I get asked this question all the time “How do I pay for your services?” This got me thinking, there must be a lot of people that really don’t understand how a travel agent works and, more importantly, gets paid.
My usual response to that question is “You won’t pay anything, my fees are paid by X (being the travel supplier)”. What I started to question is if people really understood what that meant.
As an independent travel agency, we are not owned by any travel supplier or work for them. We are not on their payroll. Instead, we make a commission off of our sales of their products. It doesn’t cost you any more to use a travel agent, the travel suppliers charge you the same whether you use a travel agent or just go to them directly.
What this doesn’t mean is that every time we talk to a potential client, we are making money from the travel supplier. In order to make a commission, we need to book the travel for you and take you through the travel. If you cancel beforehand, in most cases, we do not make anything from the travel supplier. We have all also had potential “clients” that ask for information, quotes and advice and then go and book on their own. Basically they feel the travel agent should work for free. While it is totally understandable when you have to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances, deliberately using an agent to get all the information you need and booking on your own is not fair.
The majority of the people who come to us for a quote do end up booking and traveling so we don’t feel the need in most cases to charge service fees. The exception to this is travel where the suppliers do not pay a commission (airfare, some tickets, some hotel stays). In those cases we would charge a service fee (and advise you in advance of this).
There are thousands of travel agents in the world that you can use, even thousands that are experts with your travel dreams, whether it be cruising, Disney trips, all-inclusives, anything! What makes a particular agent a great agent is not just what they are expert in, but also how they interact with you, their clients. I would like to share what some of our clients have had to say about our agents. You can find this information on our website here.
I have used my agent as a travel agent on multiple occasions. Each time, I have been more than pleased. Continue reading
As we expected, Disney Visa has extended their onboard credit promotion to 2013 sailings on the Disney Cruise Line®. For those who make all payments on their Disney Cruise Line sailing with the Disney Visa or Disney Visa Reward Redemption Card, you will receive a $50 onboard credit from Disney Visa. This is limited to two staterooms per Disney Visa account. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotions, such as the onboard booking offer. It can, however, be combined with the online booking offer, mentioned below, and the offer from Travel On A Dream.
While Disney Visa’s offer says it is for new bookings only, it will be applied to any existing bookings made for 2013 when the offer was not available.
For bookings made online, either directly or by your travel agent, before May 31, 2012, Disney Cruise Line is offering a $25 onboard credit. Travel On A Dream agents always try to book your reservation online if possible to get you this extra spending money on your cruise. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers, except for the Disney Visa promotion, if applicable, and the onboard credit offer from Travel On A Dream.
Contact us today to take advantage of these promotions.
As a follow up to my blog last week about using and becoming a professional travel consultant, I thought about another topic that many times gets missed. One reader asked me if I was going to follow up with a blog on how to become a professional travel consultant. I was a bit at a loss of how to do that. My story is very different from many people. How the average person does this is a bit of a mystery to me. I know that some will enroll in travel schools, which will definitely give you background on how to make reservations and the essentials you need to know about the industry. I was just offered a job that I wasn’t looking for! I learned on the job how to make reservations. I already knew a lot about Disney and especially Disney Cruises so I didn’t have to do much learning there.
Last fall President Obama declared that travel agents are non-existent anymore. This caused a big uproar in the industry and brought to light a problem in the travel agent community. A lot of people had forgotten about travel agents — their value, their expertise, their existence! Since then however, we are seeing an abundance of stories about travel agents and how invaluable we are.
I’m not certain if this new exposure is to blame, but recently I have had quite a few friends ask me about becoming a travel agent. Some seem to be basing this on the “perks” travel agents get or the glamor of the job. I have to say though there is a big difference between booking travel and being a travel agent. A more appropriate title is travel adviser or travel consultant. In this day and age, anyone can book travel online. It’s fairly easy. But the job doesn’t end or even begin there.
On my recent trip to Peru I was faced with a big dilemma. Traditionally, it is busiest for travel agents starting in January. Additionally, it was rumored that Disney Cruise Line® would be releasing 2013 sailings on the Disney Magic® and Disney Wonder®. I had a wonderful opportunity from Adventures by Disney® to go and experience their product in Peru.
I couldn’t pass up this opportunity, but had no choice in the dates of the adventure. This was a great chance to share with so many people what Adventures by Disney was all about. When I told people I was going to Peru with Disney, many said “I didn’t know there was a Disney park in Peru”. This meant a lot of education needed to be done! So I set out to show everyone all about Adventures by Disney. I had an incredible time, but it was coming at a cost.
We are a small agency, so going away during a very busy time of year is difficult. A good friend of mine offered to come in and handle the phones while I was gone. Little did she know how busy it would be! She is a retired travel agent so she knew the job, just not the new procedures, etc. that we follow.
One of my agents is my sister and she totally stepped up! Maybe she felt she owed me, maybe she now feels I owe her, I don’t know, but it was great! She hopped right to the challenge. She took off time where she could with her other jobs and worked nights and weekends to make sure that all of our clients got the best possible service we could give, without noticing that I was gone! It worked! The feedback from clients has been great. We managed to get everyone what they were looking for in terms of new dates, including many last minute requests and changes. She organized what had to be done and set up the appropriate agents to assist.
While Deb was the person who the clients dealt with, it was also the dedication from Deb, Regina and Debbie that got it all done. I sincerely thank them for all of their hard work and from what I’ve heard, our clients thank them too!