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5 Things Your Travel Agent Isn’t Telling You

Traveling is one of the most exciting and life-changing experiences one can have. However, planning a vacation can be a daunting and time-consuming task. It is usually one of the bigger expenses so you don’t want to waste your money and you only get so many vacation days each year. That’s where travel agents come in. They are supposed to make your travel experience smoother and more comfortable. However, there are things that travel agents may not tell you, but we will. Not only will this list make you aware of some red flags, but also let you know how an amazing travel agent will deal with these situations.

They have not been to the destination or resort you are interested in. 

Travel agents are experts in the travel industry, but they can’t possibly know everything about every single destination in the world. This does not mean they are not knowledgeable and an amazing resource. 

Even if they have not been to the actual destination you are looking for, they are experts at planning travel. They should have the experience to help you make decisions that will make your trip go smother and match the vacation style you are looking for. 

Don’t be afraid to ask your travel agent if they have been to the destination you are interested in, but if they haven’t this is not a deal breaker.  Ask them what experience they have with the destination.  Have they sent other clients to the area? Do they have local contacts that have shared insights with them? Is there a coworker that has shared their own 1st hand knowledge of the destination?  All of these things can make a travel agent qualified for selling travel to any destination. 

They are choosing your vacation package based on their commission

While many travel agents charge planning fees, most of their earnings come from commissions.  This can make it tempting to sell one product over another based on the commission the agent is offered by the company. 

Most travel agents are not swayed much by increased commissions. While they may earn more by choosing travel options based on commissions, they are trying to build strong lasting relationships, ensuring the client’s needs come first.  A lot of times there may be several hotels or resorts of similar reputations and amenities that are all great options.  In this case, the tiebreaker just might be the commission for the agent. 

While you hopefully found a travel agent you can trust, take a little bit of time to check the choices they have made to make sure it is what you want. 

They are padding your vacation package with extra commissions. 

As mentioned previously in this article, travel agents make most of their income on commissions. They likely also charge a planning fee on top.  Commissions between the travel providers and the agent are in set agreements, but with some programs, agents can just add more commission on top of the price of travel packages without the traveler knowing. 

We think anyone should be able to make a living in their profession, but also prefer transparency. 

The best way to deal with this is to ask for a breakdown of fees and charges before starting to work together. After working together you can then ask for a breakdown of the cost of that specific vacation package. 

You shouldn’t use a travel agent

While a travel agent can be worth their weight in gold, sometimes it’s just not a good fit.  If you are the type of traveler who wants to spend their time before the trip researching and booking the different elements of the trip, you may not need a travel agent. Spontaneous travelers, penny pinchers, road trippers, and people who want to repeat a previous vacation are all examples of people who may not be a good fit for travel agents.  Your travel agent may not tell you this because they want your business, and while we see a ton of value in travel agents, they aren’t for everyone for every trip. 

Your travel agent may not have received any training

Did you know that anyone can become a travel agent without any training? There are businesses where for a small monthly fee you can easily become a travel agent.  There are plenty of training opportunities available, but the quality of the different programs varies greatly. Instead of asking a travel agent if they have had any training, ask them about their expertise. How long have they been a travel agent? How often have they booked travel to the destination you are looking for? 

These types of questions will let you know the experience level the travel agent has to let you know if you should work with them. 

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