Is a travel agent necessary?
Truthfully, the answer is no. Given that I am a travel agent, this response may surprise you. I just want to be honest. Really, why would you need me? All the information you need to book a fabulous vacation is at your fingertips. All you need is the internet… time… knowledge… and/or a willingness to take a calculated risk. Super easy…wait, huh?! Before I totally have you thinking I’m ready to close up the shop, I would like to share with you why I believe my profession is still relevant despite the DIY-Expedia-Travelocity-Travelzoo era we live in.
First, I’m the most cost effective Executive Assistant you will ever have. I will work tirelessly to find you the best value in airfare. I will also recommend hotels that I have personally visited or ones that come from a verified source who has personally visited. I will answer all of your travel related questions, ensure you have the proper documentation to travel safely and freely, and I will be available should anything go array while you are at your travel destination.
Second, I’m going to save you time and money. Not convinced? Let’s translate your time into dollars. Imagine you decide to go to Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts in Orlando for your next family vacation. Did you know there are more than 25 themes resort hotels on the Disney property? If you spend a conservative 15 minutes looking over each hotel, doing a quick glance at reviews, and browsing prices or photos, that is 6.25 hours of time. Once you decide on your hotel, the next thing you want to examine is the airfare. I happen to have a fun trivia fact for you today: How many commercial passenger airlines fly out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International? The answer is 15. If you are going to do the airfare search yourself, I hope you will be asking yourself questions such as:
- Who is offering the best flight times at the best price?
- If I’m already a Frequent Flier with X airline is that going to offer better advantages for me than choosing another carrier?
- If I leave on a Tuesday is that really cheaper than leaving on the more convenient Friday?
If you decide to spend just 15 minutes each looking at five of the major airlines, or go to a one-stop search engine to play around with various departure and return dates, this is going to consume a minimum of 1.25 hours of your time. We are already at 7.25 hours in to your vacation planning, and you haven’t even booked yet! (Just in case the fares drop tomorrow). Take the 7.25 hours and multiply this figure by your hourly wage to see what you are costing yourself! Time is money and you should value it more! If you still prefer to think in terms of the money you are saving by doing this all yourself, note that you’ve just given up a week’s worth of lunch hours to conduct your search…or a week’s worth of sleeping in an extra hour. That time has to come from somewhere! Don’t sacrifice. Professionally planning travel is my job so you don’t have to stop doing yours.
Finally, I have a lot of amazing connections and access to deals that I would love to share with you. If you want to tackle this aspect of the travel planning process, more power to you. There are even helpful articles that will advise you on the many Shameless Ways to Get An Upgrade. If none of these approaches resonate with you, then let me help you get the upgrade, deal, or discount without the uncomfortable or awkward exchanges. Your vacation should be spent relaxing and carefree. I’d be honored to make that happen for you.