Over the past decade the number of people who plan their own vacations has gone up tremendously. In fact, less than ten percent of leisure travelers use a travel agent or travel planner when booking their vacations. This information comes from PhoCusWright, which is a research firm.
These numbers are surprising considering that even for experienced travelers booking and planning a complicated trip online can be a daunting task. Not only can it be daunting, it is also time consuming and no one today has the time to deal with it.
First, you have to decide where to begin your search. There are many choices of online travel agencies such as Expedia. There are also direct sites for airlines, hotels, etc. as well as travel aggregators such as Kayak and even review sites such as TripAdvisor.
Even when you find a place to start you then have to read all of the fine print such as the cost of changes, unbundled add ons from airlines, and whatever else might pop up. This can be quite a headache, but it is something that you will have to do in order to avoid being scammed.
Finally, there is the time that it will take to put together all of the pieces of the trip. Often times once you book your flight, hotel, etc, you are not eligible for refunds. These are all just reasons to use a travel planner.
Travel Advisors are the New Travel Agents
As with almost every industry in the world, travel agents have had to change the way they operate since the internet came into play. Instead of simply booking transactions or taking orders from their clients, travel agents now often function as a travel advisor. These people work with their clients in order to sort through information to make an informed decision about the trip you want to take.
Agents learn all about their clients and then create travel plans for their clients based on their personal preferences. These preferences may include anything from where they like to sit on the plane to the type of car that they like to drive when they arrive.
Currently, most people who decide to use a travel agent are over the age of 45 and tend to take more complex trips and spend more on them. Even individuals that choose to use a travel agent will still often do their own research online according to some studies.
If you are planning to travel, there are definitely many benefits to consider using a travel advisor for your trip. Here are just 6 of the top reasons why you should choose to use a travel advisor.
1 You are not an Expert
Travel agents are experts in the field. They have studied this area of business and may be able to come up with options for your vacation that you have not considered. There are some travel agents who are generalists and can help with trips to anywhere. Other travel advisors specialize in specific niches such as cruises. If you use an agent to book your cruise chances are they will be familiar with all of the different lines, cabins, and excursions.
2. You want it to be Done Right
There are some trips that can become quite complicated. For example, if you are traveling to a foreign country things can become a bit complicated. Perhaps you are planning a trip to help someone special celebrate a birthday or you are trying to coordinate a trip with some friends or family members. Instead of trying to do this all yourself and risking making mistakes, a travel planner can complete these tasks and make sure that everything goes smoothly on your trip.
3. Money Saving Connections
When it comes to travelling, saving money is a concern for almost everyone. This is where a travel agent can really help. There are several agencies that have grouped together in order to form a large consortia. This provides the travel agent with leverage to negotiate with different travel suppliers and this will work in your favor in many ways.
For example, Virtuose is one of the largest networks and encompasses 340 travel agencies. It employs over 8900 agents in 20 different countries. The company has $12.5 billion of purchasing power and because of this their advisors can help secure upgrades to your hotel room, get complimentary breakfasts, and possibly even provide you with spa credits to use. You will be treated like a VIP when you become a client of one of these networks.
Planning a trip takes time and if you are like most people you simply do not have enough time to complete your everyday tasks, much less take on a new task of trying to find the best deals for your trip.
5. Provides a Safety Net
Everyone knows that even though a trip is planned, things do not always turn out as expected. Flights can be cancelled, luggage can be lost, passports get lost, or someone gets sick and simply cannot go. When something like this happens it is reassuring to have someone to call that can help you resolve any of these issues that you may experience.
6. Personal Experience
Perhaps the number one reason that you should use a travel planner for your next vacation is because these planners will provide you with a personal experience that you do not have to do much work for.
Travel planners create experiences for you and your family that you may not even think of. These travel specialists know how best customize your trip to meet your specific needs and desires. They work for you so that you can focus your energy on doing other things until you have to pack and get ready to take your trip.
When you are planning a trip, consider hiring a travel planner for some much needed help. These professionals will help plan out your trip so that you do not have to spend the time doing it.
With that being said, it is important to make sure that you search for a travel advisor that will meet your needs. You will want to talk to several travel agents in order to find one who has the experience that you are looking for combined with a good chemistry to meet your needs. Cost should also be considered.
The price of hiring a travel agent will vary based on what you have them do for you. There are some travel agents that will charge $50 to simply book your airline tickets, while others may charge a flat fee for planning specific types of trips.
It may seem that hiring a travel agent will just add more costs to your trip, the cost is well worth the time and disappointment that hiring an agent can have. Travel planners will help you manage your leisure time, which is often your most valuable asset.