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Stop Asking Travel Advisors to Work for Free!

So, let me ask you a question.  Do you tend to work for free? No, seriously…do you work without the expectation of getting paid?  If your employer asked you to perform your daily task and then decided that they changed their mind, for whatever reason, after said task had been performed and therefore you don’t get paid, would you continue to work for that employer?  I’m willing to bet that the answer is no. Because who does that, right? Well, that’s exactly what people tend to expect from Travel Advisors and for the life of me, I cannot understand why! As a Travel Advisor, I’m here to make your life easier when it comes to planning your vacation and making unbelievable memories with your family and friends and I do expect to be paid accordingly.  Yes, you can likely turn to the internet and find arrangements for your next trip but working with a travel advisor provides you with three things that you aren’t likely to achieve on your own-wisdom, access, and design service. Let me explain why that’s worth paying for.

Let’s start with the wisdom you have access to when you decide to hire a travel advisor.  I’m sure you’re an expert at whatever it is you do and in turn, so am I! I spend countless hours learning about different vendor products, going over countless reviews and Youtube videos, learning the ins and outs of destinations, making contacts with people all over the world as well as developing integral relationships with the representatives of products so that I can ensure my clients have experiences well beyond their expectations.  Not only that, I, myself am a world traveller. This allows you to basically be able to pick out a destination and sit back and wait to go-WITHOUT DOUBT. When you decide to book with an online travel agency, it will sell you whatever you want but it won’t advise you that you are booking your trip in the middle of winter for the hemisphere you plan to travel or during monsoon season. It’ll sell you the cheapest airfare without advising you that for a few dollars more you can arrive much earlier and maximize your first day of travel.

Next, let’s talk about the access that I have as a Travel Advisor versus the access you have booking online.  Have you ever tried to reach one of those online travel agencies when you are having a problem with your reservations?  I can assure you, it aint easy! Have you ever had an issue at a hotel and they seemed to fight you every step of the way in getting things the way you want them? I booked a cruise vacation for a client once and arranged a shuttle to pick her up at a time that she didn’t have to rush off the ship to just go sit at the airport and wait for her flight (a flight schedule that she picked, btw).  Well, she decided to disembark early anyway and attempted to call the shuttle service to pick her up at a new time to which she was informed she would have to wait until her scheduled time for her shuttle to arrive. She promptly called me (which she should have done in the first place), and the shuttle service picked her up within five minutes of that call. It was at that moment that she truly realized the value of working with a Travel Advisor!  That’s just one example of many of how I put my super cape on and save the day!

Part of what I charge a planning fee for is my design service.  Anybody can book a trip but I, as well as most travel advisors worth a grain of salt, design experiences!  By all means, if all you want to do is go to an island and stay at the resort, have at it! I’m here to make sure you get the most out of your travel experiences.  My custom itineraries as well as group experiences are to make sure you are making memories that will last a lifetime because that’s what it’s all about, right?

In conclusion, I just want to add that the commission that I make from the vendors I book clients with is me being for the work I’ve done for THEM.  The work that I do for my clients can sometimes go on for a year or more. In customizing experiences, I sometimes book and negotiate things that I am not even paid by the vendor for, in an effort to maximize the client experience.  I have to keep up with when payments are due, keep clients informed of current events, as well as make sure everyone is getting the most VALUE for their money. And I can assure you that even though I love all my client’s, they’re not always the easiest people to work with.  To sum it up, being a Travel Advisor is WORK! So, when you contact one of us and you’re informed of the planning fee we charge, now you know why! Gone are the days that you can just keep calling for free quotes and book your vacation yourself online after someone else has already done the research.  And shame on you if you’re that person! I understand that working with a Travel Advisor is not for everybody. Some people are simply looking for a cheap trip. If that’s all you’re looking for, by all means, an OTA is exactly what you need. But if you’re looking for an experience without doing all the work yourself, hire yourself a good Travel Advisor!  You’ll be happy you did!

Until next time,

Stephanie J.


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