- Relationships with suppliers – you know when you’re visiting your neighborhood restaurant where the servers are familiar and give you a new dessert to try with your meal sometimes? Companies and people love to reward loyalty and the same is true about travel providers. Travel advisors have relationships with these companies and their staff and want to keep that relationship mutually beneficial! The suppliers know that if they can keep their travel advisors’ clients happy, they’ll be more likely to send more people their way. Sometimes this can translate into extra attention, free upgrades, or even things like chocolate-covered strawberries in your room!
- Knowledge about products – what’s the best travel insurance and should you get it? If something were to go wrong or there were any last-minute changes, which suppliers have the best cancellation policies? Ask your advisor! They treat knowledge about travel like it’s their job (because it is!)
- Better rates / added benefits – you won’t always get better rates booking with an advisor, but you’ll often get more value-added. In the age of online booking, it’s easier than ever to find “deals” online, but when you go through a massive online booking company, oftentimes, you’re not seeing the whole picture. Is that hotel room so cheap because it’s on the side of the building next to train tracks and faces a brick wall? With an advisor, you know exactly what you’re getting and what added benefits are coming along with it. Travel advisors also stay updated on what kind of sales are happening. If they know you’re looking for a river cruise to Europe and a big sale starts, they’ll know to pass that information along to you!
- Translating dreams to reality – How do you take your vague notion about a dream vacation and turn it into reality? Ask your travel advisor! They’re able to translate your wants into real locations and help you identify what pieces of your trip will matter the most.
- Travel logistics – How much time do you need for a layover? Would it make the most sense to rent a car, hire a driver, or something else altogether? If even starting down that train of thought is giving you sweaty palms, take a deep breath and call your travel advisor.
- Peace of mind – In the unfortunate event that something does go wrong, having someone on your side to help you through it and advocate for you is invaluable. Instead of being stuck internationally frantically trying to track down all of the people you need to call, you can make one call to your travel advisor and trust them to figure out the best plan for you.
- They get to know you – The more you use a travel advisor, the more valuable they are. With each trip you take through them, the more feedback you’re able to give them on what worked for you and what you’d skip next time, making each subsequent trip even further beyond perfect.
I am proud to be certified by CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) as an Elite Cruise Counselor. The Cruise Counselor Certification Program is CLIA's most comprehensive training which requires agents to successfully complete a number of compulsory training courses and exams, attend cruise conferences, and conduct ship inspections. Anita Thompson, Attheta Travel