Exactly how does the travel industry work?
In these particularly unusual times when we are all just starting to peek our heads out a little from the safety of our homes, I thought it might make sense for me to start back at square one. I’m typically always writing about, posting about, and even talking about all of these amazing vacations that are out in the world, waiting on us to come experience them for ourselves. But then it dawned on me… Maybe I need to slow down, take a step back, and use this time to be sure you understand what exactly it is that I do and how exactly the travel agency business works. By taking the time to explain this I hope that you’ll come away with a better understanding of how I may be of service to you.
Travel planning is not a "one size fits all" endeavor. What may have been an ideal resort for you and your spouse may very well not be the best choice for your family vacation. The same can be said for the amazing vacation your friends just got back from – Just because they loved it does not mean you will too. Just as a financial advisor advises their clients on their finances, a travel advisor advises their clients on their travel arrangements. This is one reason why there has been a monumental shift in the industry, with many choosing to identify themselves as a Travel Advisor rather than the well-known title of a Travel Agent.
As a Travel Advisor, I take a different approach when creating my clients’ vacations than many of them are used to. Many have been conditioned to think that travel is something to be coordinated instantly, without putting any real thought into the design of the trip. emphasizing cost and using hotel "points" above all else.
I believe my clients’ vacation, no matter how big or small, is a precious investment in their life. Many of life’s unforgettable memories are from those once-in-a-lifetime moments that occur while traveling. That’s why I take the time to get to know my clients as well as I possibly can. I want to know if you’re an early riser or prefer to sleep in. I want to know if you’re the type to set off on a spontaneous road trip or if you’re someone who doesn’t pull out of the driveway without a destination plugged into the GPS. I want to know that you prefer Coke over Pepsi and would rather pig-out on junk food than dining at a fancy restaurant. And I want to know all of these little things so that when you set off on that vacation you’ve been dreaming about your entire life it feels like you just slipped on a custom-made suit.
Part of what makes this possible is the time I invest in learning about the world’s destinations and building relationships with my suppliers. There are always updates on activities or upgrades going on at various destinations, resorts and on cruises. And of course, this year has added the need to keep up to date on what countries are opening their borders and when that will be and what restrictions will come with that and the list goes on. This is a big part of my job as a travel advisor that my clients don’t even think about; and that’s exactly how it should be. I’m here to take away all the stress, worry, and overwhelm that often times comes with traveling.
Alright, while we’re on a roll let’s talk money! How is a travel advisor paid? I am paid with professional fees charged to my clients for the service I offer in addition to receiving a commission payment paid to me from the travel supplier I book your travel arrangements with. I am not paid that commission payment until after you complete your travel, so all of those cancellations that have occurred because of the Coronavirus have resulted in travel advisors like myself not being paid. And that stands true for any cancellation reason; I just used the Coronavirus as an example as that is what the industry has been recently hit with. Also, if I just mention or quote something to a client, but do not actually book the discussed trip, guess what? I don't get paid. If someone books their own travel on a resort website for a vacation I have helped plan, the resort does not pay me. It can be a very tough business at times, but this is yet another reason why I aim to build a relationship with my clients. I don’t want to just book your next vacation, I want to be the one you come to year after year.
I have chosen to align my travel agency with two groups that are both a benefit to myself as a travel advisor as well as a tremendous benefit to the clients I serve. Gifted Travel Network is my host agency, and through that partnership, my agency is connected to Virtuoso. Membership within Virtuoso is an amazing resource, comprised of the top group of luxury travel agencies worldwide. Quite often I have access to special amenities for my clients that are not available to the general traveler. When you work with me, you are accessing my knowledge and expertise in addition to my resources and connections.
I hope that I’ve been able to shine a little light on my role as a travel advisor and on how the travel industry as a whole operates. I hope with this information you will feel more informed on why you should do business with a trusted travel advisor like me.
If I’ve managed to convince you that working with a travel advisor is really the only way to travel, then go ahead and give me a call or send me an email. The demand for travel is extremely high right now, so the sooner you get in touch the more options you’ll have.
The world is waiting for you!