By Anne-Marie Marais
Years ago, travel advisors were the only way you would book travel. But with the birth of the Internet and booking travel online, many people turned to self-serve.
However, as life gets busier, with work, family and other commitments, we feel more starved for time. And even though we may have felt like booking our own travel online was quicker, it just isn’t anymore.
When we look at our lives, we do what we can to make them more efficient and easier by finding those who can more effectively manage tasks for us. Why wouldn’t we look to the expertise of a travel advisor to help us create memorable travel experiences for our families, friends and ourselves?
We can see the increased usage of travel advisors in new research from the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), mentioned on Skift.com*: ‘In the last year, 22 percent of Americans from households earning more than $50,000 booked travel through a travel agent, an increase from 14 percent just three years ago. Millennials are more likely to use an agent than any demographic group of older travelers, surprisingly.’
In Canada, the data also supports the millennial usage of travel advisors. According to the National Post**, ‘The millennials want someone who knows better than they do to book their trip for them, and like the Boomers and matures, want to see some pretty bucket list-y type trips.’ They want everything from airport transfers to restaurant bookings to experiences and activities booked.
This is so true, as travel for pleasure is not just the booking of a flight. There are hotels, activities, restaurants and experiences, plus the paperwork, like visas, that must be considered and managed.
When I was embarking on the trip of a lifetime to Australia and New Zealand, I looked to the expertise of a travel advisor to find me the best deals and organize all the various parts of my journey. With the international and domestic flights, ground travel, accommodations, experiences, activities and paperwork necessary for such an important journey, I knew that a travel advisor was the way to go. I didn’t want to try and keep all of this organized while I was busy working to make the money to afford such a trip, nor did I have the expertise to make this trip all that it could be. My travel advisor made me feel important and I was glad that they were joining me on the planning of this travel journey. Throughout the process, her excitement grew, as did mine. And it was good. to know that she was there managing the planning and bookings, while working with me to ensure all my needs were being met.
From first-time travelers to experienced travelers like me, using a travel advisor gives you peace of mind and opens you up to a world of destinations that you might not have previously considered.
We have become accustomed to booking our travel online, but as mentioned, many are returning to working with a travel advisor and this is why.
Travel and destination knowledge
When it comes to travel, the advice of a travel advisor is worth its weight in gold. Sure, your friends and networks may have suggestions and stories of their experiences, but travel advisors don’t just have stories, they have solutions. They have the time and knowledge to listen to your needs and then find and build the right experience for you. They have traveled the world and work closely with hotels, airlines, package providers and destinations so that they can provide you with a complete picture as they pinpoint the right vacation for you.
Access to the best value and deals
Travel advisors have relationships in every sector of travel. It’s these connections that they use to help find the best deals and trips to meet your needs. These advisors are on your side and want to create the perfect vacation for you, at the best price to fit your budget. Different from when you book your travel online, travel advisors take care of all the legwork and they save you time and money. With your requests in mind, they hit the ground running to find and provide you with a variety of options. By working with a travel advisor, you don’t have to spend hours online putting together what you think will be a perfect vacation. They have the insider tips that can help you with things like picking the right time of year to travel, telling you about the perks and benefits of one location over another plus they usually have other tricks up their sleeve. From something as simple, yet beneficial, as free room upgrades, to shipboard credits, they can give you what faceless online travel booking can’t.
We all like to be treated well and feel special. When you book online, you’re just a credit card number. However, when you work with a travel advisor, they provide a service that can make your life and travel so much simpler and less stressful. They have travel knowledge like no other and they can find you the best deals while making sure that all is covered throughout the travel booking and enjoyment phases. Just imagine being able to tell someone what you’re looking for in a travel experience and they take care of it all. Maybe it’s a cruise you want to take. An advisor will take the time to listen to what you’re looking for and provide you with the options that will fit your taste and style. Travel advisors know how to provide the service that creates hassle-free travel planning.
Ensuring you’re covered and giving you peace of mind – before, during and after your trip
Unlike booking online and hoping for the best, travel advisors only have you and your best vacation in mind. They understand all the fine print in those terms and conditions and know what visas and other documents you’ll need. And most importantly, they can work with you to find the right insurance to ensure coverage while travelling. When you book your trip with a travel advisor, ensure that they are associated with TICO/ACTA. As with these certifications you can know that your travel advisor is working within a fair and informed marketplace so that you can be confident and protected with your travel purchases. Additionally, you as a consumer will receive professional and meaningful travel counsel from your advisor. As customer service is job one for travel advisors, they are just a phone call away for any of your questions or concerns. From A to Z, your travel advisor is with you and ready to support you through this vacation experience. It’s like having a travel guardian angel in your corner that’s watching out for you and only wants you to have the best vacation possible.
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