Multiple times a week, I have the following conversation:
"So you're a travel agent? I didn't know they existed anymore. I thought the internet took your place." - most people
"Yes, with the internet came thousands of websites about travel. I can help you make sense of it all." - me
Travel agents understand that you can go online and book your own trips. This isn't a new revelation for us. But once you go down the rabbit hole of trying to book your own trip, it can become a slippery slope. Did you remember to book your transfers to the resort or port? You don't want to do the "walk of death" at the Cancun airport without talking to someone first. How about insurance? Your plan in the U.S. probably won't work if you have an emergency outside the country. With the thousands of travel websites to comb through, the information found can be overwhelming. As travel professionals, we can help. Below are 5 reasons to use a travel agent for your next trip.
1) Travel agents work on your behalf, not the resort/airline/tour operator.
If there is a problem on your trip, your travel agent is there to help you out. They are your personal advocate. If you booked on your own, you don't have anyone in your corner.
At Blue Sea Vacations, we work on your behalf before, during, and after your trip. For example, clients of ours booked a cruise for 15 family members. The dining time they wanted was already filled to capacity. Instead of calling up the typical 1-800 number that everyone has access to, we used our industry connections to call up a sales manager. We were able to have all 15 members of the family seated together at their preferred dining time before they stepped foot on the cruise.
2) We will save you money!
Yes, that's right, travel agents save you money! It is a common misconception that travel agents can't save you any money. Time and time again that is proven wrong!
Travel agents have access to special websites that the public doesn't. We can get perks, discounts, and promotions that can't be found anywhere else. The average amount a travel agent can save is more than $450.
And many times the rates that you see online when you go to book, aren't the actual rates that the vacation can cost. Many online searches will result in the "lead-in" pricing popping up first. This is pricing that may be the cheapest for a small window of dates, but won't necessarily apply towards your dates. It most likely won't include taxes, gratuities, port fees, transfers, etc. Your final price will likely be much higher once you start factoring in all those costs.
3) Travel agents have the ability to save you time.
As people get busier, their time becomes more valuable. Using a travel agent helps to reduce the amount of time you need to worry about planning your vacations, because we will do all the hard work. We'll make the phone calls, set up the payment plans, and get all the documents together.
Not only will agents do the dirty work, but we will help guide you in the right direction during your planning stages. Because we not only are agents, but enthusiastic travelers ourselves, an experienced agent will help steer you in certain directions when looking to make decisions about your trip.
A great example recently happened to us when helping a client plan a trip. A client wanted an authentic Spanish experience while also being able to enjoy the beach. They were initially interested in Mallorca, Spain. This is an island off the coast of Spain that is known for being a great vacation destination in Europe. However, this client was interested in going during July, and Mallorca is overrun by German tourists during the summer season. There wasn't going to be as much Spanish culture for them. Our staff was able to find an alternative in Barcelona, Spain, which is right on the beach and loaded with Spanish Culture. Luckily, this client came to us first. They may have found the same result with hours of searching online, but by having a knowledgeable travel agent, we saved them time immediately. Not only that, but their flights were cheaper and shorter. A win-win solution.
4) An experienced travel agent will be able to reduce the stress of planning a trip.
Trying to plan travel on your own can be challenging! There are thousands of sites to look for prices, reviews, and resources. At Blue Sea Vacations, we do this professionally, and know that many times travel websites have inaccurate and misleading information. Even if the information is accurate, resorts can have multiple categories of rooms, cruises can have over 25 types of cabin on a single ship, and trying to find the perfect fit can be headache.
To top this all off, if you are trying to plan for a group, the stress can multiply exponentially. If everyone is traveling from the same destination, on the same itinerary, that is hard enough. Once you add in people flying from multiple airports, with kids involved, the frustration levels can go through the roof. By using a travel agent, they will do all the coordination to make your trip stress free!
5) Last but certainly not least is that travel agents are experienced travelers themselves.
They have a passion for travel and helping others - it is one of the main reasons so many of us got into this business! Many agents specialize in certain areas or trips. At Blue Sea Vacations, some of our specialties are Mexico, the Caribbean, Cruising, and custom European travel.
Using a real person's expertise and opinion can give you guidance and a piece of mind when booking your travel. Sometimes you it takes a personal opinion of an agent to help turn your trip from being average to spectacular. Simply put, you may not know what you don't know!
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