People everywhere are back on the roads, in the air, and at sea traveling to destinations they’ve been dreaming about for the past few years. But travel is a little more complicated than it used to be. With still-changing border requirements and shifts in travel pricing and availability, it’s more important than ever to work with a travel advisor in planning and booking trips. Here are five essential ways that travel advisors help travelers get the most out of their vacation time.
1. Saves you precious time
Although everything travel-related is accessible on the internet, each search takes time, and planning can be overwhelming, even for the most seasoned travelers. Enter … your dedicated travel advisor.
Caroline Reinhard-Chacon, owner/manager, Travel Leaders, explains: “For most people, time is their most precious resource, and we save travelers time – by qualifying the customer to present a short list of options that fit their needs rather than they having to sort through and get overwhelmed by all the options. For example, making sure it’s the right kind of hotel for the client type – especially important in all-inclusive beach destinations where the clients will spend a lot of their time, but also for city vacations, that hotels are in areas convenient to sightseeing or even organizing a trip to take advantage of opening times, shopping times, and special events.”
2. You’re given objective information
In a world where it seems there’s a corporate sponsor for everything, travel advisors are the consumer's "last line of objectivity," as Matt Cervone, president, Just Cruises, says. “Meaning that when a client looks at a website or speaks to a reservation agent directly ... let's say a cruise line, the consumer may not be aware that the cruise line may not be a good fit for them (for whatever reason, i.e., itinerary, value, style, etc.). Obviously, it goes without saying that the cruise line will not offer or suggest a competing product even if it is better for them.
“Thus, there is no objectivity when a consumer is in direct contact with a supplier. Ultimately, a good travel advisor will guide them to the cruise line or product that best fits their travel style, experience, and budget.”
3. You have access to unadvertised discounts and special pricing
Because travel advisors have long-standing relationships with airlines, hotels, cruise lines, and tour companies, they can get discounts and special pricing for their clients that are not available to the general public, even online.
“Many times, people unfamiliar with using the travel agent think they will pay more when engaging a travel advisor to help them plan an adventure. In fact, travel advisors have access to unpublished rates, which help save clients money … Many times we have exclusive benefits and perks to add - like a resort credit that would otherwise be forfeited.”
4. Their first-hand experience gives you insider information
Travel advisors love to travel, giving them first-hand experiences and knowledge of destinations, airlines, hotels, and attractions around the world. It’s always better to connect with someone who has been there, done that.
“I have experienced hundreds of properties globally, and can give you a first-hand account of the differentiating factors that will allow you to make a decision that gets to the right fit for you and your family, which is what it’s all about,” says Colleen Aaberg, co-owner, Aaberg Travel Design.
“If you hire a professional to do your taxes, remodel your kitchen, change your oil, and cut your hair, why wouldn’t you do the same for travel? I could do all of the above myself - but should I? I believe in doing what I do well, and consulting a professional to do what they do well to simplify my life!”
5. Travel advisors are your advocate
Let’s be honest, sometimes when we travel, things go awry. And no one wants to be on their own in an unfamiliar country trying to sort out new hotel reservations, an alternate route to or from their destination, what happened to their luggage, or changing tour bookings. And all of that became more complicated during the pandemic, further increasing the value of having your own travel advisor.
“There are still ongoing schedule changes, and customers are still contracting Covid during their travels, and they need a single point of contact who can be reached directly. Also, much has changed since before the pandemic, and many clients did not travel during the pandemic, so they are out of practice and are looking for reassurance and tips to feel comfortable.”
Pandemic or not, a travel advisor is a real live person in your corner to arrange all of the important details of traveling, in addition to where you’ll go, where you’ll stay, and what you’ll do once there (passports, visas, entry requirements, travel insurance, deposits, special requests, schedule changes). Plus, they will handle anything unexpected that comes up, on your behalf.
“We have our ear to the ground at all times. We are able to let clients know if there’s something that has changed that might impact their trip with regard to a destination or hotel property. We advise on the options of travel insurance to ensure that our clients have all of the pertinent information to make a decision that’s right for them and protecting their vacation investment, explains Aaberg.
“A good travel advisor is your advocate, friend, and trusted resource to ensure a seamless travel experience,” Cervone reminds us.
Travel advisors (previously called travel agents) have been helping travelers nearly since the dawn of travel. They genuinely love this industry, and they are here to stay, and to assist. If you already know the benefits of having a dedicated travel advisor and you have one always standing ready to make your travel dreams come true, be sure to show them a little love on National Travel Advisor Day, just two days away on May 3 (or any day of the year, for that matter). If you haven’t yet connected with your own travel advisor, perhaps now is the time to reach out. You’ll be so glad you did.
FROM THE SPONSOR:
Delta Vacations® — a Delta Air Lines® company — is one of the largest vacation providers in the U.S. We deliver elevated, all-in-one, customized and flexible vacation experiences designed for SkyMiles® Members.
With Delta Vacations, SkyMiles Members and travel advisors can choose memorable getaways that feature Delta’s notable flight service to more than 330 destinations in 67 countries worldwide, combined with expertly curated hotels and activities.
“We recognize the importance of strong relationships with our valued agency partners,” said Delta Vacations President Kama Winters. “We are committed to providing our advisors with a broad variety of leisure travel options, industry-leading marketing tools and customer support, plus attractive commissions and reward programs.”
On behalf of the entire Delta Vacations team, we sincerely thank you, our valued travel advisor partners, for your continuous support and partnership.
Check out our latest advisor incentives here – the next trip you plan should be your own!