I’m not a travel agent anymore.
When travel agents were the only way for people to make reservations for airlines, cruises, tours and hotels, people used them. Now that there are hundreds of online travel booking websites, everyone can be his/her own “travel agent.” Most storefront travel agencies have disappeared and so have the travel agents.
But the explosion of online travel information has given me an opportunity to evolve and provide better service to travelers.
I am now a travel consultant.
“What’s the difference?,” you ask.
As a travel consultant I can help you wade through the nearly impenetrable jungle that is online travel research and guide you to create the best trip possible. I encourage you to do your internet research because you will be a better informed consumer. When your head is spinning from too many options and possibilities, call me, your travel consultant, and I will sort it out with you.
I work with my clients in a personalized advisory and recommending role, far removed from the “one size fits all” reservation options found at online travel agencies. I can make a tremendous difference in the quality of your vacation based on my industry accreditations , travel networks and personal travel experiences. I get to know your travel style and will give you specific advice, tailored to your needs and desires. I can give you budgeting advice.
I will take the time needed to help you develop the vacation you want. No online reservations engine can do that.
So how do I work as a travel consultant?
I can work on a Consulting Only basis, giving you planning advice and helping create your itinerary so you can book your trip on your own. It’s fine to do that! I may save you some time and point you in the right directions, and help organize the parts of your trip as you need. I will give you a limited period of assistance, enough that you can make your trip plans on your own.
I can also work on a Consulting + Booking basis, which gives you all the consulting services and the booking assistance so that everything is in one package for you. I take time with you, the client, and provide itinerary development, research and communication with travel suppliers, and provide support before and after your travel.
These are fee-based services, as you are getting more personal assistance and time than you would with a traditional travel agent.
I also provide a “Long Term Travel Plan” program. This fee-based service is a way for you to plan out your travel three to five years (or more) in the future. Similar to working with a financial planner, we will meet and develop the plan for you to make all those bucket list trips. I will then assist as needed when it’s time to plan each of those trips, giving you my expertise in the booking process.
It is clear that how people plan and book their travel is continuing to change. I, too, continue to change, giving my clients more than just a trip sold to them by a travel agent. As a travel consultant I can give you the best of both worlds: the internet resources that you want and the personal touch you need to create your ideal vacations.