When I tell people I’m a travel designer (or to use a more antiquated term “travel agent”) I get a range of reactions.
Some people recall the blue haired old lady who used to book their family’s airline tickets back in the 80’s. Others marvel that this is in fact still a viable occupation. “Can’t you just book everything online?” they say!
The vast majority of my clients have NEVER worked with a travel agent before. Let me put that another way. I am the very first travel agent with whom nearly 100% of my clients have ever worked. Wow right? This clearly illustrates how absent travel agents have been from the travel conversation over the past 15 – 20 years, but also illustrates how modern day travel designers (like me!) have evolved to serve travelers like you.
Since this is a conversation I have on almost a daily basis, I wanted to answer these questions here in writing. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments below, or share this with friends and family who may be thinking about booking a family trip. As you’ll see, working with an experienced, professional travel designer (like me!) to plan your next trip is without a doubt the best way to successfully create treasured memories with your family.
Here are 4 of the main ways in which I help my clients plan and book the best travel experiences.
#1. I will be looking out for you from the moment you book to the moment you return from your trip.
From the very moment a booking is made, I will be monitoring your reservation, communicating with the hotels, confirming and reconfirming every detail. Having someone watching out for you and your family is the heart and soul of the service all good travel agents provide.
Let me illustrate how important this really is. I have a family who is taking advantage of a fabulous off-season promotion at an all inclusive resort in Mexico this fall. While we knew there would be some construction going on at the resort while they will be on site, I recently got a detailed update on the construction from my contact on the ground. I was able to quietly request a specific room for my clients to ensure their trip is not impacted by the construction. My clients had no idea, but as I work to monitor every booking I make in the interest of ensuring there is nothing standing in the way of them creating treasured memories together as a family, this is part of the service I provide to my clients.
Book on Expedia? That’s pretty much a guarantee you’ll be right next to the jackhammers that fire up around 6am every morning.
#2. The experiences I recommend are going to be the best fit for your family.
You wouldn’t ask a dentist to help you with a foot injury, would you? The same goes for travel. If your objective is to create treasured memories with your family, don’t expect to get the best possible results working with a travel designer who specializes in European River Cruises for retirees or a tour company known for cheap backpacker trips for college students. Or for that matter, from a web site that knows nothing about you and is only concerned with driving as much volume as possible, regardless of fit for the traveler. Or from another parent on the playground who just got back from a vacation.
What worked for someone else isn’t necessarily going to be the best fit for you! I customize every recommendation based on the needs and interests of my clients.
You can be 100% confident that after getting to know the unique dynamics of you and your family, the recommendations I’m making are all based on personal experience, decades spent developing relationships on the ground, and time-tested success in helping families create treasured memories together through travel.
#3. I will save you money!
As a travel agent, I make money from commissions paid to me by the hotels, tour operators and other suppliers with whom I book travel. The travel industry practices rate parity, also called rate integrity. This means that, for example, a hotel in Mexico MUST offer the same pricing across all channels. The price you find on Expedia must be the same as what you find on the hotel’s own web site and is what is provided to travel agents when we’re preparing client proposals.
You will not pay more for travel booked by a travel agent.
But here is where the real magic happens. I have access to travel agent only deals, specials, and incentives that often combine to create lower prices that you would be able to find online. Things like free upgrades, resort credits, and other added perks are common to see attached to travel agent bookings.
#4. And finally, you will save the most precious thing of all…time.
Let’s face it, we’re all super busy. Working with a professional travel designer is the most efficient, stress-free way to plan a perfect travel experience.
There is SO much information, opinions and blatantly false information on the web today. Instead of spending hours and hours digging through information online or winging it and “hoping for the best” – work with me because I’ve been there, know the product and most importantly know the people behind the experiences.
If you value your time and don’t want to mess up your next trip, work with a professional to get it booked quickly and correctly.
So what do you think? I’m thrilled to be leading a new generation of travel designers AND educating a new generation of travelers along the way. Contact me today to get started planning your next family trip.