10 Tips on Working with Travel Agents
If you have not used a travel agent before, it could be daunting not knowing where to start and how to work with one.
We’re interested to see the latest statistics on who uses agents and why in a new study by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). The April 22, 2015 Traveler Decision Making Study by Lodestar Advisory Partners for ASTA and Carnival Cruise Lines said of the 3,000 U.S. travelers who took the survey:
- 92 percent who used a travel agent expect to use one again.
- 72 percent said agents make travel planning easy.
- 69 percent said if something goes wrong, an agent is there to take care of it, and them.
- 68 percent said agents are great for booking special trips.
- 61 percent said agents have the knowledge to plan a better vacation.
- 59 percent said agents still have access to better deals than they can find themselves.
The data in this study also suggests an interesting piece of information among the generation of millennials—41 percent used a travel agent in the past 12 months. The study also noted “the typical travel agent customer is younger, more affluent, a racial minority, male, travels frequently and most often travels alone.”
With all of these being said, we thought it would be helpful to offer a few tips and benefits on working with travel agents. We hope this information will be helpful to those trying out the services of travel agents for the first time and those that have worked with travel agents before!
- General research
In order to spend your time wisely with a travel agent, conduct some research in advance. It’s helpful to have an idea of the type of vacation you would like to have and when you’d like to go. Your travel agent can then help you narrow down exactly what you want and weigh your options. (If you have no clue, agents can still help you!)
- Booking window
A general rule of thumb is to allow for eight months prior to the date of your departure to start conversations with a travel agent. Agents can find great deals the earlier you begin planning.
Travel agents don’t always charge extra fees. There are many travel agents, including our company, who are only compensated through the resort, hotel, cruise line or airline. We do not pass any fees on to the customer. So you, our valued customer gain all of our expertise at no cost!
- Reliability and connections
Good agents have connections and work with reliable vendors. Their clients get the VIP treatment and are assured that everything runs smoothly. Imagine a much greater chance of free room upgrades, hard-to-get restaurant reservations, cutting lines, private guides, and cheaper premium airfares.
Look for agents that specialize in what you are looking for to get the most out of your vacation. For more than 25 years, we have been operating in Fiji and have built a wealth of knowledge about these very special islands that we believe is valuable to our clients.
- Safety net
Agents are great for booking a honeymoon or special trips because—let’s face it—a lot is on the line and it’s a relief knowing that your travel agent is there if anything goes wrong. Knowing you don’t have to worry about plans can be a huge piece of mind for you while on a special vacation.
- Late bookings
Waiting until the last minute will not get you the best deal when booking a special occasion vacation where the details matter. If you are looking for a last-minute deal, travel agents could be limited in their options the later you wait.
- Cut through the noise
The Internet can create information overload! Clients tell us all the time that searching online for the perfect vacation deals and what to do can get overwhelming. Nowadays, travelers have access to so much information regarding travel; it is helpful to have someone you trust to cut through all the clutter and save you time.
- Ask a million questions
Generally, complex itineraries require more expertise from a professional. And those are usually the trips where the traveler has dozens of questions. Agents are there to answer as many questions as you have! Internet options cannot offer you the same level of detail or get to know you and your preferences.
Travel agents can often beat any other prices available (even online). Many times, online bookings can result in hidden fees you didn’t know about. Your travel agent will be able to tell you up front what everything will cost and compare it to what you’re looking at online. In many cases, the agent can price match using their suppliers and possibly get you extras that booking on your own can’t.
When you have a good agent, you have someone you can turn to with all your questions; they save you time planning the details and give you peace of mind while on your vacation.