Forbes Magazine ran an article outlining why you need a Travel Agent and it is spot on. The author has really understood the value a good travel agent brings. What is not mentioned in the article is how to get the best out of your Travel Agent, or travel advisor (as the article suggests). I am hoping to give a few useful tips and pointers below. Many of them might be obvious but still worth mentioning.
Travel Agents have already heard it all so there are no reasons to think that your case is embarrassing or too special. Your Travel Agent has handled everything from ash clouds, accidents 10 time zones away and everything in between. A serious Travel Agent knows that confidentiality is key and will not mention you or your business to the outside world. Be truthful of what you want from this particular trip and your Travel Agent will be able to serve you better. The more information you provide, the better the trip will be.
One good example is that if you are expecting a romantic city break in Paris with your significant other then don’t tell your travel agent you are meeting old school mates. If you say school reunion you might get suggestions for a hotel that will suite most tastes instead of that romantic get away you wished for. You will get suggestions for activities instead of that romantic and charming art gallery you actually wanted to see. Get where I am going with this?
Do not be afraid to talk.
In this day of age we are all used to working with email and IM, which is good for many types of communication. We tend to forget that a phone call or a meeting gives you impressions like tone of voice and the ability to ask follow up questions quickly. Planning a trip is about understanding the client and visualizing the right concept for her. Many times emails are shipped back and forth to answer questions that would be covered on a 5 minute call. A good Travel Agent is a good listener and not afraid to ask you questions in return.
There more the agent knows – the better your trip will be tailored for you.
Be clear on budget.
If you have a budget don’t be afraid to say so. Travel Agents appreciate to know what kind of money the customer is looking to spend and are used to work with a budget. If your budget is unrealistic the Travel Agent will tell you that politely. Maybe not what you want to hear at that point in time, but will prevent future disappointments for not getting what expected. The Travel Agent wants to see you as a returning customer and will not paint a picture of rainbows and unicorns if that is not what you are going to get.
The reason for asking is to provide the best services your money can buy, not to sell you things you do not need. As a Travel Agent it is embarrassing to pitch a luxury vacation when the budget turns out to be moderate. A bad start for both customer and Travel Agent.
Do not negotiate just because you can.
You have the full right and you definitely should question your travel agents pricing if you do not understand or if it is unclear. Please just don’t negotiate because you can or want to test the limits. Travel is a low margin business and there simply is nothing to share. Sorry!
Leave if You Do Not Get Along.
I am not saying that you should become best friends with your Travel Agen,t but you usually trust the agent with a good chunk of money and with planning your precious time. If there is no connection or trust then I recommend ou to look for someone else. As in other instances, all people does not connect and travel is no exception. The agent has to provide an extra value to you as a customer. There are some agents who are still bookers, not consultants, but I think they will disappear soon.
I hope this help you find the best travel agent who will make your trips even better and more memorable. If you have comments or tips, feel free to comment below, on Facebook or on Twitter. I would love to hear from you!
I will leave you with this picture and it´s thoughtful and wise words:
If you are a travel agent, you might find my SWOT Analysis on a travel agency useful.