Travel Agents - Are They Needed?

Travel agents aren't going the way of the eight-track tape just yet. They are also increasingly expected to know about and be able to advise travelers about their destinations, such as the weather conditions, local ordinances and customs, attractions, and exhibitions.These agents are the critical connection between the customer and vendor of the service that the customer is wishing to book. Travel Agents are experts in helping tourist with how to move within the country, where to stay & what to do are are held to a high standard of care and are relied upon by consumers.

When traveling abroad to a new destination, having a travel agent who has actually been there is a huge plus. Face to face is still the best way to do business and it's sad that the Agent is considered an obsolete commodity these days. I had an aunt and uncle who would tell their travel agent when they had a vacation coming up and the agent would find a great trip for them year after year.Some people are also inexperienced travelers and speaking/planning face to face with an expert would make them much less anxious.

Good travel agents focus on finding deals during nonpeak times, which is when you can score the cheapest rates and greatest selection. Because they book trips in volume and have longstanding relationships with travel providers, travel agents routinely get preferred rates and extra amenities that you and your favorite travel site will rarely match. Written off as dinosaurs not so long ago, agents are seeing a welcome bump in business, with the 2006 average weekly sales per agent location up 15% over the year before. Many agents have become a specialized bunch, some offering adrenaline-fueled adventure trips, others pricey safaris. Other agents go after even thinner slices of the travel pie, with specialties ranging from twins-only cruises to kosher dude ranches. Some agents charge anywhere from $150 to redeem a frequent-flier award to a $500 consulting fee for arranging customized trips. In the 1980s, agents were the gatekeepers of travel, booking nearly 80% of all airline tickets.

I am not defending all agents, as there isn't a standard, or requirement to become an agent,(other than basic computer skills) therefore, there are many agents that just wanted to get out of the house. I guess my point is: Lower your expectations, as many agents don't know much more than the general public, although they have access to the info. The same would be for a lawyer, a real estate agent, a hair dresser and I can go on and on. So why do people think you do not have to do your research or get a referral to find an excellent travel agent. There are MANY great travel agents out there and the value of having a good one is ten times better than booking on the internet.

Travel agents are agents of the travel providers, receiving commissions from the travel providers for sales they make. You will find travel agents are like doctors, accountants, book-keepers and any other service professional. They are in the business of selling advice and service, not commodity products. MOST travel agents are continually learning about destinations and suppliers; who to work with and who Not to work with.They are there, though, because they work for you. Whether times are good or not, these agents are your secret weapon, hiding in plain sight.

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