Most people when they think about using a travel agent usually believe that they will get overcharged for using their services, when they can easily curate their own trip with ease and without any additional cost. Wrong! You actually might do yourself some disservice if you don’t consider consulting a travel agent to help you book your dream luxury vacation. To make you feel more comfortable about using a travel agent, we decided to debunk common myths about travel agents, and reveal the truth and the benefits of working with a travel agent.
MYTH 1: You don’t need a travel agent. You can find all the information they have on the internet.
Anyone can use the internet to look up airfares and hotel rates, but travel agents use their training, expertise and passion to help clients plan every detail of their luxury vacation. For example, you can use an online travel service to find and book your hotel room, but at Vacation.com, our expert travel agents can find 5-star hotels through our SELECT Hotels & Resorts program. This allows clients the opportunity to receive perks they would receive elsewhere, including room upgrades and credit for on-site amenities such as a spa treatment and complimentary breakfast for 2 for the length of your stay. Travel agents have developed relationships with suppliers, which allows you to reap the rewards and the perks that may come along with those exclusive, high-end perks.
Travel agents have a wealth of experience and that’s something you’re not going to find on the internet. Vacation’s travel agents are certified destination specialists knowledgeable of the world’s most desirable locales. They have 5+ years of professional experience creating customized vacations around the globe, and collectively, they have visited more than 130 countries – and they’re not done yet! From finding a special restaurant in Venice for a romantic dinner for 2 to finding the safest destinations for a group of LGBTQ+ travelers, a travel agent taps into his/her expertise and travel experiences to advise you to make the most informed decisions for an unforgettable vacation.
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 based on your travel style, budget and interests. Their goal is to “wow” you right from the start and offer unique travel experiences that will only make your dream vacation better.
MYTH 3: No one uses Travel Agents anymore.
That can’t be further from the truth. A lot of people use travel agents, not just for business trips. According to report by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), travel agents still sell 51% of all airline tickets, 87% of all cruises, 81% of tours, 45% of rentals, and 47% of all hotels. It’s really no surprise because there are many things that travel agents can do for you to make your luxury vacation easier, like looking for specific hotels that have amenities for kids or locations perfect for a secluded couple’s getaway.
... travel agents still sell 51% of all airline tickets, 87% of all cruises, 81% of tours...
MYTH 4: 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. All of those questions are used to help them carefully create a vacation itinerary that is perfectly tailored to you.
Myth 5: Travel Agents are dinosaurs. The internet and travel apps have made them obsolete.
If truth be told, travel agents love the internet! Because the internet can steer 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 or using well-known apps, such as WhatsApp – if that’s your wish.
Yes, it’s great to surf the web for travel inspiration, high-end deals and luxe travel packages, but only a travel agent can customize your dream vacation, such as arranging a hot-air balloon trip in Cappadocia, Turkey; a private winery tour of the Marlborough wine region in New Zealand; or an exclusive tour of the Vatican in Rome, Italy. Just remember that a good travel agent is often able to book a hotel room and other luxury travel experiences that some online travel services may not be able to, even if for example, a hotel looks booked online or at the front desk.
Myth 6: Travel agents will charge you a huge fee 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.
For example, putting together an itinerary for a complicated trip, like a safari, or booking multiple tickets and transfers for an extended family, is a lot of work. Charging a fee is basically a bit of insurance for all the time and effort put into creating a vacation in the event that a client cancels their trip.
Myth 7: You’re bothering a travel agent on off-hours when you’re ready to book.
Many travel agents these days work from home, which means they sometimes work around the clock making hotel reservations at a private island resort late at night. And you may want to hold off on booking that online deal that you found and consult with your travel agent first, even if you can’t immediately get in contact with your agent. Why? Because a travel agent can get you the same deal and tell you if it’s legitimate or if there are hidden costs. Patience is a virtue, so at least reach out to your agent before you make a decision to book that deal.
Hopefully, we’ve quelled your reservations about working with a travel agent. Plan your luxury vacation now! Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with an expert travel agent, who can customize the dream itinerary that you deserve.