In the vast, digital world, the relevance of a travel planner may be brought in question.
Twenty years ago, travel agents had access to travel databases and were the go-to way of booking. Now, the information is readily available to everyone. So with photographs, reviews, and booking available at our fingertips, how can a modern-day travel planner add value anyways? Here are some examples of how a travel agent may be more beneficial than ever.
1. A truly tailored experience.
We were given a challenge – a mother-daughter bucket list trip to beautiful Italy. Mama had limited mobility, but her daughters were quite active. Each of the ladies had their own set of interests and travel pace. So we carefully chose cities and fun activities that suited the trio perfectly. We selected hotels and towns with minimal stairs (not an easy feat in historic Italy). They saw Rome from the seat of a vintage car and took in the grandeur of the Amalfi Coast from a boat. They were chauffeured to a family-owned winery where they cooked their own pizza in a wood-burning oven while sipping wine from the vineyard. They had a blast and didn’t miss a beat.
2. Handling the hiccups.
One family was thrilled about their multi-island Greek itinerary. They booked their hotels and flights with an OTA before they discovered us, but opted to book the remainder through our services – unique activities, car rental, and ferry tickets to the islands. All was well, until their flight was delayed due to storms for two whole days. They quickly discovered the small print of the great bargain package – non-refundable, non-exchangeable, and not one person to help troubleshoot on the spot. They feared their whole trip was jeopardized as the delay caused a domino effect and they would miss each short stay in the islands. We jumped in and got them an affordable last minute hotel the day they arrived, changed their car rental and ferry tickets to account for schedule shift, and even refunded where we could.
3. Making the right choices.
A travel planner can lend expert advise to help you make the best decisions. We’ve advised clients against “centrally located” hotels that are in unsafe neighborhoods. We’ve directed travelers to a fantastic tour guide who didn’t even have a website. We’ve saved a young honeymoon couple a bundle by avoid peak season without taking away a single indulgence during their dream getaway. It helps just to bounce your ideas off of a pro, which you just can’t get from blog articles or travel reviews.
4. Service a Smart Phone simply can’t give.
Insider tips on where to eat, shop, and visit. Last-minute concierge services. Upgrades and excusive benefits. Real-time questions. Despite what they say, there just isn’t an app for everything. I’ve been called by someone desperately lost and flustered to translate to a taxi driver. There are still some things a human can do better, quicker, and smarter. I can hear the sigh of relief when I answer the phone and confidently say the words, “Don’t worry, I’ll handle it.”