Gavin Tollman

Trafalgar’s CEO, Gavin Tollman, takes time out of his schedule to share his thoughts on the state of the industry. This month, he offers tips on how to find the right Travel Agent for you.

Did you know that 89 percent of consumers find themselves overwhelmed by the abundance of choice when it comes to travel decision-making?

We at Trafalgar were recently surprised to discover this was the case through research on consumer sentiments. On reflection, it’s less surprising when considering the volume of information at our fingertips.

This is precisely why in this environment of perplexity, the services of a professional travel consultant, who can help navigate the journey, has become more valuable than ever.

A good Travel Agent takes the time and trouble to listen to what you want (and don’t want), makes thoughtful and relevant suggestions that reflect your holiday aspirations in all ways, adjust to ensure that the holiday is a genuine ‘fit’, and make it happen time according to your defined resources of time and money. At the heart of a good Travel Agent experience is simply this: They do the work, all you do is dream, pack and go.

I have a four-step fit for finding your ‘right’ Agent for your travels:

 

1. EXPERTISE

First-hand knowledge, from the places they have been or learned from their customers and fellow agents. By nature, a great travel advisor must be inherently inquisitive. They don’t just sell a destination—they travel, they ask questions, read, discover, research and experience the places for themselves.

Quality Travel Agents travel for work, absorbing every detail of the guest experience. They don’t have to have personally been where you want to go, a colleague has, or their preferred tour operators have.

They know the hidden gems in a given destination. They take feedback seriously. Every time they travel they are focusing on these details—so their customers can just dream about their destination and not have to worry.

 

2. ACCESS

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Always accessible when you are on the road – an imperative when we are subject to the vagaries of travel – cancelled flights, weather, personal circumstance.

If something goes wrong, a Travel Agent can help make it right. And quickly, with minimum of fuss. They answer their phones and respond to their email no matter where you are on the planet.

Importantly, they must have clout – they will have developed personal relationships with individuals at the companies they sell, and this gives them leverage you can’t get on your own.

 

3. VALUE

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This is their lifeblood. Do not begrudge them for it. You are paying for their service, and their credibility pays dividends.

Generally, I have found that it will not cost you any more than doing it yourself. Their ability to benefit from travel relationships, access and resulting discounts will, with good Travel Agents, benefit you.

If your Travel Agent charges a fee, the value you receive should be greater than what you would have paid going it alone. We may have the world at our fingertips, but a good Travel Agent cuts through the clutter. And eradicates the risk of your holiday dream becoming a nightmare. Remember in travel; there are no do-overs.

 

4. ENDORSEMENT

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Choose a Travel Agent in the same way you would other high-value service providers such as doctors or lawyers. Since travel choices are personal decisions that reflect individual desires and lifestyles, you will want to visit or call a number of consultants to find the one that best suits your needs.

One of the largest changes has been a shift to many different agency models. Look for the ones that best work for you. Trust your instincts – but pay attention to a travel advisor’s willingness to listen and answer questionsAnd never forget that the best advisors want to establish a long-term relationship with you, one that will be a true partnership in which your holiday dreams are fulfilled beyond expectation and is not just seen as a sales-oriented transaction.

 

Why do you think Travel Agents are priceless to a holiday?