In January I posted a blog about travel tips. A friend asked my advice and I happily shared it with all my readers. Over the weekend, a travel agent friend re-read that blog and let me know there are a couple of recent changes in the travel professional’s world you should be aware of.
Micky Dixon is the owner of Travel Planning For You! Her insatiable thirst for knowledge means she takes classes, attends seminars, seeks out webinars and travels (virtually and in-person) to conferences to stay as current as she can on a world stage. She has held regional and national positions within the travel industry and holds more than two dozen certifications. We went to the same high school in Germany and she is my absolute go-to source for all things travel! She shared some insights into her world that I have paraphrased below:
We all have our fingers crossed that we will soon be able to travel the world again. For travel professionals, when that will happen is a constant concern. Every person I know in the travel industry spends hours each week making sure they are aware of the latest restrictions and requirements related to COVID-19. In a global pandemic where each country makes its own rules, just staying up-to-date is a never-ending struggle that these women and men take on to ensure their clients know what they face when they travel.
This means each time a professional builds the perfect trip for you, she is spending more and more time on the planning. Whether you are headed out to sea on your favorite cruise line or taking to the skies to arrive at some exotic, faraway bucket list destination, you can be assured your travel agent has checked, rechecked and then checked again so you can truly relax on your vacation.
Then there’s the question of fees. In the past, travel agents would build itineraries for customers and take care of all the details at no charge to the customer, making their living on commissions from transportation and lodging companies. When the internet made it easy for people to find their own information, travelers started building their own itineraries using online wholesalers and discount sites. Then, sadly, people started using agents to build dream vacations, took that information home, sat at their computer and found a discounted version. That cut the travel professional out of the loop after she had spent hours researching and putting together a trip. For that reason, many travel agents now charge a small fee to new customers searching for personalized itineraries.
What do you get for your money? You get MASSIVE peace of mind. I personally watched Micky take time out from her vacation to solve a customer’s problem. She gave up a side trip she’d been talking about for a week because her customer needed her and that’s what she does. That’s what a good travel agent does — solves problems for you when you would rather be sitting on a chair with a drink in your hand and a balmy breeze blowing through your hair.
SO … the answer to the title of this blog is a resounding yes. After all, there’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Wouldn’t you want someone out there pointing you to the perfect things to see and solving your travel troubles while you’re exploring it?
© The World A to Z, LLC 2021 — Unless otherwise indicated, no compensation was received for this blog.