What makes a good travel agent?
Far from obsolete, travel agencies open the world to the unseasoned and veteran traveler alike. So what makes a good travel agent?
Right after we get the question,
“Travel agents still exist?”
We usually hear people ask how they can find a good travel agent.
Benefits of Travel Agencies
Travel agencies are experienced travel professionals. Travel planners have a passion for embracing world cultures, facilitating tours, and a knack for personalized recommendations. Aside from the passion, some of the benefits include inside information, personalization, and wholesale prices.
It’s true that with the Internet it seems that you have many choices. In fact, you do. But you also have to do your own vetting. Many airlines, for example, publish rates that seem like a great deal. Until you want to bring on a checked baggage. Reasonable? How about when you get charged for a carry-on?
Travel agents know how to book air the best way for you. This means your travel style, preferences, and, of course, budget.
'One of the top incentives of turning to a travel agent is getting access to their expertise and industry connections, explains Christopher Elliott, a consumer advocate and journalist. ‘Time is money,’ he says.' US News & World Report
Travel agencies have access to wholesale pricing through their vendors: tour operators. Tour operators often do not allow clients to book directly with them. Often tour operators have purchased a block of rooms from a property, which appears to be sold out to consumers online, but in fact has spots available to travel agents.
So, what makes a good travel agent?
The short answer is experience. Experience comes through in many ways that helps consumers validate travel agencies. Membership in travel associations is a great way to validate travel agencies. NBC News recommends going with an agent who is part of ASTA. As we’re also a member of the American Society of Travel Agents, we do, too.
“The folks at the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) are always trumpeting their agents, so I chose an agent who sported the ASTA logo in his Yellow Pages ad. Pay dirt. Gene was funny, happily swapped war stories with me, called back promptly after investigating my itinerary, and explored other options at length when I wasn't entirely happy with prices or the airline. In short order, by using some alternative airports, he found a fare that was $200 cheaper than I had seen online.” NBC News
Reviews on Yelp, Facebook, and Google Places are another source of validation of a good travel agent. Word of mouth is also an important validator -- since social media is an amplification of that, too.
We, at Trip Designs, work on commission from our wholesale vendors, suppliers, and tour operators. This means our services are at no cost to you.
Having an office is also a reassuring factor when choosing a travel agent. Travel agents have the patience to work with clients in person, show them brochures that they can take home, and also host open house seminars with travel partners.
”There's no substitute for the personal touch. My best experiences with agents have been one-on-one. The ability to meet -- to look the agent in the eye, to shake his or her hand -- is something online agencies can't match.” Christopher Elliott
Trip Designs: Your Loyal Travel Companion
Because we are avid travelers ourselves, we make recommendations and reservations for local restaurants, tours, adventures, attractions & sightseeing, entertainment, and more. Not only do we price-match guarantee all major travel search engines - Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, Travelocity -- but we provide detailed and customized itineraries.
We invite you to visit our Mission Viejo office to meet Apolonia and Milica or, if you happen to be in Belgrade, please say 'hello' to Marija.
You can also call us anytime at 888-422-2026.