Dispelling the myths about travel agents being just another way to purchase travel, the Sunday New York Times will feature a story listing five benefits for travelers of working with a travel professional.
In the article, which already appears online, author Shivani Vora writes that, “Most people assume travel agents do little more than charge you money for booking trips, something most people are comfortable doing online. However, they can do a lot more beyond planning your vacations.”
Rob Karp, chief executive and founder of MilesAhead, a Valerie Wilson Travel agency, tells the Times that good advisers can help travelers “in all sorts of ways that most people don’t realize,” if they establish loyal, long-term relationships.
Vora lists five perks agents offer:
1. Helping during travel snags, including rebooking flights during cancellations or lengthy delays, and finding last-minute accommodations and tracking lost luggage. “Essentially, we can take the travel headache off your hands and make it ours,” Karp said.
2. Be your “trip concierge,” from soup to nuts. Vora lists services like handpicking destination guides, making restaurant reservations, securing theater tickets and “booking skip-the-line entrance tickets to museums.” She notes how these services might come with a fee ranging from $50 to a few hundred dollars, depending on the complexity of the requests, “but, unlike a hotel concierge, they don’t expect a gratuity for their services,” Vora writes.
3. Trip personalization. From vegans traveling in Italy to personalized welcome amenities at hotels, establishing a long-term relationship with a travel advisor can reap special rewards for travelers.
4. Manage “long-term travel planning.” Vora says agents can help prioritize travel bucket lists, because “some trips may make more sense at certain times in your life,” like waiting until children are in their teens for gorilla trekking in Rwanda.
5. Helping with other travel and entertainment desires. Local last-minute restaurant reservations and tickets to sold-out concerts are frequent requests for hooked-in travel advisors, the Times said.