Travel agents have a problem: they, and their work, are widely misunderstood. Many travelers believe that agents are motivated only to sell vacations, similar to a car salesman pushing you to buy any old jalopy just to meet a quota. In reality, travel agents don’t sell; they consult and advise their clients on the many nuances of planning all types of travel, from destination weddings and honeymoons to cruises and safaris.
Is your mind blown yet? It will be as we debunk the most prevalent travel agent myths.
Anyone can use the internet to look up airfares and hotel rates, but travel agents use their training, expertise and passion for travel to help clients plan every detail of their vacations. But the most valuable thing they possess that no internet site does is experience. They’ve been to many of the destinations you’re dreaming of, and they’ve sailed on the cruise lines you’re targeting. They use that experience to advise you to make the most informed decisions.
Myth 2 – Travel agents push you to book expensive resorts and cruises that pay them higher commissions.
Here’s a little secret: travel agents don’t want to make one sale with you and then wipe their hands clean. They want to book every vacation you will take for the rest of your lives. To gain your loyalty, they will first get to know your expectations, and then steer you to the experiences that best fulfill those expectations. Their goal is to wow you right from the start, so that they can continue to wow you for years to come.
Myth 3 – Travel agents only offer one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter vacations.
Travel agents work diligently to make every vacation as unique as their clients. That’s why they spend so much time upfront asking you questions about your prior vacations, your hobbies and your dreams. They then sculpt a vacation that is perfectly tailored to you.
Myth 4 – Travel agents are dinosaurs—the internet made them obsolete.
If truth be told, travel agents love the internet! Because the internet has steered so many people in the wrong direction, travelers are overjoyed to work with experienced professionals again. And don’t go thinking that travel agents still use rolodexes and rotary phones—you can plan an entire trip, and have the agent help you throughout your journey, all through texting if that’s your wish.
Myth 5 – Travel agents will charge you a huge fee just for talking to them.
If you’re worried that working with a travel agent will result in expensive fees, you may be surprised to find that many charge nothing, unlike numerous high profile travel websites that charge extra fees you don’t see until checkout. The agents who charge a service fee do so one time upfront, not hourly, to pay for the hours they’ll spend making sure every detail of your vacation is perfectly planned.