Finding the ideal destination to match your vacation style can be a stressful mission that requires money, time, and expertise.
Therefore, many travelers are backing away from their computers and leaving the planning to travel agents –who are more than equipped with first-hand knowledge and access to a wealth of suppliers that allows them to design the perfect itinerary to match vacationers to their dream getaways precisely.
From the all-inclusive hotel and luxury cruising to off-the-beaten path adventures and affordable airfare, the travel professional has essentially become the key to discovering the latest travel trends and world-class experiences that cannot be easily researched online or discovered by robotic algorithms.
“We have a mind and are capable of making intelligent decisions when it comes to finding the perfect vacation for our clients,” says Catherine Brock, travel agent and president of The Total Excursion in Oceanside, N.Y.
When it comes to booking travel, agents take pride in building consumer loyalty to expand the vacation experience through lavish amenities that can only be granted to travelers through interpersonal relationships.
When choosing the hotel destination - whether it is the all-inclusive Caribbean resort or cozy inn - agent familiarity comes in quite handy. They have often either been to the resorts or booked clients into the accomodations and have in-depth, first-hand reviews that go beyond what you'll find on TripAdvisor.
Travelers are even flocking to sites like Groupon which offer inexpensive accommodations with no guarantee of a great vacation.
Travel agents can elevate the vacation experience to create an unforgettable stay with agent-exclusive add-ons like complimentary bottles of wine and breakfasts, preferable room views, upgraded suites at no cost, as well as earlier check-ins and later check-outs.
With travel agents, cruisers can also experience high-quality levels of service across the seas that are nearly impossible to obtain online.
Again, agents have exclusive relationships with the lines and are able to pass on perks you won't find with the OTAs.
These perks include courtesy wine bottles, improved staterooms and shipboard credits.
Although a travel agent may seem ideal for just booking flights, they serve a much greater purpose for travelers wanting their plans to flow flawlessly.
“Travel agents are a means to an end,” says Brock. “We paint the entire picture and take care of the little details like cab transfers and travel insurance.”
With the world at your fingertips, travelers can be easily confused by the magnitude of destination information flooding the web.
However, agent access to far-flung destinations can be just as profound as the popular attractions.
Even Brock acknowledges the strong impact of off-the-beaten-path adventures and enjoys introducing her clients to diverse settings including quiet exhibits and new openings- which can be deemed as priceless.
Follow me on Twitter @ChereseWeekesTP.