Many are often confused when it comes to the role of a travel agent and what it is that a travel agent is… and is not.
The best way to think of a travel agent is a person who is educated in the nuances of different destinations and travel styles, and who is your advocate in making the travel planning process easier for you and in ensuring that you have the best trip possible.
When seeking a high-quality travel professional it is best that you check their agency registration information and their level of education.
The best travel professionals will hold either a CTA (Certified Travel Associate) or CTC (Certified Travel Counselor) designation. Other qualifications would be a DS (Destination Specialist) or LS (Lifestyle Specialist) listing. Cruise agents will have, or being working towards, their ACC (Accredited Cruise Counselor) certification. Travel Agents holding these designations will be able to offer you the best prepared trips at the best overall values.
As many travel people only work part time as a hobbyist with little interest in pursuing their own educations to keep up to date on the destinations and /or the travel styles, having an educated professional in your corner will provide you with a much better trip experience.
Some travel hobbyist’s also do not carry the necessary state or city registrations or licenses. Lack of these required items can result in problems for both the agent .. and for you… should their lack of compliance be discovered prior to your travels. With a registered travel professional you will not face these issues.
Additionally, a quality travel agent will offer much more than a basic internet search can provide. In addition to offering equal or better pricing then the internet, travel agents can receive tickets to Disneyland or other attractions for a unique price unavailable to the general public. Agent’s can also use their personal connections with travel suppliers to give you better options then working with a computer can offer.
While traveling is a normal part of a travel agent’s job, it is not a vacation. Rather trips are to designed to discover the new elements of a destination and to visit and get updated information on hotels. This information allows a travel agent to offer you a better trip.
In sum, a travel agency’s major job is to function as an agent, selling travel services and products that will best meet their client’s individual needs.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Travel Agent
As mentioned earlier, ongoing training in destinations, travel styles and hotels is critical for a travel agent to have. Travel destinations and elements change all the time and keeping up-to-date allows a travel agent to offer you the best trip.
As travel professionals work with all types of people knowing another language is essential for people who want to be a travel agent.
A travel agent should also have a strong grasp of the different travel documents such as passports, visas and immigration papers (among others)necessary in travel and an understanding of how to obtain these documents for their clients.
Knowing the nuances of a destination will allow the travel agent to put together a high quality itinerary for the client that perfectly matches their travel interests and desires. As people today want hand-picked tips for their specific tastes and interests, when a travel agent knows what the client desires, they can provide you with something different perfectly matched to you.
What a travel agent should not be is simply an “Order Taker” who just slaps together what you think you may want. Rather taking the time to get to know you will allow them to offer added suggestions to you to provide you with a better more customized trip.
Choosing Good Travel Agent
As previously noted, the top thing to look for when seeking a quality travel agent is their level of education and that the agency is fully registered and licensed.
Take care not to focus on lowest price. But rather remember that you get what you pay for. “Cheapest” does not always mean the best. What you save up front may end up costing you hundreds or thousands in the future.
With the arrival of the world-wide web, a customer’s approach to the travel business has undergone a drastic shift. Many now research on their own and seek the “Cheapest” price. That’s fine, but truthfully these clients are not the right clients for a travel agent.
A travel agent is for someone who seeks a high quality trip free of travel challenges and errors all at a best value price.
Also, an element to look at is Multi-Specialization and Niche Agencies. Agencies that specialize in a limited number of niches can often provide you a better travel experience in those areas important to you as that is what they focus on all the time. Multi- Specialization agencies will still often be able to offer you what you seek but do so in a “wider brush” presentation.
Travel Agent at a Glance
So as you see travel agents are not a dying breed. Yet at the same time, they come in many different styles and education levels. Working with a properly licensed, Certified travel agent who specializes in your travel need and /or destination will provide you with a top of the line, value packed travel experience.
Should you wish to experience the positive difference working with a high-quality travel professional can offer you, Travel N Relax would be happy to assist you. We appreciate your consideration of our services.