It's National Travel Agent Day! For me, that means many emails from various suppliers, expressing gratitude for the work that I do. I am thankful to be part of such a dynamic industry, doing a job that I love and look forward to daily. I truly believe I have the best career in the world. However, as I reflect on my business, I realize that many people still don't really understand my role as a travel planner. As such, here are 5 things your travel agent wants you to know.
1. My Services are Complimentary Yes, free. No charges, no service fees, no hidden costs. I have tried and tried again to make this known, telling anyone who will listen, posting it on social media, etc. Yet, not a week goes by when someone doesn't comment that they thought I charge a fee. Or, sometimes I'm in dialogue with a potential client and she asks me when I will be sending my bill. Friends, suppliers pay me to help you. I don't charge a cent.
2. Not All Vacations Are Created Equal A cruise to Alaska isn't just a cruise to Alaska. The whole experience will vary based on which cruise ship you select, and if you fit in well with the demographic of that particular brand. Additionally, a "tour" through Europe can mean many different things as far as inclusions, additional costs, activity level, travel style, etc. If you're going to invest in a vacation, it's important to weigh all of the information. Therefore, shouldn't you trust someone who has spent thousands of hours studying and experiencing travel destinations? The "best deal" online might not be the best fit for you.
3. You Don't Have to Give Up Control I often hear people say, " I enjoy researching trips, so I don't need a travel agent." There is a misconception that using an agent means they lose control over planning, or giving up the right to do research. Actually, what I do as an agent blends beautifully with any type of traveler. I have avid planners who research every detail and then tell me exactly what they want to book. I have others who only have a vague notion of where they hope to go, and trust me to pull together suggestions based on their criteria. No matter how much research you like to do, together we make an even stronger team.
4. I Help You Save Money Honestly, you will never save money by booking directly with a cruise line or tour operator instead of using my services. I own my own business, but I am a member of two large, industry-leading organizations. This allows me to receive special pricing and promotions, as well as book in to group space on many departures. In one recent example, my cruisers saved $900 on their Celebrity Cruise because we were able to secure them space in a consortium group. You simply don't have this buying power as an individual.
5. I Care About You I realize that these vacation moments are precious, not just in the money spent, but in the memories created with your family. Therefore, when you are traveling, I worry about you. I breathe a huge sigh of relief when you've boarded your cruise ship as expected. While you are gone, I think about you, checking social media for pictures and hoping you are having a fabulous time. When things go wrong, I am here to help. You are never left to solve a problem on your own, as I will be working to get everything corrected while you continue to enjoy your vacation.
You trust me with your dreams, your financial resources, and your precious time. It is a privilege to take those elements and blend them together for a remarkable journey. Along the way, I get to know you, and a little bit about your life. Often, I am the first to know about sickness or a new baby on the way. I help celebrate your milestones, and mourn your losses. My life is richer through serving you in this special way, and I am privileged to call many of my clients friend. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the pleasure of serving you.
Lisa is the travel loving, animal adoring, Mickey Mouse hugging owner of Dreams Delivered Travel.