Consumers should seek out references, focus on their needs and be prepared to pay for the value a travel agent can provide, The New York Times said in an article last week.
“Finding the right agent requires research,” the Times said, directing consumers to friends and relatives first, and then networks like the American Society of Travel Agents, and travel agency consortia. The story quoted Virtuoso senior vice president of Global Member Partnerships David Kolner, who said, “finding the right travel agent is like finding the right doctor.”
The Times suggested looking for the skills and expertise of someone knowledgeable about a niche, including “a particular destination,” and asked readers about how deeply involved they want to be in choosing travel suppliers.
It’s important “to work with an adviser who matches your travel planning personality. You can find out if advisers are happy to hold your hand or leave you alone by asking them directly.”
The article also promoted travel agent service fees, quoting Kolner as saying, “You are paying for an adviser’s knowledge and for the perks they’re able to score for you.”