Have you ever used a travel agent? I mean, a real live one, not one of those discount web sites? Did you even know that we are still out there? I get it, this is the information age. Everything is at our fingertips and we thrive on instant gratification. You may be saying, “I can get a much better deal than what a travel agent can get.” Or, “I like to plan my own vacation.” I am going to break down some common travel agent myths for you!
Top 10 Travel Agent Myths
10. I like to plan my own vacation. I can’t do that with a travel agent.
Not true! Talk to your agent and let them know you want to be more involved in the process. You are making LESS work for them…they will not have a problem with that.
9. Travel agents only book certain locations.
I’ll give you halfsies on this one. Some travel agents specialize in certain destinations; however, often they also book more than just that one destination.
8. The process takes longer with a travel agent.
False. Your travel agent should be available to you (at their posted business hours) and prompt.
7. Travel agents smell funny.
Eh. Not all of us. But, if you deal with a home-based agent this will be a moot point.
6. I don’t want to feel pressured by a salesy-agent.
A good agent should listen to your wants and quote based on them. You will not feel pressured!
5. I probably know more than the agent!
Maybe…but probably not. Even home-based agents go through a lot of training. Make sure you select a travel agent that is knowledgeable about your destination. For instance, when going to Disney, use an agent who has been through a Disney Agent Education Program. If you are going on a cruise, an agent who has a CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) designation will have had extensive training.
4. Once I book, they won’t help me anymore.
Definitely false! Placing your deposit, or even paying in full is just the beginning. Your agent will work with you to plan an itinerary. For instance, this is where a Disney expert has great value. Touring plans, and dining reservations make your Disney experience really magical!
3. Travel agents are just a middleman. I don’t need to involve another person in the transaction.
Another one I will go halfsies on with you. We are a middleman in the transaction. However, I am willing to bet most of you use middlemen all the time, in the form of discount web sites. The difference is, a travel agent offers quality customer service. I am on call 24/7 for traveling clients, and can guarantee that I will be a much better advocate than any discount site if a problem should arise.
2. I am locked in to their price once I deposit with an agent.
Not always. Depending on the vendor, and the fare booked, most of the time we can adjust the rate to the lowest possible. For instance, when Disney comes out with a new promotion, I will sit on the phone (for hours) and make sure that the new rate is applied to your booking. That’s right, I take hours out of my day to get you the best deal, and make less money!
1. I can’t afford an agent. They are always more expensive.
This is a resounding no! As your agent, I am paid directly by the vendor, which means my services are complimentary. Let me try that again…my services are free to you. I know, you are thinking that the vendor marks up the price so that they can pay me? Wrong again!
Using a local travel agent also has another great value: you are supporting local.
Melisa Kriz is a travel agent, and owner, at Run Away Vacations and Vend Raleigh Directory Member. She is a Disney College of Knowledge Graduate and a CLIA member who is in the process of obtaining the ACC (Accredited Cruise Counsellor) designation. She is married, and has three sons ages 6, 4, and 10 months old. Melisa loves to run in her spare time!