There are several reasons to use a travel agent....here are the top 5.
Time is money. Travel agents save you time. You could spend hours reading reviews and looking at flights trying to figure out where to go, where to stay and what to do. A travel agent has tools available to them that make this searching easier and can provide you recommendations. If you go to an agent that specializes, (for me that is Europe), the agent has sent lots of travelers to that area and knows right away where the best options are. Even without a specialization in one area, agents have a network of other agents and vendors to help you plan your ideal trip. For those of you interested in a cruise, travel agents book dozens (or even hundreds) of cruises in a year. They know the difference between one cruise line and another (and one room type vs another or which ships have specific ammenities). This is especially true of agents that are CLIA certified (like me!). CLIA certifies agents that have attained a level of knowledge and sold a minimum number of cruises.
Agents can also save you money. Agents often get the best prices available. I belong to a consortium of agents that yields huge buying power. Hotels, airfare, cruises, tours, car rentals all want agents to book their product. Agents get the same price or better than you can find on your own more than 90% of the time. If you find a better price, tell me. I will make sure the deal is the same (for example, some advertised deals don’t include taxes and fees). If it is the same deal, I will do my best to match it. I value you as a customer and want to keep that relationship strong.
Agents help you during the planning process. When you book with an on-line company (Orbitz, Expedia, Costo, etc), you are buying a product. When you book travel with an agent, you are buying an experience. I am here to answer your questions before, during and after your travel. I am also here to help you plan other parts of your travel experience---hotels, tours, guides, car rentals, transportation to and from the airport, etc.
Agents are there for you when something goes wrong. We work to fix the problem so you can enjoy your vacation. Agents have relationships with travel companies--if business A doesn’t deliver as promised, they know they will potentially lose all future business from me….and that I might share that experience with my agent friends in the consortium I mentioned. So, companies are motivated to make it right. Plus, I’m happy to go to bat for you and say something is not acceptable----that can be hard to do when you are fighting for yourself…and is that really how you want to spend your vacation?
Using an agent is a personalized experience. I like to get to know my clients and understand how you like to travel.. With that information in hand, I can make recommendations tailored just for you. I can weed through everything that isn’t a good fit and present you with a few options to consider. To me, this is a partnership to build memorable travel experiences. Nothing I do is “cookie-cutter”. Everything is customized based on what you want. If you ask me to send you a quote for some cruises in August going to Greece, that is what I will do. If you say you want to hike and stay in agroturismos in Italy, I will recommend options. If you say I want to go somewhere warm for $2000 or less, I can give you some choices (unless the warm place is in the Maldives in which case I will explain that we either need to change the budget or the destination).
So, now that we have the agent part down, what are the benefits of using an independent company like Unraveled Travel.
I am a small business owner. The money I make goes back into our community. I donate 5% of my profits to a charity every year.
You get me when you call or e-mail. There are no automated call systems or standard reply e-mails.
I am a military spouse and understand the complexities of being a military family (PCS season, deployments, etc).
I have traveled to more than 60 countries and have a passion for travel. I travel nearly every month to see a new destination or hotel or cruise line to help me learn more about the places I plan travel. I take on line trainings for the places I haven’t visited to continue my education.
I am both CLIA certified and a Certified Leisure Travel Specialist. Training, education and experience make me a better agent.