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More Reasons to Use a Real Travel Agent

I know, I know…

I’ve said it a hundred times. But folks, it’s getting to the point where there are “travel agents” or TRAVEL AGENTS. You have to decide. Want a professional, or a computer to handle to your issues? Want a call center employee that is in a foreign country, or someone local you can trust and visit in person if necessary?

These things will mean a lot to you if you have issues down the road. It’s great that you were so proud to have booked that “dream vacation” on line last night from home on a discounter website, but let me be the first to remind you – when that same “dream vacation” becomes a “booking from HELL”, what do you do? Call that discounter? Where are they located? And can that person/computer handle your stress?

Think about all this before you push that purchase button. You’ll thank the agent you use in the long run.

I ran across this list a few months ago, but it resonates to so many of us in this industry who get frustrated FOR YOU when these happen that I had to re-share.

You were pretty smart when you asked that nice travel agent to give you price quotes for three different cruises. When she handed over all her information, you went and booked everything on your own, thinking you might save yourself some money. You didn’t realize until you got on the ship, however, that you weren’t getting all the amenities and shipboard credits she listed because those are only available to her through her agency network. Foiled again.

You booked an entire house in San Francisco on Airbnb during one of the city’s busiest travel periods. You didn’t realize, though, that Airbnb hosts can cancel reservations close in to your arrival for any reason and they did. It was too late to get a hotel room in the city so you ended up at a roadside motel 30 miles out of town. Did someone say bed bugs?

You arranged your family’s vacation all by yourself and didn’t think twice when your daughter decided she didn’t want to go with you. She can get a little testy anyway, sometimes. So you asked your niece to take her place and just assumed she could use your daughter’s airplane ticket. Not so fast, auntie. The security agent at the gate was super nice when she explained what the airline ticketing rules are but that didn’t help when you had to call your sister to tell her to come pick up her daughter. Thanksgiving dinner conversation might be a little testy this year.

The hotel you booked online said that your room was located in the villa section of the resort so you thought you were getting an actual villa to stay in. Turns out yours was one of 16 rooms in stand-alone “villa” accommodations and what you actually had was just a regular guestroom. Bummer. Who knew it would be so difficult to navigate all this travel industry lingo?

You assumed the remote city you flew to late at night had Uber service. Why wouldn’t it? So you didn’t arrange for a hotel transfer and ended up sleeping at the airport because you had to wait for cab service to begin again in the morning.

You are done talking to people and just want to communicate over your phone, so when you reserved your annual vacation online, you did it with just five clicks of the mouse. Voila! You really are smart. You were so proud of yourself you didn’t take time to read the small print on your small phone and didn’t see that your trip was completely nonrefundable, no matter what. Which was painful to learn when the new owners of the corporation you work for called a mandatory meeting for the very day you were going to depart.

Things were going really well at the airport on your way home from your trip until you heard there was a blizzard back in New York. When “cancelled” signs went up for every flight listed on the departure board your fellow passengers got on the phone with their travel agents to rebook them. But you didn’t use a travel agent, did you? You sent an email to the “info@” address listed on the website you booked your trip on, but didn’t hear back from them until the following Monday, after you’d already rented a car on your own and driven 2,000 miles to get back home.

You were so excited about that getaway with a group of your best friends. All of them booked through a travel agent but you, ever the independent soul, did it on your own because you know you are smarter than most people. What a horror that first morning when you were the only one to get a bill for your first big meal together. Turns out their travel agent had been able to get them all the valuable perk of a free breakfast, every day! The website you booked on didn’t provide that. Who knew a breakfast buffet could cost $49 anyway? This was turning in to the most expensive trip, ever.

On that same getaway, all your friends got upgraded to suites, again, because of their amazing travel agent. They each joyfully received the news when you all checked in together. But when you got to the front desk, the attendant silently handed you a keycard to a double guestroom overlooking the parking lot. When you tried to get yourself a suite, he told you your reservation was not available for upgrades but if you wanted to you could rebook for $450 a night. Later that evening your friends all came to marvel at your tiny, tiny room.

Side bar, this of course, depends on availability.. We like to call ourselves miracle workers, but it’s not always that easy! 😊

That woman at the PTA meeting said she was a travel agent and even showed you her travel agent license in her wallet. So you trusted her to book your family reunion and didn’t realize she was part of a scheme until she tried to get you to become a travel agent, too. She promised you lots of free airline and hotel benefits if you joined her network and told you it would only cost $100 to get a license, too. To boot, she still hasn’t made your vacation reservations and when you checked her Facebook page you saw she was vacationing in Cabo San Lucas. Should have used a travel agent in a recognized network that is well known in the travel industry. The people belong to what is known in the travel industry as “card mills”, where you can buy a “travel agent ID” for a fee, and get supposed discounts. BIG RED FLAG. Stay away.

Oh well, next time!

Just be safe and think about what you’re doing beforehand. We’re here to help. And most times, don’t charge you a cent more for our services to you.

Special Thanks To R. Terrero / TAC

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