There are many myths about Travel Agents. The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) addressed some of these myths.
Myth #1 – “Travel Agents are just glorified sellers of airline tickets and their time has come and gone”.
Reality – ASTA states that “Travel Agents are professionals who provide value by helping consumers cut through the clutter and save time and money. They act as travel counselors, offering personal service for clients.”
Travel Agents are still here and they are providing valuable services to their clients. According to a PhoCus Wright Travel Agency Distribution Landscape Report, in 2013 Travel Agents are expected to book:
66% of all Tours and packages
64 % of all Cruises
44% of all Airline tickets
31% of all Car Rentals
12% of all Hotels
Myth #2 – “The Internet will replace the need for Travel Agents.”
Reality – ASTA’s reply, “There are some things technology cannot replicate and personal touch is one of them.”
There is no denying that the internet has become a valuable resource. However, the Internet can not provide the expertise, knowledge and advice that a Travel Agent can.
Another area where Travel Agents excel over the Internet is the customer service they provide. When you book a trip with a Travel Agent, you have an advocate who will work on your behalf. If your flight has been cancelled or if your hotel is overbooked, you can call your Travel Agent. They will work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
ASTA notes, among other things, a Travel Agent will:
* Investigate and supply competitive information;
* Stay abreast of current promotions;
* Make recommendations on travel-related options;
* Enhance the trip with value-added benefits and amenities;
* Use their clout to obtain the best possible arrangements;
* Get problems resolved
Myth #3 – “Travel Agencies and agents are all the same.”
Reality – Every travel agency and travel agent is different. Most agencies and agents specialize in a particular area such as Disney travel, honeymoons and destination weddings or family travel or they may specialize in a destination such as Hawaii, the Caribbean or Europe. It is important for the consumer to find the right Travel Agent that meets their needs.
ASTA provides some tips on selecting the right Travel Agent for you:
* Ask around – Ask friends, neighbors, and relatives who use an agent they trust. Also, check Travel industry organizations such ASTA or the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
* Ask about fees – Not all Travel Agents charge a fee. A good agent will let you know upfront if they charge a fee.
* Check credentials – Many agents have received training in business management, travel and tourism or geography. Others have taken extensive education and training courses offered by suppliers, destinations and/or Travel industry organizations such as CLIA or the Travel Institute.
* Find out an agency’s track record – Check with the local Better Business Bureau, while keeping in mind they will only have records of agencies that have had reports filed against them.
Travel agents are still here and they are open for business. They look forward to helping clients plan vacations that will create memories that last a lifetime. When you are ready to plan your next vacation, save yourself the time and trouble – make sure you work with a Travel Agent. You’ll be glad that you did!
Enjoy this article? Receive email alerts when new articles are available. Just click the “Subscribe” button above.