Why Should I Use a Travel Agent?
Whenever I tell someone what I do, I'm prepared to hear one of the following: "Do Travel Agents still exist?! Doesn't everyone book online? Why should I use a travel agent?"
Yes, travel agents still exist and in many ways, we believe the business is thriving because it's become information overload online. People usually start off excited about planning a trip but quickly become frustrated & overwhelmed with the options available when researching online. We agents often have to validate what we do and prove to new clients that we really do save them time & money. It's a very misunderstood career, but one that I personally love and can't imagine doing anything else. Yes, I get to travel to the most wonderful places... it's what I consider the ultimate perk. However, travel is about 10% of the job. The rest is an enormous amount work and dedication.
Hopefully, this blog can help clear up some of this confusion by explaining things about what we do on a daily basis and convince you to give us a try. My goal is to get you to stop asking yourself "why should I use a travel agent?" and make the usage of a travel agent your default when planning trips. We bet you won't be disappointed!
We Take a Trip from Ordinary to Extraordinary
Have you noticed the tagline on Shoreline Destination's website? "An Effortless Way to Plan Extraordinary Vacations". It's our motto and one we believe we live up to. A travel advisor can secure special benefits that you can’t get on your own, or ensure that your special requests are noted and fulfilled. But we also see the nuances in every trip. From big-picture aspects (where to go & when) to the small details that matter to you, we know how to plan a memorable trip. We are also very confident in our recommendations and know you'll come home satisfied that it was money well spent and time well taken.
We Have a Hands on Approach to Travel Advice
Just as you might use a financial planner, real estate agent or accountant for advise, it makes sense to entrust your valuable vacation time to an experienced travel advisor. The best advisors spend a lot of time traveling themselves. We are always up to date on the latest & greatest cruise ships and resorts. We travel to destinations to do site inspections of hotels, or boarding ships for a few hours to check out staterooms & ship amenities. Travel agents do not always get “free” trips. We invest our own money and especially our time to travel and visit the destinations we recommend. We work very hard to establish relationships with contacts on-property. I believe these relationships are integral & the most valuable asset in the industry to have. There is nothing better than to be able to call/email a resort contact abroad regarding a special request or question and have it answered in a timely manner.
We do not cost more... Really
Hotels, vacation package companies and cruise lines already include travel agent commissions in their published prices. If you do all the work yourself online, they keep the difference they would have paid an agent. Thus, using the services of a travel agent means you get the customer service you deserve but aren't paying any more for it. That price that you see online is the same price we get and in many cases, our price is less! It truly is a win-win.
Any good travel agent knows it’s not about making the sale; it's about having happy clients & creating lasting relationships with them. We are thrilled when we can save our clients money! We aren't "married" to one resort brand or cruise line. We make our recommendations based on the specific needs and requests presented to us. Satisfied clients become fans of our company & come back to us for every other trip they are considering. Our business is based on word of mouth, and there is no way we would be successful if we didn't have our clients who recommend our company to others. We pride ourselves on the number of repeat clients we have and referral based new clients. It means we are doing our job and doing it well.
Travel agents are privy to special flight prices, special hotel and cruise cabin rates that consumers will never find online themselves. This feature alone will save you money. Beyond pricing, good travel agents have the ability to get extra amenities like ship-board credits, special resort welcome amenities & more.
We Expand Your Horizons
A great travel advisor will help you think creatively about where to go and what to do. Your advisor knows the best ways to see new destinations; plus new ways to experience the places you’ve already visited. Together, you can plan your next dream trip or weekend getaway.
For those that love planning their own trips (or don't know any other way) we just ask that you give us a try. What normally would take someone hours and hours of research, we can have narrowed down by the time we have hung up the phone with you or finished reading your email. You can be as involved as you want in the planning process and we try to provide multiple resort options or cruise itineraries based on the information provided. We then follow up to answer questions & help you make your final decision. We have a very good idea even before we send a few options to a client as to which property or destination is the best fit. However, it's important that clients have options to think about. It makes the final choice easier and helps people feel that there isn't something "better" out there.
We Manage Every Aspect of Your Reservation
We Understand the Fine Print & Want You Protected- Most people don’t bother reading any of the fine print terms and conditions of their travel documents until it’s too late. This can lead to costly mistakes. Travel Agents are well versed in these rules, terms and conditions. We can help navigate and protect you and your travel investment. A good agent will always discuss insurance. It's the one component of the trip that no one wants to discuss or pay for. However, we know how valuable it can be and
We Have Specialized Expertise - At our agency, we specialize in a few different facets of travel. Family & multi generational vacations are a large base of our business. However, we also specialize in romance travel which is comprised of honeymoons, destination weddings and more specifically; Indian Destination Weddings. Within our agency, we have agents who are solely Disney experts while others have experience in Europe/Caribbean & Mexico. If we don’t have an in- house person who is an expert on a destination or type of trip, we collaborate with other professionals for guidance. We will refer our clients to them if we do not feel we can provide the level of expertise needed on a trip. Even though serious travel agents invest in their own travel to gain experience, we can't specialize in every destination in the world. That said, Shoreline Destinations has a trusted network & relationships established in the industry for just about every type of travel or destination. We know exactly who to call to get the answers our clients need.
We Manage Your Reservation from Beginning to End - It's our responsibility once your trip is booked to monitor your reservation. Many times there are multiple payment deadlines, tours that need to be added & transfers included. We are normally touching a reservation 4-5 times before a client leaves for their trip. We still believe in the "old school" way of providing final document packages with everything printed and organized. While some prefer the paperless method, we are't there yet. Our clients still love receiving our packages in the mail and appreciate that they can at a glance, have everything they need for travel in one document holder.
When you book with us, we are with you every step of the way. If you run into any issues, we can get things resolved in a timely manner so you don’t have to waste valuable vacation time problem solving. Frankly, (knock on wood) those calls from a client at a property are extremely rare. We'd like to think it's because we've recommended the right property from the start and that we have done our due diligence in ensuring what you booked is what you are going to receive. In the rare instance that you need to make a travel insurance claim (normally based on weather related issues) we will continue to monitor the claim with you and make sure problems are solved to your satisfaction.
Why Should I Use a Travel Agent?
I believe great agents can prove themselves in the first contact they have with a potential client. I also believe that once someone finds an agent they can trust, they don't really even second guess contacting them for all future trips. So while anyone can go online and book a trip, those that are "in the know" and use a travel agent are in my opinion, more satisfied overall.
There is no doubt after speaking to one of us that it is clear that we are passionate about what we do. Who doesn't love talking about travel?! It's something we look forward to every day. Well almost every day... even we need a vacation from the vacations! In all seriousness, we are fortunate that we get to help our clients explore the world, check items off their bucket lists, create memories with their loved ones & come home with amazing experiences to share with others.
The next time you are ready to start planning an adventure, we promise you we'll be here... we're just getting started.