Eight of the Most Common Myths About Travel Advisors
Updated: May 10
I'm Here to Set the Record Straight
In this age of information overload (a Google search of “Where should I stay on Maui?” returns 7.7 million results) and pandemic-related uncertainty, I believe travelers can benefit from personalized vacation-planning help now more than ever.
There are thousands of travel advisors like me around the world (including 22,000 Virtuoso travel advisors in 50 countries, to be exact) who are ready to help make travel dreams come true.
Despite what you may have heard, travel advisors aren’t a vanishing breed; they aren’t trying to upsell you; and – trust me – no matter how well traveled you are, as a Virtuoso travel advisor, I will have more connections than you do.
Here are eight of the most common myths about travel advisors, and I'm here to debunk them, once and for all.
Myth #1: A travel advisor is just a fancy name for a travel agent. Think of travel advisors like financial advisors: They’re trusted, knowledgeable sources who help shape and support big decisions in your life. Travel is an investment, and it can yield an incredible return on life. Deciding where and how to go shouldn’t be taken lightly, whether that’s a years-in-the-making Italian sojourn, a bucket-list world cruise, or a spring break safari with your family. Travel agents can be merely transactional – they’ll book plane tickets and finalize hotel reservations – but travel advisors are transformational. I make it my business to get to know you, and I will work with you again and again on your travel plans, learning everything from your favorite activities to your hotel room preferences.
Myth #2: Every travel advisor is the same. Travel advisors come from different backgrounds, and they each have their own destination specialties and travel-style preferences. Some are pros at family vacations or wellness retreats, for example, while others focus on certain areas of the world, such as Europe or the South Pacific. I work mostly with couples and groups of travelers- small and large- for trips to international destinations, especially Europe. And because I'm so well-connected I'm able to tap into my network of vetted experts around the world. (I like to think that I'm not only an advisor specialist in travel, but also a specialist in you.) Just as I have, lots of advisors have pivoted from other careers as corporate executives or event planners or sommeliers and have leveraged their skills to become experts in group trips and winetasting tours. You can check out my past career on LinkedIn.
Myth #3: It’s expensive to use a travel advisor. As a travel advisor, I earn commissions on trips I plan and book, which may be paid to me by hotels, cruise lines, and tour companies. I also collect a professional fee from my client which is for research, and itinerary design. These fees vary per trip, and I am upfront about them in my agreement. For my clients, paying a small fee to know that their entire trip has been customized and vetted – and knowing they’ve got me to be available to them before, during, and after their trip – is well worth it. Fees aside, in the long run, a travel advisor like me is probably still going to save you money and provide value and convenience - and it will definitely save you time! Working with an advisor provides value you can’t access on your own, such as complimentary breakfasts, spa or dining credits, and upgrades at hotels – plus stateroom credits and complimentary shore excursions on cruises. (On average, travelers receive more than $500 worth of amenities per hotel stay at Virtuoso hotels.)
Myth #4: You can’t be part of the trip-planning process when you use a travel advisor. One of the joys of travel is actually the anticipation and planning: choosing where to stay, which restaurants to visit, and which sites to see. For some, this part of the planning process is almost just as fun as the traveling. But for others, there’s also the stress of worrying if you’re making the right choice, whether your hotel is where you want to be, and what the room actually looks like. (Decision paralysis is real.) I will be as involved as much or as little as you want me to be when it comes to swapping travel ideas, making itinerary decisions, and more. When you connect with me, the vacation-planning process is collaborative, personal, efficient ... and yes, fun. I make planning seamless, leaving you time for more of the fun stuff, like deciding where to get pizza in Florence (but I can give you recommendations for that too!).
Myth #5: Travel advisors are just trying to earn a commission. I want you and your travel companions to experience the best possible trip, and I treat your money as if it’s my own. I consider my work as much of a calling as a career – and I take pride in crafting a perfect itinerary for your needs, selecting the best accommodations, and choosing the best tours. I really get a kick out of planning the perfect vacation for my clients!
Myth #6: I can plan the same trip faster by myself online … People are time starved across age groups and income levels – especially right now. Searching through the overwhelming volume of online content often yields questionable results, with conflicting or outdated information. I believe leisure time is your most valuable, nonrenewable asset. Once it’s lost, you can’t get it back. I will know the answers to questions you may not even think of – and plan things you never knew existed. I spend a good amount of my own time traveling, learning, researching and collecting ideas for my clients. I know about the travel experiences you can’t find on the internet.
Myth #7: … and I can find the same prices and perks on my own too. Through my global connections and industry relationships, I have access to special rates and offers that are not made publicly available. And beyond the hotel perks and cruise amenities available to me as a Virtuoso advisor, there’s one more skill that I have that online booking websites don’t: the ability to pick up the phone. As a travel advisor, I can call or email the general manager at a Italy hotel that my client is about to check into to see if an upgrade is available. It's definitely about what you know and who you know. If a hotel’s website says it’s fully booked, there’s a good chance I may be able to secure a reservation for you. I will also make sure you’re set up with the best car services, the most personalized tour and the right travel insurance. Stop staring at the countless tabs open on your internet browser and just email me.
Myth #8: Nobody uses travel advisors anymore. The biggest myth of all is that travel advisors are extinct, having disappeared with the advent of the internet. That couldn’t be further from the truth: I am in a network of 22,000 Virtuoso advisors around the globe. And if the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we’ll never take the ability to travel for granted again. When it comes to something as valuable and important as your leisure time, it’s absolutely worth it to work with me who will always have you covered.
-Adapted from Virtuoso 2021
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