“Do people still use travel agents?”
I hear that question often, and my answer is always the same…
Smart people do.
A quick Google search will put hundreds, if not thousands, of articles, blog posts, reviews, trip reports, photos and more at your fingertips. It can be completely overwhelming!
How do you know what information is up to date and correct? (it probably isn’t) Can you be sure those reviews are accurate and unbiased? (almost never) Are those photos current and unedited? (nope!)
And if you’ve ever said to yourself that you would never book with a travel agency because you prefer to do it all yourself, let me fill in on a little secret…
Those web sites you are using to search for the best price? They are all travel agencies. Yup! You think you are booking “on your own” but really, you are booking with a travel agency; the type that only offers an online booking engine and limited, if any, customer service.
Not only that, they typically have more restrictions and fees than working with a personal travel advisor should you need to make a change or cancel your vacation unexpectedly. And then there is the issue of customer service, or in the case of many of these big online agencies, “customer no-service.”
Take a moment and compare the cancellation policies of your favorite travel discount website with those of the resort directly. You’ll usually find them to be rather unforgiving. When you work with a travel professional, we typically have multiple travel partners we can use to customize your vacation, and we will take their cancellation and change policies into consideration in selecting the best option for your family. We also know to recommend the right kind of travel protection to protect your vacation investment.
And what about payments? Most of the time you will need to pay for your vacation in full when you book with an online booking site. A travel professional will be able to book your trip with a deposit and in many cases will allow you to make multiple payments on your vacation. This allows you to spread the cost out before you travel.
As a travel professional, I work with my clients providing them with top-notch service from the time they reach out to me until well after they return from their vacations. That is the essence of my work.
I take the time to listen to their vacation wishes, needs and expectations. I get to know them. I ask lots of questions to make sure the recommendations I make are right for them. My goal is for my clients to have an amazing trip, not just any trip.
Sure, some of my clients come to me knowing exactly what they want down to the specific details, but, more often than not, what they’ve found either isn’t the right option to meet their expectations, or it isn’t the best value for their hard-earned vacation dollars. I am able to use my personal experience and vast industry network to recommend options tailor-made to meet their wants, needs, expectations, and budget.
I had a client come to me once who wanted a specific resort. As we were talking about her wishes, she mentioned that she chose that particular resort, in part, because it was all inclusive. The truth was, it wasn’t an all inclusive resort at all. I was able to make a recommendation for an all inclusive resort that was perfect for her and she had an amazing time on her trip.
Once we’ve found the perfect destination, I make sure that the options that go into their itinerary are the best value for their budget. I’ve spent years cultivating a network of relationships within the travel industry, and as a result, I am sometimes able to secure additional perks or upgrades for my clients that they would not have been aware of had they planned their vacation themselves. A recent client of mine found themselves upgraded from a regular room to an ocean view because the hotel manager knows that I bring him business. Other times, I am able to recommend private ground transfers for only a few dollars more than a shared shuttle.
The services of a travel professional don’t end once you book your vacation. In fact, that’s often where the essential services begin.
It’s often the small details that make the difference between a good vacation and a well-planned, well-executed, outstanding vacation. Knowing that all of those little details are taken care of and have been double and triple checked by a professional means you can relax and enjoy your time knowing everything is taken care of for you. As an example, my clients who to go to Disney World receive park guides that tell them, among other things, where to stand for the best view of the fireworks and where to find their children’s favorite characters. It is the small details that sometimes make the magical moments!
You can also relax knowing that if anything should go wrong, you’ve got a professional in your corner helping to solve any problems and advocate for you should the need arise. When you call, you reach me, not a call center with workers who are reading from a script. (hint: the solution to your concerns is probably not in that script)
Whether it’s transportation delays or an issue at your resort, you need only contact me, and I will be working behind the scenes to resolve the situation as best as possible. Because of my connections and the resources available through my travel partners, I can often facilitate a resolution sooner than you might expect.
Working with a travel professional is like having a personal concierge dedicated to ensuring that your vacation is customized to your family’s unique wishes. Allowing someone else to take care of the details and eliminate the stress of planning is a luxury you deserve to experience.
Planning the perfect experience begins with scheduling your vacation consultation call. Click here to contact me or call me at 607-330-1531. We’ll discuss what you are looking for in your dream vacation and your budget. From there, I’ll give you my suggestions and explain how we can best work together to plan the vacation of your dreams.