Most professional travel agents charge service fees or base their businesses on commissions, so what do you get for your money that you can’t get online?
Agents advocate on your behalf: Travel can be fraught with perils such as delayed, cancelled or missed flights, natural disasters, terrorism threats, unexpected changes in itinerary, or lost reservations. Travel agents have relationships with suppliers and know how to reach hotel general managers, airline customer service reps – people who can help make things right for you, right away, 24/7!
Agents have travel knowledge and expertise: Good agents invest time taking courses and furthering their knowledge about destinations and reputable suppliers. We travel often to learn firsthand about the vast array of destinations, products and services important to you. For specific destinations, we have colleagues and suppliers to consult with. Online research can be overwhelming with all the offers, incentives, and hidden costs. Discuss your ideas with your travel agent and collaborate to get the best possible option.
Agents look after the total package: Travel agents take care of you from the moment you step outside your door until you return home. They will customize your experience; help guide you in the complicated issue of travel insurance; arrange added amenities (such as a tea ceremony in your ryokan, or private transfers at your destination). Good travel agents act as your personal travel concierge.
By Anne Brobyn