With information generally available anytime, anywhere at our fingertips one may think the Travel Agent profession is outdated, frivolous or even dead. This is a common misconception and whether it is your first vacation or if you are a seasoned traveler, travel agents are even more important today than in the past.
Travel agents are highly experienced professionals. Travel agents sell:
• 85 percent of cruises
• 70 percent of all tours and packages
• 50 percent of all airline tickets
• 30 percent of all hotels
• 25 percent of all car rentals
Source: 2008 PhoCusWright Travel Agency Distribution Landscape Report
So others are using travel agents, but you may ask yourself, “What do they see that I don’t? I have the Internet, I know how to use those large travel sites, why do I need an agent?”
This is true; the Internet is a powerful tool. It enables an individual to research almost any topic imaginable, but at what cost? As a traveler, you can search for hours but without knowing where to look or what questions to ask that time could lead to wasted time. This is one of the many benefits of a good travel agent.
Travel agents not only know where to look but will assist you in the entire planning process from research and planning, to during the trip to following up afterward. They take classes, attend in-person training, join professional associations, and may even specialize in specific destinations and/or trips. They will also gather feedback from personal trips and previous customers to ensure they offer a vacation that meets your needs.
Travel agents can also help you save money. They are in the know and can help you watch for price drops. Through social media, e-mail lists and travel agent only portals they often know the next sale before the average traveler. Agencies my charge a nominal service fee, but in some lines of travel, such as cruises, the commission for the agent is paid by the vendor and not by you the traveler! This allows a travel agent to provide services at no additional cost to you.
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