Today we are going to talk about “how to use a travel agent,” this will be a guide of what we need to help you. For some people this will be an old hat, they have been working with agents for years, but most people either have not or have not in recent memory. So the following is what we like or need to have to start our professional research on your behalf.
Our first contact, by phone, email, through the website or Facebook, is all about gathering initial information. We need your name, your birthdate (this is for booking/holding reasons, and the names and birthdates of everyone traveling with you (or at least those on your reservation, if you are planning group travel). Contact information: phone and email, and how you would best like to be contacted. Have an idea of where you want to go or at least what kind of things you want to do. If you are not sure where particularly you want to visit but you want to go scuba diving or learn how to cook a fantastic pizza, that will give us a starting point and we can make suggestions based on our expertise on the best locations for those activities. Please have dates in mind. Spring of next year does not help us much. We cannot price things or even know when particular activities are happing without dates. If you are open all of June and want us to pick that is fine, but try not to be too general. On that note some flexibility is great too, maybe the day before you want to travel the price drops dramatically, in this case it would be to your benefit to be flexible. The last thing that is helpful to have at the beginning is preferences: do you want all inclusive, or what star quality are you looking for in hotels and the locations of them (do you want central to near locations, beachfront, a little outside of things to save money), times of flights (would you rather leave in the afternoon versus morning), and any other particular thing you want or do not want in your trip. After we have all this information please give us at least 3 business days to do our research and get back to you with our first results.
During the process: from the initial contact to booking. We prefer using email to communicate, it gives us a paper trail so we can go back and reread the conversations. If you don’t have email, which is fine we will work with you. When you need to come in, and sometimes this is the best way to communicate, especially with more complicated itineraries, please make an appointment. Having an appointment allows us to prepare to give you our full attention and we can have all of our research for you ready to go. Limit your own research; this is for both our benefits. You hired us, a travel agency, let us do our job. The prices listed on the discount sites are there for a reason. You are not getting the service you get from a website that you receive from a professional travel agent. We work with travel every day, we know when the best time to go and where to get the most for your money. Trust us. We are here for you. Try to be open minded: when you get so locked into a particular location at a particular time and the price is too high or it’s just not feasible you can end up missing out on a fantastic trip. If the price is too high because of the season at this location in Europe, let us try to find you something similar in a more economical location. If your heart is set on that one location though, we would suggest a different time period, for example Europe is great in the summer but less expensive and just as lovely (with less crowds!) in the spring or fall.
It is also smart to note that when we quote you prices that they can change. With flight prices fluctuating constantly and prices generally going up for accommodations the closer you get to your travel date there can be dramatic differences from when we quote you the price and when you are ready to book. Please keep in mind that this is not us but the nature of the beast.
So, that is how to work with a travel agent. We are here to help guide you through planning your travel and to be an agent for you when dealing with tour companies. We will try our utmost to get you the very best deal on your trip without sacrificing comfort, detail, and security.
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