Travel Agents Are Still In Demand

Although their are numerous online travel services a traditional Travel agent is as much an important part of the trip as comfort is to traveling! The role of a travel agent has been increasing with the times and today most people are dependent on them for executing most of their travel plans so that they can rest easy and just enjoy their trip.

It is the responsibility of the travel agent to help and guide the travelers about the constantly changing schedules and airfares, availability of packages for vacation, and a lot of travel information that the traveler may not know about.

Choosing a reliable travel agent can be an important decision, since how you travel and your comfort will be largely decided by the travel agents. You should verify the information given by the travel agents, to be on the safer side and minimize your travel hassles. Incase of International travel, choosing a proper agent becomes more important.

The right agent should be able to foresee your problems and guide you about them. They should provide information related to customs regulations, important documents like visas, passports, currency exchange rates and certificates of vaccination.

Many hotels, cruise liners, resorts, and special travel groups make use of travel agents to market their travel packages to the ever increasing rate of people choosing to travel both inland and overseas. Most agents advice you on destinations and make arrangements for hotel stays, transportation, tours, car rentals, etc.

Information on weather conditions, restaurants, tourist attractions, and other such necessary information are also provided. A good travel agent could also take the trouble of checking out hotel services to gauge their quality of service in order that they can base references on a first hand report.

With the changing times, the travel industry has seen a big development in terms of Internet bookings and travel related information made available on the net. The number of people using online services is growing. This has resulted in a change in the view of the convenience of traditional agencies.

A poll result of American tourists revealed that over 92 percent of them generally buy their travel related necessities online. According to these consumers, online travel agencies have cheaper rates, are the easiest to use and offer all the relevant information. A word of caution is necessary for those using the Internet for their travel bookings. Be sure to navigate the site, verify that the agent has a good back-up system.

Also ensure that there are no added costs that are credited to your credit bills.

Till a few years ago, travel agents provided free services to their customers. Travel agents worked as agents for airlines, hotels, rental car companies, etc. The agencies worked on a commission basis from these suppliers.

But free travel agent services began changing as a result of certain changes in the rate of commissions. For example, in 1995 Delta Airlines imposed a $50 limit on domestic airline commission rates.

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When To Use A Specialty Travel Agent

What Is a Specialty Travel Agent?

Travel agents who are certified or specialize in niche markets or destinations. They are agents who have responded to what consumers have been asking for, and that is simply, more from their travel experience. They are also agents who are passionate about their destination or niche. They have extensive first hand knowledge of their destination or specialty, which enables them to improve the consumers overall travel experience.

When do I need a Specialty Travel Agent?

In today’s computer savvy society, the question becomes, when do you make your own travel arrangements and when do you turn to the experts to make them for you? Many will depend on the internet information and spend countless hours researching their next vacation. Others will depend on local travel agents who will be able to assist. So when does one turn over their travel planning to the travel specialists?

When you are looking to take that “once in-a-lifetime” vacation, want a wedding or honeymoon with pizzazz, a customized itinerary, or just want something more out of your next vacation, a travel specialist will not only know where to stay, where to dine and what to see, but they will have the ability to cut through the red tape and make things happen that you simply cannot. They have the clout and the local connections to add extras to your trip. Oftentimes it’s an upgrade to your room, a chilled bottle of regional champagne awaiting your arrival, the best table in a desired restaurant or even a unique side trip or activity based on your interests. Specialty Travel Agents can go the extra mile in providing you with a travel experience that is truly a cut above the ordinary.

How do I find a Specialty Travel Agent?

1. Ask for recommendations from friends who have successfully used specialty travel agents to plan their vacations.

2.Check your local agency for agents with credentials like CTC, DS, and LS. The CTC (Certified Travel Counselor) certification is awarded to agents who have at least five years experience and have completed an educational program and exam. DS (Destination Specialist) agents have taken additional training in a destination throughout the world. Certified Destination Specialists have taken the comprehensive training in their destination and have had further education by actually visiting their specialty destination. LS (Lifestyle Specialist) agents have further developed their niche market through additional education. Certified Lifestyle Specialists have relevant travel experience in addition to the lifestyle education.

3.Check out the agent members listed on the Specialty Travel Agents Association website. They utilize a comprehensive search engine that allows you to search for specialty agents by destinations, niche markets, activities or interests. Agents must have a certification or have extensive experience in their specialty.

What should I expect once I find a Specialty Travel Agent?

Once you have found an agent you would like to use and feel comfortable with, be prepared to give lots of information about yourself and your personal preferences. For example, the type of hotel you like to stay in (boutique, B &B, or chain), what you like to do (lounge at the pool or spend hours in museums) and most important, your budget. After all, they will be making selections that best fit your travel needs. The more information you give them, the better suited to your individual preferences your itinerary will be. Don’t be afraid to ask for exactly what you want or to contact them during your trip if needed. Do be prepared to pay a service fee for their services. And don’t forget to recommend them to friends when you are happy with their service and knowledge. Specialty Travel Agents build their business on personal recommendations and satisfied travel customers!

Donna Kujat

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