Travelers tend to fall into one of two groups when it comes to organizing vacations:
The first is the traveler that does all the planning themselves. They spend hours surfing the internet, comparing prices, jumping back and forward between fast changing flight prices, and contacting hotels and attractions direct to get the best package. You need a vacation to relax after all that hard work!
The second is the one that uses a travel agent to do all the donkey work. Tell them your wish list, and let them use the power of their systems and connections to get you the best deals. For this group of travelers, this is how to book the best value European tour packages and vacations around the world.
But how do you know the travel agent you’ve selected will do what you ask? And how do you know that it can do so? In this article, we’ll look at how you can find the best and nearest travel agent.
The nearest travel agent isn’t always the best
The first thing to look for when searching for a great travel agent is how good their customer service is. A travel agent may have state-of-the-art technology, but unless it can deliver to you it’s a waste. Whatever travel agent you use, they’re providing a service as a middleman.
A travel agent makes their money by taking a commission. You have a right to expect great service.
We’ve heard plenty of horror stories about other travel agents. Stories such as the client who:
- Phoned a travel agent and was told all its agents were currently busy. Then the receptionist asked if the client could phone back in twenty minutes!
- Left an answerphone message and was never called back.
When you speak to a travel agent, they should ask questions to confirm your needs. Then they should give you a time (or time slot) when they will call you back – and do so.
Great travel agents ask what you want
When you speak to a travel agent, you can gauge their dedication to getting you the best deal, best flights, and best hotels by the questions they ask. They should ask about what types of activities you’d like to do while away. Questions that you might be asked include:
- Is it going to be a romantic break, or a family vacation?
- Are you adventurous, or do you prefer a more relaxed routine?
- Do you want a hotel near the action, or would you prefer one that is more secluded?
- Do you want a vacation with vibrant nightlife?
- Is experiencing new cultures, trying different foods, and learning more about the history of the world important to you?
You should expect questions about your budget, and whether you’d be prepared to take a multi-stop flight to reduce costs. And, of course, you should be asked about itinerary, flexibility, and preferred methods of travel.
Ask questions to find the best travel agent nearest to you
One of the best ways to find out whether a travel agent is worth using, or whether doing so will only lead to disappointment, is to ask questions yourself. You’ll want to discover what connectivity to the major airlines they have, and whether they have access to the cheapest flight prices (which are never advertised). Ask if they are an air consolidator (the guarantee of cheapest flights).
Technology is important, of course, and you’ll want to be assured that the travel agent you use keeps up-to-date with travel agent systems. But at its heart, the travel agency business is a people business. Personal connections are every bit as important in the industry as online connections. An agent with a lifetime experience will be able to access travel opportunities that you never thought possible. And then pass on all the benefits of their experience and connections to you.
Surf the internet and find reviews of the agent. Five star reviews from previous clients are a good sign that you’ll receive a similar level of service.
Is the travel agent registered with a recognized body?
It’s not a guarantee that you’ll get good service, but using a travel agent that is registered with a recognized body gives some peace of mind. Its service levels, professionalism, and ability to serve its customers are prerequisites of membership. Never use a travel agent who isn’t a member of a national travel agency body like ASTA or NACTA.
In addition to our NACTA membership, were also one of a select number of estate agents who have been chosen by American Express as a travel partner – and that’s not an accolade that is given lightly.
So where is the best and nearest travel agent?
The nearest travel agent t you could be at your fingertips. But how do you make sure an online travel agent is also the best? Interrogate its website:
- Look for confirmation that it belongs to a national travel agency body
- Is its website easy to navigate?
- Make sure that the travel agent posts regular content that is useful
- Read testimonials to ensure that other clients have been happy with the service received
Often, online travel agents have sub-par booking systems. They will simply ask what date you want to travel, and provide a list of flight options, for example. The best and most modern applications allow you to tailor a request to your requirements. It will ask you the questions that a great rave agent would ask.
Take a couple of minutes of your time to examine our website. Take the opportunity to check out our vacation package application. Or simply contact us, or drop into one of our travel agent offices to explore your travel options at the best travel agent nearest to you… as close as your fingers are to your keyboard.