So, what is it that you do?
Demystifying What I Do
As A Travel Advisor
I love travel and I love seeing travel through my client's eyes! I get a kick out of the anticipation, excitement and wonder of the destinations that they visit as well as the memories they create.
The Covid-19 disruption to the travel industry has definitely been a character builder for me. It has not been easy to cancel and reschedule so many clients but I feel fulfilled knowing that I made a very stressful and uncertain time better for my clients.
I am often asked- just what is it that you do? Many may not know what a travel advisor does because they are more familiar with the term, travel agent, so I thought I would take the opportunity to outline the difference for you.
Most people are familiar with the way things used to work. You would go to the travel agent's office, tell them you want to buy a plane ticket to a certain destination on a specific date with a hotel stay and a rental car. The travel agent would complete the transaction and book the trip so you would walk out with an actual plane ticket and confirmation documents. The focus was on speed and volume and agents were encouraged to sell certain airlines, hotels and cruises with a one size fits all approach.
Nowadays, things are quite different. Brick-and-mortar travel agencies are few and far between but the ones that exist may still employ the travel agent tactics for their service. Online booking websites such as Trip Advisor have similar booking tactics but without any consideration of planning and advising the customer.
Due to changes in the travel industry, travel agents have evolved into travel advisors. As a travel advisor, I don’t focus on the latest cookie cutter deal and I don’t just fill orders by booking travel. Instead, I develop a relationship with my clients to plan, design and book trips that suit my clients' preferences, interests, and budget to create lifetime memories.
Clients engage my services as a travel advisor to reduce their stress and risk, to add value and convenience and to transform their trip from good to great. I may be asked to validate choices that a client may already have made. I may remind clients of what they forgot. I may reveal options a client didn’t know existed.
I am paid by my clients with an affordable professional planning fee for my advisor responsibilities which includes consultation with my client to learn preferences and travel styles, research of destinations, suppliers and pricing, evaluation of options and itinerary creation with edits until it is exactly what my client wants before they place a deposit. This fee also includes my clients’ access to me before, during and after travel so that I can advocate for them if anything would go wrong with their trip.
Once I propose the itinerary, the client may decide not to move forward with their trip or if the client does move forward, then the subsequent work to book the components of the trip is paid to me by commissions from the suppliers.
I have vetted and developed relationships with suppliers in my network so that I can obtain the best pricing and extras and also have leverage to get the job done on my clients' behalf. I can also work with any suppliers outside of my network - the goal is to always to create the best travel experience for my clients.
Ongoing education is a must in the travel industry to be a successful travel advisor. I am a Verified Travel Advisor with the American Society of Travel Advisors.
I spend a great deal of time each week educating myself on destinations, accommodations, travel experiences and suppliers by participating in webinars to increase my knowledge and expertise. In addition, I keep up to date with airlines, cruise lines, and tour operator policies in an ever-changing travel industry. I belong to special peer group communities that focus on niches such as group travel, culinary travel, and cruise travel.
I also stay on top of industry trends and the best suppliers through weekly communication with hundreds of fellow travel advisors in my hosting agency, Gifted Travel Network as well as my consortium, Virtuoso, and my professional organizations - insider knowledge you won’t find on Trip Advisor.
And finally, I am a Certified Tour Director and Guide through the International Tour Management Institute which demonstrates that I have the training and skills to escort your group during travel. I can provide on-the-ground support during your group trip, facilitating transfers, check in, and logistical issues. Group travel is my jam!
So, there you have it in a nutshell. I hope that you will place your trust in me for your future travel plans. I'm excited to get started!