Do Travel Agents Still Exist?
How many times have I heard this question when I say that I’m a Travel Agent! The answer is; oh yes!
If you’re like many budget travelers, you probably started booking
your own trips online yourself in the early 2000’s and assumed that travel agents were extinct. That’s actually the farthest thing from the truth. Sure, there’s not a travel agency on every corner as there once was, but agents are very much in demand.
How often have you spent hours on your computer searching for the best travel deals without results, and just getting more and more frus-trated? When you work with a travel agent, she does the legwork, searching out the best options for your needs and budget. In many cases,
travel agents have access to information about rates and routes that the
average consumer might not have, saving you time and money, even if she does sometimes charge a fee.
Shannon Compton Game, who writes about travel for Outside Magazine, puts it this way, “I’m a big fan of travel agents, even though I could technically book all my trips through websites and apps”, but; “they can find crazy deals”; “They will be your advocate”; “They’ll take care of the little things”; “They’re true experts”; and “They don’t cost extra”.
Here’s the thing, travel “agents” are a thing of the past. They pri-
marily booked tickets and beds. Travel “advisors” play a much more complex role – part psychologist, life coach, executive producer, concierge, fixer, dreammaker, and magical genie, with the multitude of services they provide.
Getting more for the same price is a great deal, and with travel
advisors, this happens all the time. The cruise industry is a perfect ex-
ample. They have very large inventories that fluctuate in supply and
demand each week, with a large audience of repeat customers who cruise
again and again for years.
The cruise lines do not want to lose the loyalty of those customers,
or the advisors who steer hundreds of them each year to particular brands. It basically costs the line no more to have you stay in a deluxe
suite than a basic stateroom when available.
But, who gets these upgrades? Advisors. Professionals who specialize
in cruises have enormous volume clout and are legendary for routinely
getting clients one or two class of staterooms upgrades, free shore ex-
cursions, onboard credits and all sorts of things – for the same exact
price you might pay by going direct.
Yes, people of all generations still use travel agencies. The web
has made it easier then ever for you to book your own travel, and in
a lot of cases, you may never need a travel “advisor”. But, booking
travel is the sole professions for travel advisors and the good advisors
can be extremely helpful when you have complex trips, have several
people in your party, or simply don’t have the time to research and
book the travel yourself.