A recent article in the “Washingtonian” touted that Travel Agents are Back in High Demand.
And I applaud the author for turning away from her do-it-yourself mentality of usually booking holidays online by herself!
But – there’s a little more to be uncovered.
It’s not that travel “agents” are back in high demand. Rather, it’s that the author discovered who travel consultants (or, as I call them, travel advisors) are. She discovered the value in the work a travel advisor does. And she discovered how using a travel advisor is much better than her booking her own trip online, with her acting as her own travel agent.
Travel Advisors are back in high demand – mostly because the author learned the difference between a travel agent, and a travel advisor!
The author noted that she was sick of sorting through the online water hose spray of information. She needed help.
“I had spent hours online looking for a tropical resort worthy of a special birthday. While review sites such as TripAdvisor can be great tools, they also can be confounding when the same resort earns both five-star raves and one-star rants. Which do you trust?” She said she finally called a travel consultant (even then, she didn’t hire an “agent.”)
With her consultant (or advisor) she learned the following:
- I had expected that a travel agent could save me time, but I hadn’t anticipated that he’d also save me money.
- Some of the benefits of travel agents are obvious: They save you time, and because they travel so much themselves, they have—literally—a world of experience.
- …in the past few years, the avalanche of information online has caused more consumers to look for a personal travel guide.
- Most agents now charge clients a fee that varies depending on the trip’s complexity… Even with an agent’s fee, a trip may cost you the same as—or less than—you would have paid on your own…..Those who specialize in higher-end travel typically call themselves travel consultants.
- Because of the relationships they build and the larger travel consortiums they’re sometimes part of—such as the exclusive …Virtuoso organization—agents often can pass along perks such as spa credits, complimentary airport transfers, prepaid gratuities, and free nights.
So, while I applaud the author on her article, and her successful use of a travel consultant – she hadn’t hired a travel agent to help her.
She’d hired an advisor.
Agents represent suppliers.
Agents transact sales.
Agents focus on volume.
Agents (it might be argued) are replaceable – they do the same click and purchase you might do on your computer with sites such as expedia, etc.
That’s not true about advisors.
Advisors represent clients.
Advisors build relationships.
Advisors arrange holidays based on their knowledge of an individual client, and determine what will be the best fit for their client’s circumstances.
Advisors have education, experience, and, most importantly, relationships with hoteliers, cruiselines, and destination management specialists that you do not.
You are not a reservation number when you book with a travel advisor, you are a VIP. As your travel advisor, I always do my best to pull on all of my education, experience, and powerful connections and relationships into play to VIP clients on holiday. I am a Virtuoso travel advisor. I negotiate special amenities on your behalf, and find travel experiences that you cannot “google.”
Good travel advisors have always been in high demand. It’s just now, many are realizing that it’s time they stopped trying to be their own travel agent.
So if you’re booking a $50 flight, or need a “Motel 6,” go ahead – be your own travel agent. Book online.
But if you’re planning a holiday, and are holding your family’s vacation memories in your hand, work with a travel advisor.