ll have a better trip, without the stress of planning your trip alone. A travel agent can accommodate your interests, budget and time frame with their wealth of knowledge and expertise to make sure that you get the most out of your trip.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a travel agent?
The thought of using a travel agent to book your travel, versus doing it yourself, has given some travelers pause. After all, what’s to say that you won’t end up in a Thomas Cook-type situation where you’re left stranded after your travel agency collapses? But for some, this risk of trusting someone else to plan all your travel is a minimal worry when they can avoid all the stress of travel planning.
Connections travel shop / travel agency in Belgium. (Photo by: Arterra/Universal Images Group via. [+] Getty Images) Universal Images Group via Getty Images If you’ve considered using a travel agent before, but are still on the fence, here are nine pros and cons to think on before deciding either way.
Pros 1. You’re Not The One Planning Your Travel For some people using a travel agent, it’s all about the convenience. You tell your agent where you want to go and what kind of travel you like, sit back and relax and then hop on a plane. Easy. Price This one can go either way.
- Some travel agents can snag you great bundled deals on your travel;
- Other times, the cost of using a travel agent means you won’t actually save any money;
- Someone’s Always On Your Side One great thing that a travel agent can provide is advocacy;
They’re always on your side. If an airline cancels your flight or a hotel suddenly doesn’t have your reservation on file, your travel agent can help things get sorted, fast. Though, this doesn’t really help when they also own the hotel or airline, as was the case with Thomas Cook.
- On a more dire scale, travel agents can also help you in the instance of a natural disaster or some other type of event that would require you to evacuate a destination quickly;
- They Want You To Be Happy An airline or a hotel brand might not care that you rebook;
There will always be another traveler in line to take your place. However, with agents, they often have a limited number of clients. They want to earn your repeat business. To do so, you’ll find that agents will go out of their way to make sure you’re pleased with your experience.
That might mean throwing in something for free or upgrading your experience. They Make Seeing A Brand-New Place Easier If you’re traveling somewhere that’s entirely brand new and completely foreign, having a travel agent can make things easier.
They can recommend the best places to go, stay, eat and play, and often they have first-hand experiences with these places. This way, you’re not relying on internet research or a potentially out-of-date guidebook. They can also clue you in to various little things that are easier to convey person-to-person, such as local customs, and any «do’s» or «don’t’s.
- » Cons 1;
- You’re Not The One Planning Your Travel While not planning your travel is a pro to some, for other travelers, it’s a major con;
- Some travelers thoroughly enjoy the planning part of the travel experience;
Everything from reading travel blogs, searching for inspirational destination photos on Pinterest and flipping through guidebooks can be an exciting part of the process. They’d never dream of letting someone else take the reins. You Add Another Person To The Equation One nice thing about booking your travel experience yourself is that you can literally do it anytime, anywhere.
- When you have a travel agent, you have to consider someone else’s schedule;
- If you decide you want to go to Bermuda at 2 p;
- on a Sunday and you want to book it right that second, your travel agent won’t be able to help you until Monday morning;
If you’re booking things yourself, you can secure your travel plans right then and there. There’s no waiting around for a returned call or email. You Actually Have To Find The Agent Shopping for a travel agent is a little like shopping for any kind of assistant.
You want to find the perfect one for you and your family. You want someone who preferably specializes in the type of travel you like, someone who makes you feel comfortable and someone with good references.
This kind of shopping around for the perfect travel agent takes time and patience, something you may not have. And, even if you do find a travel agent you think you like, you could always get burned in the end. They’re Not Great For Spur-Of-The-Moment Changes If you’re the type of traveler that really likes to just fly by the seat of your pants while you’re traveling, that’s not going to be so easy when you have a travel agent.
- See a cool restaurant that you suddenly want to try? Calling your agent, just for your agent to call the restaurant where you already have a reservation to get your reservation switched to this new restaurant, can be a pain;
With no travel agent involved, you can cancel your old reservation straight from your phone and walk right into the new restaurant. Or, just skip reservations altogether and go with the flow..
Do you pay more using a travel agent?
They don’t usually cost extra. — It’s a myth that working with a travel agent will automatically cost you more; most get paid via commissions from the hotel or outfitter. Sure, some travel agents do charge a fee for putting together an itinerary, but most will credit you that fee if you end up booking the trip through them.
Are travel agents worth it 2021?
If you’re thinking about booking a vacation in 2021, it’s a no brainer to book with a travel advisor. Working with an agent can save you both time and money and in turn, reduce all the stress that comes along with travel planning. Most agencies don’t charge a fee, but even if the one you’re going to work with does, it’s 100 percent worth it.
- In the long run, they will end up saving you money on your vacation;
- Here’s how;
- First and foremost, you can’t put a price on the amount of time you’ll save;
- Some people put hours, days and even weeks into planning a vacation;
When you work with a travel advisor, they do all the busy work and extensive research. They’ll end up presenting you with a beautiful itinerary that would have taken you ages to put together. They also know all the current deals and promotions. When you let them know what type of trip you’re looking for, they’ll be able to pull up the best deal that will work for you.
- Travel advisors work closely with various tour operators, resorts and other travel companies;
- Oftentimes these companies provide agents with exclusive rates to offer their clients (aka you);
- Another perk of agents having close relationships with their travel partners is that they can help you avoid change and cancellation fees if something comes up to alter your trip;
What might take you five hours to figure out on the phone takes a travel agent one simple email to a partner. They will also make sure to hook you up with the best travel insurance plan, so you don’t have to worry about spending a bunch of money when a hiccup presents itself.
The year 2020 has been met with ever-changing travel requirements. What’s optional one day is mandatory the next. Do you really want to spend time figuring out what you all need to visit a destination only to arrive and pay out of pocket for a COVID-19 test you didn’t realize you had to take? Probably not.
Let an agent take care of all of this for you. Booking with a travel advisor in 2021 will not only aid in the travel industry’s recovery, but it will also help out a small business. You’ll help the advisor get back on track and yourself to save money..
What are the disadvantages of booking through a travel agent?
Reliability and Travel hiccups — Pros: Travel agents help minimize unpleasant surprises through re-bookings, different routing/products, fee waivers etc. If you are stuck at an airport, agents can often be easier to get hold of, re-plan your itinerary as needed.
Depending on needs, a travel agent is also best suited to recommend insurance plans based on your destination and personal profile. Think of any travel related hiccup and the need to speak with a human to get things sorted, travel agents are easiest to work with.
Cons: Availability of travel agents and 24/7 service model is hard to come by, and expensive when it does. Access to a travel agent outside their business hours is a serious barrier, especially during travel interruptions. Many travel agents stop working for you once their invoice is paid.
Is it cheaper to book online or through a travel agent?
How much time do you spend researching your next vacation? According to Expedia , Americans visit 140 travel websites before booking their next vacation. Could you be saving time and money using a travel agent? «Really truly what we work on is value, you’re getting someone with knowledge and experience on your side, so you don’t have to do all of the work,» said Crystal Seaton with Road to Relaxation Travel.
Seaton says booking through a travel agent typically won’t cost you more. She says while some agents will charge you a nominal planning fee, many agencies like hers do not charge anything extra for their services.
«We get paid a commission on the back end from the vendor, so that’s how we make our income,» she said. She did say they sometimes charge a fee if it’s for a major complex trip with extensive planning. When it comes to getting the same deals offered online, Seaton says, «99 percent of the time we can get the same deals.
» «What I caution people,» she said, «is to look beyond price to value because sometimes those digital deals come with a lot of small print that you don’t notice upfront. » You need to make sure the advertised price is the final cost, and there are no extra taxes and fees added on after booking.
Seaton gave examples of when travel agents can save their clients’ money on trips to Disney. «We monitor promotions,» she said. «Disney had a fall promotion that’s come out recently. Our agents were up through the night waiting for it to drop based on what we’re hearing, and then we go through the reservations that are booked for us and see who qualifies for it and apply it.
- » She says agents do the same thing when it comes to cruises and all-inclusive trips;
- When you book on your own, you could be locked in on the price;
- The biggest difference is time;
- According to Expedia, Americans spend nearly 23 hours on travel websites six weeks prior to booking a vacation;
Those are hours that you could save for other things and let a travel agent do the work for you. If you prefer booking your trip on your own online, Rob Stern, with RobPlansYourTrip. com says consider this: » Travel agents offer many things that the Internet does not, including personal knowledge of destinations and our recent travel experiences, knowing the quality of different travel suppliers, and providing a live resource for help during your trip.
We have access to some industry only booking engines for travel packages as well. » If you book through an agent, they can also help when problems arise on your trip. «Travel agents can help with troubleshooting when suppliers don’t come through, in cases of bad weather, labor strikes, lost luggage, flight delays and cancellations,» he said.
«If there’s an issue at a hotel or with a car rental when can often resolve it. We can explain what types of travel protection plans are the best for your type of trip. » Whether you are booking on your own or with an agent, Seaton says, «My best advice is to plan early.
Is it better to use a travel agent or do it yourself?
Travel Agents Can Save You Time — Booking a trip, with all its working parts, can take hours, especially if you’re researching and comparing the best deals, said Avery Harris of Viking Travel. A travel agent will take much less time to help you find what you’re looking for, Harris said.
Is it better to book directly with airline or travel agent?
Bottom Line — Choosing between an extra $40 in savings with an OTA versus the security of booking through the airline itself can sometimes feel like a pretty close debate. But during uncertain times in travel, we always recommend booking directly with the airline.
What is the difference between a travel advisor and a travel agent?
In early 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic forced the closures of international borders and stay-at-home orders became the norm, many travelers were left scrambling. Along with expensive rebooking and cancellation fees, travelers were faced with long lines at borders and even longer wait times with customer service representatives.
- But for consumers who had employed a travel agent, or travel advisor, to book their trips, it was a different story;
- «We saw travel advisors grabbing flights with no change fees; negotiating future travel credits; doing the legwork on behalf of their clients to avoid their clients having to pay anything out of pocket,» says Erika Richter, the senior director of communications for the American Society of Travel Advisors;
As Richter puts it, «Travel advisors were made for that moment. » So, what’s the difference between a travel agent and a travel advisor? There isn’t one. It’s a matter of updated terminology within the industry: Thanks to a 2018 rebrand by the ASTA, travel agents are now known as travel advisors.
- They are still able to help those planning everything from epic honeymoons to family vacations to far-flung international trips, in addition to assisting travelers with other perks;
- Though a travel advisor may seem obsolete (with the prevalence of travel booking sites like Expedia and the ease of booking flights and accommodations directly online with an airline, a hotel or a vacation rental property), Richter explains that travel advisors are no longer just transactional;
«They do so much more than booking tickets and pushing a button, and we know now that it’s going to be a little more complicated than just pushing a button,» Richter says. «There’s a lot more to consider. » As borders reopen and the vaccination rollout continues, you may be eager to plan a trip and wonder if a travel advisor is right for you.
- News spoke with Richter and John Rees, owner and founder of J5Travel, a travel agency based in Davidson, North Carolina, that specializes in luxury travel;
- They explained the benefits of using a travel advisor, including ways an advisor can help you navigate the ever-changing testing, vaccine and quarantine requirements, as well as the hotel capacity and international border restrictions;
Read on to understand what travel advisors can assist with and to learn several savvy tips to help you find the right travel advisor for your next vacation.
What are the cons of using a travel agent?
8 Great Reasons NOT to use a travel agent
Is it worth using a travel agent UK?
Why Use A Travel Agent
Access to Discounted Fares and Stays — We spoke to FlightsPro, UK’s best travel agents specialising in cheap flights and hotel deals and found out that they have access to find and book flights and holiday deals of their clients at special fares that may not be available to the general public.
Travel agents have got the right network and connection with the holiday vendors, suppliers and airlines that give them access to discounted fares that are otherwise cannot be booked elsewhere. They are the first ones to be notified upfront about upcoming deals, special airfare packages and much more.
They are even able to book special amenities without any extra cost which in turn helps our clients get additional benefits and VIP treatment. So, the answer to if you save money using a travel agent is yes! You can save significant sums on not just airfare, but all hotels, holidays and cruises – sometimes as much as 50% of the total cost.
How much does it cost to use a travel agent?
A travel agent is a very valuable partner to have on your side. Some would say a priceless partner in the era of pandemic travel. That said, if you are looking for the cheapest price on your next trip, then I do not want to waste your time. This article is not for you. Go to Costco and via con Dios. Just please, do not call me when you have questions, are stranded somewhere, or hit a brick wall.
You got what you paid for. If you are the type of person who values great service, support, and advocacy, then you are the right type of person to partner with a travel advisor. During the worst of Covid, when people were stranded all over the world or left in the lurch with cancellations, travel advisors demonstrated their true value.
Our community went from being travel planners to crisis mangers in a heartbeat. Behind the scenes, colleagues, and even fierce competitors, worked tirelessly together to help each other solve problems for clients. As you will understand in a moment, we did all of this without pay.
It is difficult to put a value on something that the public never sees but that network is priceless in a time of need. Instead of asking, how much does it cost to work with a travel agent, the right question to be asking here is, how valuable is your own time? On any given day, experienced travel agent will already have the answers to the questions you spent hours to find on google.
In addition, they most likely have vetted local contacts with insider tips on experiences typical travelers would never know about. Travel agents know how to balance and fine tune itineraries to allow you to enjoy the most immersive time and the least travel time.
Travel agents are precise because they are well practiced, planning hundreds of itineraries compared to someone who may plan one or two trips per year. Under normal circumstances, a travel agent can make travel planning easier and enhance your vacation enjoyment.
BUT…. The travel industry has changed dramatically since Covid. Many airlines, hotels, cruise lines and tour companies have laid off or furloughed thousands of workers. New hires are inexperienced and phone hold times of 3-4 hours to make reservations or straighten out mistakes are currently the norm.
- As airlines and cruise ships resume operations there are frequent cancellations and schedule changes;
- Travelers need an experienced professional on their side more than ever to prevent problems and advocate on their behalf;
To add another layer of complexity, many countries and destinations have new Covid health and safety rules that change frequently. Travel agents are well versed and can mean the difference when it comes to arriving prepared and avoiding frustration and financial losses.
- If there was ever a time to work with a travel agent, the time is now;
- A travel agent earns their living by sales commissions paid to them by hotels, tour companies and cruise lines;
- Airlines do not pay commission and that is why most travel agents that sell airline tickets will charge a small service fee;
Cancellations during covid meant travel advisors were not paid any commission for the hours of work they spent planning itineraries or the hours and days it took to cancel those same reservations. In many cases, it took months to obtain refunds or travel credit for their clients.
- Throughout lockdown, trave agents continued to advocate for their clients, without pay, simply because it was the right thing to do! Even prior to Covid, experienced travel advisors, charge a service fee before they will do any itinerary work;
Why?. Because so many people will contact a travel agent simply looking for free travel advice. The agent will spend time with these prospective clients, sharing expertise and the client will then book travel services directly, which means the travel agent is not paid for their work or time invested.
- Travel agents simply need to insure they are not wasting time and are being fairly compensated for their work;
- While there are still a few agents who will offer free travel quotes, the most confident and experienced travel professionals will charge a service fee;
Fees can range from $50-$500 based on their years of experience and destination knowledge. Some luxury agents will charge a percentage in advance of booking private jets and islands. Travel advisors will always inform clients of any service fees in advance.
Agents will usually have prospective clients register and pay service fees before any itinerary work is completely. At Vacationkids, we want to be play fair and our goal is to create trusted partnerships with our families.
With any travel inquiry, we schedule a free, 15 min consultation via phone or zoom. During this time, our travel advisors will access if we can bring benefit to your family’s travel planning or not. If we both agree to move forward, we will ask you to register with our agency.
- Once fully registered, we will begin working on your next travel adventure;
- If you complete your trip, we do not charge any additional service fees because we will be paid via commission from your tour company, resort, or cruise line;
If for any reason, you choose not to move forward with your travel plans, then we will not receive any commission. In these situations, we will charge a $200 service fee so that we are paid for the time we have invested in you. Some families travel together in larger groups.
Other families may require complicated or very intensive itinerary planning. Negotiating group contracts, building online booking pages for groups or extended trips abroad do require a larger investment of our time.
In these situations, we will charge upfront service fees that are based on the specific situation and agreed upon but all parties in advance. Indeed, our clients certainly do appreciate our value when they compare the itinerary and experiences we create for them verses their own DIY attempts at travel planning. Your blog post content here… Topics: family vacations , Affordable Family Vacations , Family Vacation , family vacation ideas , travel tips .