So you have some time off, a little money saved, and Covid-19 restrictions are finally loosening up. It’s time to plan a vacation! But while vacation planning can be fun (who doesn’t love dreaming about mai-tais on the beach?!) it can also take up a lot of your precious time and energy.
Just like it’s not always worth it to DIY a home improvement project, it’s not always worthwhile to plan a vacation on your own. Sure, you may end up saving a few dollars, but you’ll get there by dealing with a ton of hassle and stress. And truthfully, the end result might not be that great. Have you ever spent hours researching hotels on Expedia only to find that the property you booked looked a heck of a lot nicer in the photos? Exactly. DIY is not always the best method!
How Do Travel Advisors Help?
A travel advisor’s job is to do the heavy lifting of vacation planning for you. The only thing you have to do is decide on the location and budget. Travel advisors simplify the travel planning process by offering expert consulting to their clients.
A TA’s job is to make your journey a stress-free joy by booking flights, cruises, rental cars, hotels, resorts, and even on-site activities. But how do travel advisors know which rental car companies to use, or which hotels to book? Aren’t they using Expedia and other online tools just like regular people?
The answer is NO! Travel advisors work with trusted travel partners around the world who offer a portfolio of vetted properties and tour companies known to provide exemplary service. At Cultivating Connections Travel Planners, we partner with Virtuoso, a consortium of the world’s top travel advisors and luxury travel brands that collaborate to create trips of a lifetime.
Travel advisors work tirelessly behind the scenes to craft memorable, flawlessly executed vacations for their clients. They spend countless hours on the phone and the computer researching travel destinations, communicating with travel partners, and booking travel arrangements for their clients.
Do Travel Advisors Just Rely on the Internet to Stay Informed?
As knowledgeable professionals, travel advisors keep up with the current travel magazines, books, journals, and online publications to make sure we’re up-to-date on the industry. We also go on familiarization trips, or “FAMs,” usually hosted by travel companies or tourism organizations that are eager to show us what they have to offer the world’s travelers. We attend numerous industry conferences, symposiums and masterminds – our motto is “Collaboration Over Competition.”. Some of us even participate in our trade industry’s annual Legislative Day in Washington D.C. And if we go on vacation, our eyes and ears are constantly taking everything in as part of our destination research.
How Do I Know My Advisor Has My Best Interests In Mind?
Travel advisors build relationships with their clients and learn their preferences before booking their travel. Because customer satisfaction is our main goal, we would never try to coerce someone into a trip that isn’t in their best interests. Doing so would simply disappoint a client who would then be unlikely to return for our services.
As your trusted travel professional, we take note of any special requests or circumstances you may have. For example, one client may have flexible dates, while another may have a very strict time frame. Either way is fine with us! We are here to design the best possible travel experience for you.
We book a variety of trips from family vacations to romantic getaways to affinity trips for groups. We always consider personal interests, travel style, and budget. And to make sure we’re doing the best possible work for our clients, we must ensure we have enough knowledge about air and train travel, along with various travel companies, cruise lines, and the amenities they offer.
What Tools Does a Travel Advisor Use When Booking a Trip?
Easy! We Google your destination, pick the prettiest option from the top 10, and hope for the best!
Travel advisors do far more than just book trips for clients online. Here’s a breakdown:
• We use our accreditation number to book your travel.
We have access to specialized agent websites from popular travel suppliers around the world. We use these websites along with our special accreditation number (AKA our “IATA”) which we use to obtain quotes for our clients. This number is not available to the average traveler, so it often lets us offer our clients special amenities.
• We develop strong relationships with our travel partners.
To ensure top-notch service, we partner with the best travel vendors around the world. These partners love that we bring them clients, so they do their best to wow our customers so they go home with rave reviews! Our partnerships also come in very handy when things don’t go exactly according to plan during the trip. For example, we once had a client miss their train en route from Italy to Germany. If they were traveling on their own, they would have had to book another train all on their own, with no help and no amenities. But because we booked their trip with one of our trusted travel partners, we were able to quickly get them on another train with minimal hassle. Even better, we got them into the same service class as their original ticket, even though the train booking website said no more seats were available!
• We have access to perks and upgrades.
Room upgrades, complimentary meals, spa credits, and more? Yes, please! As professional travel advisors, we’re often able to secure perks for our clients that the regular traveler can’t get on their own. And if we’re trying to decide between 2 different trips, we’ll help you understand which one offers you the best possible benefits.
• We may be able to price match.
Some travelers believe hiring a travel advisor means the trip will be much more expensive than planning on their own, but that’s a myth. Through agent-only portals, we can sometimes find options at a lower cost than consumer websites. And even if we can’t, we always ensure that our clients get the best possible value for their money with exemplary service, upgrades, and benefits.
Let Cultivating Connections Travel Planners Plan Your Next Adventure!
As a professional travel advisor, I not only know my way around a complicated booking, but I also have years of travel experience and close business connections that I draw on to design travel experiences that wow my clients. Contact CCTP today for a complimentary trip planning consultation!
If you’re not sure of the best destination option for you, talk to me, your trusted travel advisor, about your options. I’ll be able to guide you toward the best choice for your unique situation!