I’ve earned a reputation as one of the world’s best flight deal hunters and it’s damn well deserved! I spend multiple hours a day setting alerts, looking for opportunity and checking the cheapest websites to book flights. But on an almost weekly basis, I find myself emailing a travel agent, asking for help, insight or other assistance with my air travel and hotel travel needs. Here’s why I regularly use a travel agent in the year 2018 – and why you probably should too.
Travel agents often have access to private airfare deals, which are not available to the general public. There are many times when I find a phenomenal deal, that a travel agent can knock even a bit more dough off. And even if there are no good deals going around at all, such as peak summer travel – they may still have some money saving opportunities thanks to these private fares.
Say an amazing deal comes up, you’re really really tempted but you need more than 24 hours to decide, or perhaps there’s no 24 hour hold offered at all. A travel agent often has the power to hold any deal for up to 48 hours or more, far greater than most airlines offer the general public. This can be a crucial help while getting your plans lined up, or figuring out who’s paying, without the stress of missing a great deal!
Many travel agents have access to Virtuoso, Ritz Carlton Preferred Partner, SPG Pro, Hyatt Prive and other preferred booking programs. Agents can often match a great rate you’ve found, but throw in benefits generally only reserved for elite travelers such as: confirmed room upgrade, breakfast for two, late check out and sometimes even a food and beverage credit. If you’re booking a luxury stay, it should almost always be booked through a great travel agent.
Travel agents generally have more flexible payment options than a standard airline website. This is particularly useful if you’re splitting your ticket with someone, or a business is covering up to a certain amount of your ticket. Some travel agents can split a ticket payment up to 10 different ways. If you often mix work, pleasure and money this is extremely valuable.
Every great travel agent has (at some point) traveled extensively, and the best do it frequently. Through their travels, agents are able to sample locations with a unique focus on understanding what each hotel, resort or location offers to a visitor. There are travel agents with extremely focused knowledge of various places, who can simplify decisions like “what’s the best kid friendly hotel in London” and so forth. If you haven’t been somewhere this can alleviate a lot of guess work…
Real Time Availability
Ever find a deal that you’re struggling to actually book? Travel agents can be just the key, or at least put you out of your misery. I’ve found countless deals where I get to the final booking page and it fizzles out. After emailing a travel agent, I then find out they either a) can actually book it or b) there’s actually only one seat available, and not two. Travel agents can also advice you when rates will change, which can be helpful for planning purposes.
Any recommendations? I regularly use Adam Corin with Travel Counsellors. He’s a travel agent to the stars and is always quick to respond at firstname.lastname@example.org. But there are incredible travel agents everywhere! Find one! And if you are one, feel free to leave your contact details below, and what you can offer potential clients!
Featured image courtesy of Park Hyatt Maldives.