When people talk about travel agents some may think that's a thing from the past. Some people probably imagine a travel agent as a senior person, who does everything manually (paper tickets, paper itineraries, etc.) that barely knows how to use a computer, let alone the internet, and some may thing we are just obsolete. They are so far from truth! Here you will find some common myths and misconceptions people have about travel agents and reasons why you need us more than ever .
Myth #1 - You will pay more to use a travel agent
I believe this is one of the main reasons, if not the main reason, why travelers want to avoid using travel agents. We get paid by the supplier a percentage of what you're already paying them for your trip. For example, if I book a cruise for you, I get paid by the cruise line a commission (a percentage) of what you're already paying them for your cruise. In other words, they "share a piece of their cake with me". This works the same with other suppliers such as hotels, car rentals, etc.
There are occasions in which us travel agents have to charge fees to the client for our services. Some of these services could include spending many hours doing specialized research and/or creating an itinerary for you. This is a service that will save you lots of time and stress, which is pretty valuable for many. In addition, fees are compensation for our time and effort. Every service provider values their time and charges for their services, why should travel agents be any different? 😉
Myth #2 - Travel agents make a salary whether they book or not
Sadly, most travel agents work on commission only and we only get paid AFTER you go on your trip. Let's say you book with us a cruise for December 2023, I will receive my commission after your cruise if fully paid, which in this case would be around October 2023. Another thing to know is, that if I spend 8 hours working on creating a perfect itinerary for your amazing trip, and you decide to book it on your own, I will get paid 0 for all of those hours of work. This is one of the main reasons travel agents charge service fees, in order to receive compensation for our valuable time. Hey, who doesn't value their time?
Myth #4: Travel Agents can’t get you a better deal
We understand that nowadays everyone is an expert at travel comparison and they know all the best discount and travel booking engines. There's no way a travel agent can offer those "limited time" or "exclusive rates" you find online. Wrong! On our travel agent booking engines we see the same rates offered by discount travel outlets, but know where to find the hidden costs like taxes, additional fees, required deposits and prepayment requirements, cancellation policies, etc. We're the first ones notified of upcoming fare sales and discounts. We have access to exclusive pricing and package deals that are not available to the public.
Myth # 4 - We travel for Free
Oh how I wish this would be true ! We get travel agent discounts on several suppliers, not all, and get an occasional offer to apply for FAM (Familiarization) trips with cruise lines and/or resorts. But, sadly, we still have to pay to get there and prices could vary depending on your level of experience. So, if you're looking into becoming a travel agent to travel for free, think again.
Myth # 5 - We are a dying breed
It is true that there less of us out there than there used to be 20 years ago, but that doesn't mean we will disappear. Many companies rely on travel agencies for billions of dollars worth of business travel arrangements. We take care of all of the hassle of planning for luxury travelers, this way they just show up and relax on their vacation. Our increasingly growing Baby Boomer population knows the value of our expertise and work and those who are not too tech-savvy appreciate our guidance. Even millennials know we specialize in different travel niches such as adventure travel, food and wellness. We have perfectly adapted to the ever changing industry.
Myth # 6 - You don't need us
Travelers need us now more than ever ! There are so many options for destinations, accommodations, transportation and logistics you have to take care of when planning a vacation that it can be very overwhelming. Let's not even mention so many travel restrictions and protocols you need to find out about your destination, due to the COVID pandemic.
In summary, travel agents are still extremely important in the travel industry and it can be an amazing resource when planning your vacation. Forget about all the myths from decades ago and give us the opportunity of planning your next trip. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. 😉