Travel Advisor vs. Travel Agent: Who To Consult Before Traveling?
Planning your dream vacation can take out a lot from you? But who wouldn’t want to have a holiday that’s hitch-free? For this, getting the help of travel professionals, such as travel advisors and agents, is an option everyone should consider taking. What’s the difference between the two, and how can you find the perfect professional to trust? Here’s everything you need to know about travel advisors vs. travel agents.
Travel Advisors Vs. Travel Agents: What’s The Difference?
Some people may err and use the terms ”travel advisors and travel agents” interchangeably. However, anyone seeking the help of these travel professionals should know the fundamental differences in their roles.
What is a travel agent? As their job title suggests, travel agents serve as the intermediary between you and the hotels and airlines you wish to book. Way back in the day, clients weren’t able to reserve a room nor buy airline tickets on their own. Travel agents were the professionals that made these reservations and purchases possible. Of course, their services aren’t limited to this, as they can also help you book tickets to certain attractions you want to visit on your trip.
Usually, these travel agents are directly affiliated with agencies that serve as middlemen between customers and travel booking systems. Now, hotels and airline tickets are easily booked through the internet. However, there are still many travel agents around, who can help book everything you need for a worry-free trip.
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Hiring a Travel Agent: The Pros
If you’re asking yourself: “Why use a travel agent when I can book all of these myself?”, you need to take note of the pros of hiring them. The pros of hiring a travel agent primarily lie on convenience. While many of the best travel sites around can get you bookings for hotels, airlines, and attractions, you’re competing with a lot of other people. This is especially true during peak season.
By hiring a travel agent, you’re hiring the help of someone with direct connections to such establishments and ticket distributors. These people know the travel market, and they can help you navigate it with their services. Through them, you’ll have a lot of options to choose from, making it easier to plan for your trip. You can also get deals that are only available through them.
If you’re asking around, trying to find out how to get travel agent hotel rates, the only answer is to avail of it by hiring an agent. With the help of these professionals, you don’t have to stress over finding and getting all the bookings and reservations for your trip.
Hiring a Travel Agent: The Cons
Travel agents focus more on getting you that booking or reservation rather than on helping you plan where you’ll stay and visit during your trip, so you’re the only one who’ll be planning the trip. You won’t likely receive any collaborative input on how you can make your trip the best that it can be. Helping you realize the vision of your perfect trip through creative planning is also beyond the scope of their job roles. So don’t expect any tailor-fit suggestions from them all the time.
Many describe travel advisors as to the evolved form of travel agents. The scope of their job goes beyond reserving and booking rooms and tickets. These travel professionals offer advice on planning your trip so that your travel experience can be the best that you can get.
When planning for a trip, you need to do your research to get the best experience out there, but not everyone has time to do this nor does everyone have the experience to know what to believe. This is where travel advisors come in. They’ve collected years of experience in the travel profession that they can help you spot the good and the bad. They also have many travel contacts so that they can make strong recommendations with regard to making any travel planning-related decisions. They help you piece together the perfect travel plan, from tours and activities to the hotels you stay in, to see that you’ll get a holiday that’s tailor-fit to your needs and wants.
Hiring A Travel Advisor: The Pros
On top of convenience, there are many benefits to hiring a travel advisor. When you hire a travel advisor, you’re getting help from a person with a lot of travel experience. Their services go beyond getting you those bookings. So, hiring them means you get collaborative input from a person who has the experience you need to make your vision come to life.
They would know which hotel in the area can provide the exact services and experience you need, in line with your travel vision. They would also know what activities in the area would suit your tastes. Travel advisors also stay on top of the newest trends, so they can suggest the best new attractions you can go to for your holiday.
Apart from the planning stage, hiring a travel advisor is also practical. They also know the ins and outs of the industry, so they’re there to help you get the best deals for your money. Travel advisors are knowledgeable about the lesser-known services in hotels or cruises that can add value to your trip. Also, if, for some reason, something doesn’t go as planned in the middle of your vacation, most travel advisors help you get back on track as soon as they can.
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Hiring A Travel Advisor: The Cons
While there are many good things you can get from hiring a travel planning collaborator, there are still a few cons you need to consider. First, despite being experienced and knowledgeable about travel, advisors are still not you. While they may have a good idea of what your vision of a perfect vacation is, there are times when you and another person might not see eye to eye.
Second, hiring travel advisors may cost more money. Sometimes, they cost more than travel agents, and not every tourist has the budget to hire one. If you’re tight on budget, hiring a travel advisor might not be the way to go.
What To Look For In A Good Travel Advisor Or Agent
While there are many who advertise their services as a travel agent, only a few are worthy of your trust. A good travel professional makes sure that you’ll receive the services and the convenience you are paying for. To make sure a travel advisor or agent is worth your trust, here’s how to pick a travel agent or advisor.
Credentials And Certifications
Of course, the first things you need to look for in a travel agent or advisor are their credentials. Since they’re professionals who provide services for other people, they need to have the right certifications. Having the appropriate permits is a good indication that a travel industry professional can be trusted.
Although, you mustn’t rely on their certifications alone. You need to know their credentials as well. Find out what they can offer based on what they’ve achieved and their experience on the job. Based on these, you can decide if you want to do business with them.
While many travel consultants have both the right certifications and seemingly decent credentials, sometimes, a few prove sloppy. When you inquire about their services, observe how they reply to you, whether it be in person or via email or phone call. Do they do things professionally or do they work sloppily?
Professionalism is one of the many good indicators of whether the person you’re hiring as a travel agent is good at his or her job. If you’re working someone who doesn’t show professionalism in his work, careless mistakes can happen that might cause some problems to your travel plans.
When looking for potential travel agents who can help you, observe how they treat you and talk to you. Interpersonal skills are important in any business transaction to make sure all goes according to plan. This includes making travel bookings. Finding an agent with good people skills can help lessen the likeliness of any miscommunication when forming a deal.
Some places or flights are hard to book, and a good travel agent always needs a backup plan. While there are reservations that are impossible to book, even for travel advisors and agents, the one you hire must be resourceful enough to find alternatives.
As much as possible, find a travel consultant who is honest. Avoid anyone who offers deals that seem to be scammy or overpriced. The best way to make sure of this is to get recommendations from someone you trust or find reviews online about potential travel agents.
How Much Do They Cost?
Of course, since you’re hiring the services of professionals, you expect to pay a fee, but what is travel advisor fee? How much do you pay them?
Well, it varies.
How much you pay for a travel professional’s services depends on the work you hired them for. If it’s for a few bookings, you may get a $50-$75 bill, on average. However, if you’re hiring an advisor to help you design a full travel itinerary, with bookings included, you can expect a fee as high as $500 or even more.
Many travel advisors and agents make money in two ways. First is from the fee you’re billed upfront. Second is from the commissions they get from establishments. Most travel consultants earn from both.
However, there are some established travel agents who don’t charge a service fee upfront and just get money from commissions. Since many travel suppliers have stopped giving commissions, this type of travel professional is rare, and you should find yourself lucky if you found one that can be trusted. So when budget planning, always anticipate that there is a fee you need to pay unless your travel advisor or agent says otherwise.
Tips On Working With Travel Advisors
See What Others Have To Say
Wondering about how to find a travel advisor you can trust? The best way to find one is through other people’s recommendations. If you have close friends who have worked with travel advisors before, ask them to recommend a travel advisor they know and trust. If you don’t, there are many review aggregation sites for travel and services online, such as yelp. Look for ratings of travel advisors near you and read the reviews so that you’ll have an idea of what to expect if you seek out their services.
Find Someone Near You
If you can, find a travel advisor you can go to and talk to in person. By having a trusted advisor near you, you can save time and avoid the hassle of going back and forth between your home and a far-away travel agency. Also, miscommunication is less likely to occur when you’re working with and talking to someone in person. So, as much as possible, hire a consultant near you.
Don’t Expect Unbelievably Low Booking Prices
Many travel advisors help their clients look for the best deals. Sometimes, however, they get clients with expectations that are unpractical, especially when it comes to hotel and airfare prices. Yes, hiring professionals can help you save money in booking your hotel and airfares. However, don’t expect prices that are too low.
Be Transparent With Your Budget
A travel plan’s backbone is your budget. Travel advisors need to know your budget so that they know what they’re working with. They’re there to help you find the best bang for your buck, after all. By letting them know how much you’re willing to spend on a travel itinerary, they’ll know the perfect attractions and hotels they can book that you can afford.
Trust Their Advice
Since you’ve decided to hire a travel advisor, this means you’re looking for their input in planning your dream vacation. Travel advisors are experts in their field, and they know the industry more than most people. They know the similarities and differences of travel practices in different locations. They know the good and the bad. If you know the travel advisor you’ve hired is trustworthy, then rest assured that you’re in good hands.
While it may seem simple, crafting a good travel itinerary is hard to perfect on your own. The travel industry has become more complicated throughout the years. But, don’t fret as many travel advisors and agents are ready to help you navigate through it. Planning doesn’t have to be stressful. If you can, don’t hesitate to hire the services of these travel professionals.
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