If you've never been to a travel agent, you should know that it's similar to meeting anyone for the first time. You need to get to know each other and see if there's a connection.
Did you like your doctor when you first met? If you didn't, did you find another one? Or how about your teachers? A new boss?
Having a travel agent assist you with your trip can be tremendously helpful, but you need to learn about each other and make sure you like that person. Often, you're spending a great deal of money on a vacation so you want a trusting relationship with the agent who is handling your trip.
Here are just a few things you can expect:
A Long Talk
"When visiting a travel agent for the first time, you should expect a warm greeting followed by a conversation about your past travel experiences, your likes and dislikes as it relates to travel, and your vision for your upcoming trip," said Peggy Rosenthal, Dream Vacations Franchise Owner and Vacation Specialist in Bella Vista, Arkansas.
"By investing a little bit of time up front, you can help your agent understand your needs and she will be much better prepared to deliver your dream vacation."
"It should be considered a first-date of sorts," said Corey S. Determan, Good Travels Advisor & Certified Cruise Counsellor in Jacksonville, Florida.
"Just like any other agent-insurance, real estate, financial planner, etc.-your relationship with this person will (hopefully) be long-term. It will grow as you develop and tastes change-from independent adventure travel to romantic getaways to a destination wedding or honeymoon and eventually to multi-generational family vacations. It's important your agent understands your travel style and your preferences."
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Determan said that if there's no spark, however, make a clean break.
"Don't ask for a quote if you have no intention of using that agent," he said. "No one likes to be led on, and the agent will ultimately lose money doing work for you that she will not get paid for if you don't actually purchase."
A Level of Comfort
"There's no reason to feel silly or embarrassed if you're not familiar with the way travel agencies work or what the benefits of working together are," said Rafa Mayer, Founder and CEO of Say Hueque, a travel agency in South America.
"Trust us, whatever question you have in mind, chances are we've heard it before."
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A Helping Hand with Research:
"I'm finding that the older clients aren't wanting to do any research on computers," said Penny Gellatly, owner and travel consultant at Escape by Travel in Cloquet, Minnesota. "However, they want to be educated on the different destinations and which destination is for them.
Gellatly had one couple that wanted to cruise with their family.
"The kids wanted an all-inclusive as their friends tell them all the time how simple life can be at the all-inclusive. I asked for us to get together in my office. I had asked them to talk to their kids to see what they wanted to do, where did they want to go, and what was important to them while on vacation. Then bring me that list from their kids and go over all in detail."
After finding out that Jamaica was the agreed-upon destination, they talked about resort options and what they had to offer them all.
"They wanted golfing, shopping, a beach they could swim in and relaxing at a family-friendly smaller resort," she said. "I love meeting with clients. It gives me the opportunity to show them my experience and knowledge that I can share with them. I know Mr. Internet isn't going to give that info."
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