Of course we think it's a good idea to have a travel advisor in your corner—especially because we are travel advisors and we are a travel agency, and like anyone working in a business they love, we advocate for what we do. So, now that we have that out of the way we can get to the why, and there are many reasons.
Are you the type that plans your own travel?
If you answered yes, you would be among the many people who do like to do it all themselves. We do too. That is really what led us to being a travel agency. We think planning travel is fun and we are seriously gitty about getting to make a living doing it! Still, there are a few reasons why people still want to do it themselves and we understand that.
Another aspect to planning travel is that doing it all yourself is actually fun for some people. You are in control of your own travel destiny and it is much a part of your travels as the actual traveling. We agree! We don't like to take any of the fun away and feel that we actually add to it. Quite often, we find that clients are very engaged and we love this. Bouncing ideas and talking with clients is a large part of what we do. It's hard to find people as engaged in travel as we are. We truly are passionate about travel and love to be a part of one of the best things about living, wonderful memories. So, don't think you are relinquishing control, you are gaining a travel assistant.
Does using a travel agent cost more money?
There is a notion that it will cost you more money to have a travel advisor. Well, quite often it will not cost you any additional money to use a travel advisor. We make a living by selling. Generally, we work on commission basis and some travel agencies/agents do have fees associated with their services, but not all. Travel agents/agencies are typically paid by the travel companies that are providing accommodations, vacation packages, vehicle rentals, cruises, tours and some excursions. In rare cases an airline might offer a small commission. For this reason, many travel agents don't center their business around airline tickets and if that is all you are interested in, they are more than happy to let you surf for yourself. Additionally, we all know that flying just isn't what it used to be and the headaches that come along with air travel make it an easy pass when you won't be paid for your time. Now, many agents will book tickets for you and they will add fees to that because almost all airlines do not pay a commission. Websites like Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz are guess what —travel agencies, and they are not making billions of dollars in airline commissions— because they have the numbers, their fees add up and the income derived from them pays for the fancy search function which is what they really are.
The truth is, travel agents can quite often save you money and they certainly save you time. We know tricks of the trade, have established relationships with travel partners and know where to go to accommodate a client's budget for travel. Quite often, our own personal experiences in vetting travel partners is important to our clients. Traveling can be very expensive and leaving it to chance or novices, isn't always a good thing. Experienced agents are able to help save you money because they are tuned in to all things travel and have a wealth of knowledge that you can reply on.
Customer service with online travel agencies vs client relationships
Customer service is one thing and client relationships are another. When you call one of the big online travel agencies, who are you talking to and where exactly are they? Are they an actual travel professional or do they wear a headset and take a hundred calls a day? With a travel agent, you'll know who you are talking to and you will develop a relationship with them that is beneficial to you. They get to know you, what you like, what you don't like, what your travel personality is and so much more. Having a great relationship with a travel agent is akin to your having a realtor, a personal banker, your doctor. You wouldn't go to your banker for medical advice would you? One of the best things that a travel agent does for you is to serve as your advocate in all things travel. When the you know what hits the fan, a travel agent has your back. They are as invested in your travel as much as you are because your amazing vacation all of a sudden might not be so amazing if you miss your plane, or a villa you rented on your own doesn't actually exist, or something horrible like the #cornavirus hits the planet. Wouldn't you rather have someone in your corner to help you sort it all out?
We've given you some food for thought toward a travel advisor and encourage you to "interview us" for the job by having a complimentary consultation with us. We are confident that Soul Free Travels will make a positive difference in your travels and we very much look forward to hearing from you.