The Truth about Travel Agents
Travel agents are one of the most misrepresented groups in the media. In this post, I’m going to demystify some common myths.
1. We're advisors, not agents.
Many travel professionals are shying away from the term “agent” because the word conjures up the image of travel agents sitting in cubicles, headsets on, clacking away at the computer or buried underneath product brochures.
In one way, they’re right - this kind of agent is out there but there is a new generation of agents and they’re calling themselves, “advisors.”
Advisors are adventurers and explorers, testing out destinations before they recommend them to their clients. They are certified experts and they go through rigorous training to be qualified. They objectively figure out which vendors work best for you and they’re not afraid to say “no” to your suggestions.
Advisors are not order takers; they are tastemakers and curators of experiences.
Thanks to Buzzfeed and Forbes, clients are realizing that travel advisors are back and better than ever.
2. We prioritize quality over savings.
When polled, potential customers all cited that the reason they don’t work with travel advisors is because they are afraid advisors are “too expensive” or that it’s “less expensive” to book it themselves.
I’m going to address the elephant in the room - it’s true, luxury advisors like myself are more expensive.
Yes, we can match online prices, negotiate with our partners for lower rates, and save you hundreds of dollars per day by supplying you with spa credits and free room upgrades. When you add that all up, it’s A LOT of savings.
But in general, when you contact a luxury travel agent, it’s likely going to be more expensive because you are paying for top QUALITY.
Everything, from the cars that pick you up to the tour guides we handpick, is held to a higher standard than anything you can find online. You work with me because you want what you can’t get online and that is high quality experiences and products.
Think of it this way, if you were re-designing your living room, you could do it yourself and risk a Pinterest fail or you could hire an interior designer you’ve followed for months on Instagram and produce your very own drool-worthy space.
Certainly, the interior designer is the more expensive route but if you’re happy with the result then you’re happy with the experience.
It’s the same with a luxury travel advisor - the best of the best is worth the price!
3. We work slow and steady.
Some advisors love to turn around a proposal in 24 hours and certainly, that does help compete with the instantaneous satisfaction you normally get from booking direct online, but I approach everything with slow and steady consideration.
Here’s most people’s experience when they plan their own travels: they scour the internet for reviews, often having 10 or more browsers open while they hop from Expedia to TripAdvisor to Airbnb, constantly comparing the prices, the reviews, and the pictures of each location.
After a few hours or maybe even days or weeks, they finally come to a decision (or they’re just plain sick of thinking about it) and they finally click the “Book Now!” button.
In their haste to plan, they forgot to check the distance to the airport or look to see what is next door to that gorgeous picture they thought was unaltered. When they arrive, they realize their hotel is in a remote part of town and there is massive construction going on next door.
On the other hand, an advisor is takes their time to search distances not only from the airport but also to the closest wine bar they know you’ll love. We consider the neighborhood, the sense of place, how it relates to the rest of your itinerary, and we receive live updates from our vendors about what’s going on in the hotel or surrounding areas.
Do you want to see an unaltered photo of a hotel that’s not from 2010? No problem. An advisor quickly texts a hotel friend and has a live update for you.
Every detail is carefully chosen for you so you can have the ultimate peace of mind.
Isn’t that worth waiting a few weeks for?
4. We are ahead of the travel trends.
You spend hours researching Trip Advisor, travel blogs, and Instagram so you must be a travel expert, right? Not exactly.
Travel advisors eat, breathe, sleep, and live travel. We are doing the research and also traveling to unique destinations so we can find the best of the best for our clients. We easily spend 40 hours planning one trip.
Take, for example, the Rainbow Mountain in Peru. On Instagram, it looks like a candy colored dream land full of bright colors and natural wonders.
In reality, our expert Peru advisors won't go near it - not only because the colors are actually more dull in real life but also because it's a dangerous trek with no infrastructure in place. Imagine climbing a mountain with no trails and surrounded by tourists who are coming in by the busload.
Not only is it crowded and unsafe, but it is also incredibly damaging to the natural environment.
A travel advisor would instead suggest you go somewhere off the beaten path and learn from locals for a truly immersive experience. How about kayaking down a river to a secluded textile market where you can support local women and play with alpacas?
5. We care.
THIS is why you go to a travel advisor. Corporations like Airbnb and Expedia don't lose sleep at night over your trip but you can bet your bottom dollar that travel advisors do!
If something goes wrong, we're on the phone fixing it. If something goes well, we are joyfully celebrating with you! We live vicariously through your trips and we love building life long relationships with you.
We want to plan your Honeymoon, your Anniversaries, your Babymoons, your Family Trips, and your Retirement journeys!
Travel advisors are people pleasers, friendly, and easy to speak with. They are knowledgeable friends who can help elevate your travel game!
Now that you know the truth about travel advisors, would you use one?