The television news magazine “20/20” reported the results of a test in which travel agents beat consumers at uncovering the best airfares. However, it is much more than the “lowest fare” that provides that compelling argument for a good travel agent.
The best thing an agent can do is to match up a traveler with the vacation that’s right for them. The professional travel consultant builds relationships with their clients to learn their interests and lifestyles, as well as their dispositions. Below is a top 10 list of some of the important services, which are either provided free or for a nominal charge, by travel agents:
- Distilling the Product Information
Through an on-going and time-consuming process of familiarization, continuing education and customer feedback, the agent becomes a travel expert.
- Investigating and Supplying Competitive Information
No single supplier is going to advise a consumer that a better route or a better fare is available on a competing carrier.
- Staying Abreast of the Most Current and Timely Promotions
Via daily faxes, agent-only E-mail transmissions, and their relationships with their district sales managers, agents are obtaining the most current promotional information.
- Analyzing the Current Promotions
The cheapest is not always the best
- Clarifying the Fine Print, Such as Cancellation Penalties and Restrictions
Again, the benefits of a professional’s experience can save a traveler money—and headaches.
- Making Recommendations for Travel-Related Options
Travel agents share the experience and knowledge they accumulate about a variety of travel topics—from where to eat, where to shop and what to pack.
- Simplifying the Research and Subsequent Transaction
Like a personal shopper, agents can provide one-stop shopping for travelers who require air arrangements, rental cars, cruise accommodations and hotel stays—with suggestions that are in the best interest of the client, not the supplier.
- Enhancing the Trip with Value-Added Benefits and Amenities
Agents can add to the clients’ experience by sending a bottle of wine, providing a special land package, a specific escort or other custom amenities.
- Using Their Clout to Obtain the Best Possible in Seemingly Impossible Situations
Whether it’s airline seats, hotel rooms or cruise space, the travel agent has more buying power than the consumer.
- Getting Problems Resolved
The agent serves as the consumers’ advocate, in the event something inadvertently goes wrong.