There was a recent article on CNN where women listed all of the various ills they had suffered on their vacation because of a "bad travel agent". The plane ticket you bought was not upgradeable or refundable. The hotel will not upgrade it to a better room. Her car did not have an unlimited number of miles. She said that the travel agent did all these things in order to earn a higher commission. And the list went on …
My first response as a traveler was that she was angered and annoyed that her vacation was not great. My first reaction as a travel agent – hold the fort – did you order any of these when you met the travel agent?
We do not mind readers. We do our best to check our customers for what they like, hate and preferences. However, the customer does not pay much of this process.
To understand the best way to use a travel agent, you must understand how the travel agency works.
In the "old days", travel agents receive commissions from airlines, hotels, cars, and travel resorts purchased on behalf of the customer. With the advent of the Internet, these checks began to disappear. Regular travel (without hotels or rental cars) is generally not chargeable. This means that when the travel agent searches for your best, he (he) will not receive any money for the time and effort spent on your behalf. Booking airline tickets alone is actually a proposal to lose money to a travel agent. However, many good agents will continue to book these flights as a goodwill gesture in the hope that they will bring them to your other trips.
Your budget determines the type of travel and accommodation you will receive. If you have a tight budget, you will likely end up with non-refundable / unalterable plane tickets and hotel rooms that will not allow you to upgrade. Be sure to discuss your budget options and the pros and cons of your travel, car and hotel ticket before making a purchase. Keep in mind that a travel agent is likely to get a higher commission on the refundable / upgradeable rates, so buying non-refundable / non-changeable tickets doesn't really benefit the travel agent.
If you want to use airline points or hotels for promotions, be sure to inform your agent in advance. This way, he can find you the best upgradeable deal.
Your travel agent can be an invaluable asset when planning your next trip or vacation. You, as a consumer, have certain responsibilities to volunteer information if not directly requested.
Questions to ask your agent.
1. Do you charge any research or other fees?
2. Will you work with me if there are any problems?
3. Do you work with any company that allows me to pay my leave?
4. Is there a 24/7 phone number in case of critical problems?
Questions your agent should ask
1. What are the travel areas that interest you?
2. What kind of budget do you have?
3. What types of travel do you like – air, cruises, all-inclusive, etc.?
4. Do you have airline seating preferences?
5. Smoking or non-smoking rooms (if any)?
6. What level of service do you expect – budget, 5 stars etc.?
7. Ask about international visas and passports.
Great holidays start with detailed planning. So, meet with your travel agent and start planning your next trip.