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What's the top 3 things you wish every travel agent did?

Have you ever worked with a travel agency? I'd love to know the top 3 things you wished a travel did or provided. Or if you book travel on your own, why do you prefer that over using a travel agent?

15 Answers

top answer by
Raed from Saudi Arabia

If I have a car, I want the agency to recommend places for me to visit along the way from city to city, such as Factory Outlets and waterfalls or small theme parks.

2 thanks

answered by
Eva from New York City

For years I did all my own booking - and have a site dedicated to how to skillfully book your own trips. The last travel agent I used was in 2001 - she gave me a list of hotels and told me to research them online. Clearly I didnt need her. 

Three months ago, I became an agent. Here are a few reasons why you benefit from using an agent:

1) Someone else deals with all the problems:

I was stuck on hold for 2 hours when my flight was cancelled due to snow. If I had booked through an agent, I would have been on the beach in St. Barth for those hours, not on hold with Jet Blue. Not to mention the cost of that call from a hotel (or your cell) would have been exorbitant.

No online travel agency is going to set their alarm for 4am to call Spain to alert them to a delayed client so he doesnt miss the 1 train a day to the tiny town in Rioja

2) I can sometimes find amazing fares through consolidators the public doesnt have access to; especially for expensive tickets. Just got a client a $422 fare that was $939 on United's site for the same exact flight. 

3) We find things you don't know existed. From tiny wine towns in Rioja where a wine collecting client can taste top wines without having to drive, to dealing with group amenities you would never think to ask for. Wading through all the info online can be exhausting for most people. 

3 thanks

answered by
Bryant from Pasadena

I book travel on my own. Just find that it's a lot easier with all the tools available online. Plus, I need instant gratification and responses rather than waiting for a travel agent to get back to me with recommendations, etc. But this is only because of my personal preference. I'm sure others don't want the hassle of doing it alone and would prefer an agent. If that is the case, then 3 things I would recommend are to be more proactive, come up with a great online tool like an intro questionnaire to get the process started right, and utilize social media more often for engagement. Just my two cents.

3 thanks

answered by
Cristóbal from Puerto Morelos

I regularly book on my own. I read a lot and I spend most of my time online with access to lots of information. I prefer making my transactions online because I know my information is safe. Specially when I travel in my country since Credit Card Cloning is a thing happening. I'd rather give my Credit Card information online than giving my credit card to a stranger who maybe or maybe not clone my credit card.

I'm also all against sales pitches... I cannot withstand the 80's-90's salesperson who talks a lot and doesn't allow you to think or wants you to believe he has all the answers. 

If any: I would love my travel agent

1. To listen to me. Instead of jumping on to "Hey you know what? This is great!" asking "Hey, you know what? I don't know you and I don't know what you'd like to do... Why don't you tell me so I can do some recommendations based on that?"

2. To understand there's no such thing as "average traveler". There's a lot of people traveling and labelling any who as "an average traveler" is kind of rude.

3. To save that information for future travels. I mean... I love having my trips planned online since the cookies and tracking codes know my taste so they suggest things that ACTUALLY I may like... instead of giving the same information to the same guy every once in a while.

I worked with a Tour Operator, I had to deal with Travel Representatives (Called "reps") here and many of them where not that kind people I'd like to think of to relate with "Travel Agent". I really do not understand how did they make their sales... I understand that probably this is a contamination source for me to have a miss judgement from the travel agency stuff. I mean no offense.


2 thanks

answered by
Dave from Birmingham (Alabama)

I want an agent who has been where I am going and long list of site options based on my interest

2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
nako from London

if you go to the place that you are not familiar with the languages and cultures and the people, like going to different continents, it might be a good idea to have someone who is the expert handling things for you as you will see more of the countries and safer.

we used travel agents when we went to south america and it helps a lot as the counties are totally strangers to us as we are from asia.

but if we go to europe and USA, we do it ourselves as it is easy to find information and we partly know the countries.

2 thanks

answered by

Today travel agents will know less about a destination than travelers. Most info on destinations are found on sites like this. Travel agents do not have that information unless they do the same research that you would on your own. Besides, travel agents are more expensive these days than making traveling arrangements on your own.

It is just my opinion. I have not used a travel agent since 2001.

1 thanks

answered by
Valerie from Seattle

The last time I worked with a travel agency was a few years ago, but here are three things I really loved:

1. They worked hard to accommodate my travel constraints (dates, and times), and were totally transparent in how these affected the price.

2. When there was a flight problem, they were super easy to get in touch with and communicated with me VERY well -- they said they would call back in 15 minutes, and they called back in 15 minutes, every time.

3. They seemed to fight to get me my money back, plus a penalty fee that the airline was responsible to give us. I would never have known that they owed us extra, nor been able to convince them, without the agency's help.

Basically, it felt good to have an advocate when traveling, rather than the normal experience of being a sheep or number on a list. That's what I'd say I wish every agent did!

1 thankscomments (1)

answered first by

Personally I travel with no reservations whatsoever. I am right now walking through Portugal and walked in to the town Portimao today at midnight after walking the whole evening on small unknown countryroads, but i still found a little hotel and this is the way I like it.

But when I work i work with travel agents, so I am very used to the tourism industry and would like to hear what people have to say about this issue.

1 thankscomments (1)

answered by

becomes an expert in a certain part of the world.

Only speaks about personal experiences that she or her best clients tell her.

Says she doesn't know when she doesn't know

answered by
Tony from Connecticut

There are two main (2) reasons to use a travel agent.

1. To use the skills and knowledge of a seasoned travel agent and his/her network.

2. To access the fares/rates that are not found online and to be able to hold a reservation for a longer period of time.

However, there is also one good reason NOT to use a travel agent to book tickets. The airlines will force you to go back to the travel agent to make changes to your flights. This could be a pain in the arse if you are already overseas.

You can pay a travel agent or consultant for their brains and then book the flights yourself directly with the airline or the rooms with the hotel.

PS. Do not believe the consolidator fare hype. I have access to most of those fares and they are not that different from published fares. Sometimes, especially for one-way fares between US and Europe they are good. Also Delta bulk fares can be good. But for the rest of them, it is plain myth. And good luck having Bulk Fare tickets changed.

answered by
Risa from San Francisco

We prefer to book our own flights. My hubby loves the challenge of researching the lowest fares and I truly enjoy reading between the lines of reviews on all travel sites. Travel blogs always enthrall me. Now that we are retired we have the time, and the entire process is pure joy!

answered by
Maria João

Hi there

I travel, always, without consulting a travel agency, although I see Website, Blogs, Forums and Hotels ranking`s where I learn about the place where I will travel!! Why!?

They are selling a place, a hotel, that generally, they do not know personally, that has already been purchased from another tour operator!

Knowing with some time, where I want to go, I can manage the flights/scales and rates in a way that pleases much more!! Even when I make reservations by phone directly with the airline, in a little while we get the best flights!

For example, now I buy two separate double rooms, we are a family of 4, and now we are 4 adults, but when our daughters were younger, it was very difficult the agency find me a room for four, because hotels with which the agencies worked, did not sell rooms for 4, I on my own started being able to find ever I need a room for 4! (I am talking about the European standards because in the USA is easy to find, and I always got room for 4 with a good price in a very nice hotels)

Although sometimes can be a little more expensive, and I have to waste time on research, but I am always better served in money when I buy on my own!

answered by
Radhina from Dubai

I generally prefer booking on my own as I have complete flexibility and control over my itinerary and more importantly, time. I often plan trips with a very short lead times and often have something very specific I'd like to see, or restaurants I'd like to visit and this allows me to plan my routes to pack in everything I would like to do without feeling tied down to a preset agenda.

I also feel I have more choice when it comes to places I want to stay in and usually find better prices than what I would get from an agent.

This being said, the times I do use travel agents is when traveling to less accessible destinations and then I prefer agents that give me flexibility to plan my own itinerary while being competitive with pricing. I generally prefer companies that can seamlessly arrange logistics to and from different destinations and offer practical and competitively prices for modes of transport, pick-ups and drop-offs, guides occasionally and hotel bookings. Basically someone that can take the hassle out of booking the necessary stuff after I have decided exactly what it is I want to do.

I also like working with agents who can give me practical local guidance on timings and arranging my agenda. So when I tell them the top 5 destinations or sites I'd like to visit in 3 days for instance, I like the ones that come back to me with a plan of attack as well as a few extra suggestions on things I might consider in the area or particular line of interest. In a nutshell agents that leave me feeling like they have improved my experience of a destination rather than those that make me feel I could have done it better (and more economically) on my own.

answered by
Rocio from Costa Rica

I plan and book my travels on my own. It is much easier and most of the time less expensive.  All the information and websites are available for you to plan it successfully. Trippy is a great tool in terms of advices, suggestions, hints, etc.

3 things to expedite the process would be: come back with alternatives quicker. provide better rates that compete with online travel companies and be more conscious of  customers needs.

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