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  • JoAnn Gustave

3 reasons why you need a travel advisor now more than ever!

Updated: Feb 1, 2021



Earlier this year I read a post from a very popular travel influencer, whom I will choose not to name, dismissing travel agents and telling people everything they could do themselves. I thought about calling her out but didn’t because frankly, it does get tiring trying to explain that having a travel consultant is to your advantage and doesn’t necessarily cost you more money -- It is usually the opposite. At my agency, we mostly charge fees for plane tickets, Free Independent Travelers (FIT travel arrangement consultation) or extensive travel research.


Occasionally, I will tell my friends and clients to go directly to an airline’s website to book a flight or do so for them, even use other travel sites to book a service like a transfer if it is a better option. Many credit card companies offer reward programs to their customers or people accumulate airline mileage by being loyal to a certain brand.


One thing that people do not understand is that most often, it doesn’t cost more money to use an agent to book services such as a cruise, a tour, a simple hotel night or even a simple transfer. Not only do these companies pay a commission on the same rate you will get, but often they give us other incentives for our clients like room upgrades, private cocktail parties, shipboard credit, late check-out or early check-in, etc. They also keep us in the loop for deals and we have direct contact with sales managers from these companies and are able to fight for you in case we have to.


Now that the world is in total chaos due to COVID-19, where people are stranded in foreign countries and scrambling to come back home, insurance companies, airlines and tour companies are having 2 to 72 hour long waits for call backs. This has led to some companies going out of business, leaving future and current travel plans in limbo, people are starting to realize the value of having someone on your side.




People are starting to realize the value of having someone on your side.


The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has long tried to tell people that “Without a travel Agent, you are on your own” and this couldn’t be truer today. While travel is widely accessible to all, especially the millennial age group, it is situations like these that show the importance and the vitality of having a travel agent. Here are some things you need to understand:

We live and breathe travel.

Unlike you, we literally spend our days working on travel and solving cases related directly to travel. While you may be using work hours or your downtime to research your options, we have most of these answers figured out and if we don’t, we know the right person to get the answers you need.


We do not panic.

Many people have reacted either out of fear or not soon enough. The agency I work for opened its doors the same year I was born. They’ve survived 9/11, the Ebola outbreak, the Australian bush-fires and many other crises that have prepared them for a situation like the one we are in today. I cannot tell you how grateful our clients are when they know that we are here for them. We are constantly monitoring the industry and all the new cancellation policy updates from a number of companies. I was shocked to hear that a family paid over $20,000 to leave Europe in fears that they would not be able to come back home.



We are constantly monitoring the industry and all the new cancellation policy updates from a number of companies.


We get the job done!

While we always suggest travel insurance, we do assist those who do not have it. Just this last week I was able to cancel a number of cruises and tours for clients and in some cases have been able to get them future perks on rebooked trips because we advised them in the right direction. A lot of people are in a state of panic and making decisions on a whim. We give you all the options before making a final decision. Some of us even worked on the weekends to rebook flights, cancel hotel nights, start insurance claims and reschedule entire trips for clients who are currently out of the country. Having that peace of mind is priceless.


Sure, I cannot vouch for every single travel consultant out there, but the company I represent has been in business for 36 years. Always make sure that the agent you are working with is backed by a reputable agency. The agency is also part of a very well-known travel consortium, ENSEMBLE, and has been recognized by top companies such as Crystal Cruises, Viking, Abercrombie & Kent, TAUCK Tours, to name a few, as top performers in the industry.


I can’t say that I like people calling me to get the cheapest airline tickets for trips to Vegas or similar destinations either. However, I thoroughly enjoy planning dream vacations, scouting new destinations, advising people about places I have visited, suggesting restaurants and must-sees. I also work with an incredible team of people who have extensive travel experience and are super knowledgeable in the industry.

It has been a tough past couple of months for us having to deal with the impact of the pandemic on the travel industry. However, I am confident that travel will come back stronger and everyone will not only understand the luxury of travel, but appreciate the ones who work hard to keep it alive. #Hospitalitystrong

Love and light,

JoAnn

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