If you’ve never heard of a travel agent before, don’t worry! It’s not a relic from the past. Travel agents are as alive and well today as they were back in the ’80s and ’90s (yes, there were travel agents back then too). These days, it’s even more important to have an expert help you plan your travels. But wait: how can you tell if your travel agent is actually capable of helping you? It can be difficult to know whether or not someone has the experience and knowledge needed to make sure your vacation runs smoothly. That’s why we put together this list of questions to ask potential travel agents before hiring them for your dream trip. We hope that by empowering consumers like you with a little bit of knowledge about how these companies work, we can help ensure that everyone has an enjoyable time on their next vacation.
Make sure your travel agent is Certified
- A Certified Travel Agent (CTA) is a professional who has passed a rigorous exam and meets the standards set by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).
- To become an ASTA Certified Travel Specialist, candidates must have at least four years’ experience as a travel professional and complete an extensive course curriculum in all aspects of the industry, including:
- On-line marketing strategies that drive online sales opportunities
- Customer service skills designed to keep clients coming back for more trips throughout their lives
- Industry trends affecting customer behavior that can be used to increase revenues
Ask if your travel agent has been to the destination you plan to visit.
If so, they’ll know the area and can tell you about it. If not, it’s still beneficial because they can ask for recommendations from other travelers who have visited the area recently or just go online and do some research themselves (a lot of tourist destinations like Rome have their own official websites). In either case, their detailed knowledge will help guide your trip itinerary planning process!
They’ll also be able to tell you about local culture, weather patterns, food habits and other important details—all things that could make all the difference when planning a vacation!
Inquire how long the agency has been selling the kind of travel you wish to buy.
If the agency has been selling this type of product for many years, it’s an indication that they know what they are doing. After all, if they weren’t good at selling your kind of travel, they wouldn’t still be in business. The more experience an agency has with your type of trip, the better off you will be as a consumer in all kinds of dealing like airline tickets, cruise bookings, money exchange, entry fees, best-connected routes, and offer fares.
Make sure your chosen agency is accessible and open to communication.
A good travel agent should be available by phone, email and social media. The most important thing is that they are responsive to your questions and concerns.
Also make sure that you can reach them at any time of the day or night. If a problem comes up in the middle of the night, you don’t want to have to wait until morning when the office opens again for someone to help you with it.
Make sure to find out if your travel agent is a member of any professional organizations.
Many travel agents are members of professional organizations, including the Professional Travel Agents Network and the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). Membership in these groups indicates that your agent has experience, a good reputation for service, and excellent communication skills.
Make sure they’re willing to go that extra mile for you.
- Are they willing to help you if something goes wrong with your flight?
- Do they have contacts in every country you’re planning on visiting, or at least where your trip will be taking place?
- Is there someone who can speak their language who will be able to translate for them? This is especially important if the agent doesn’t speak the language that your family speaks, because then it might be difficult for them to communicate with each other.
- Does this travel agent have any recommendations for hotels and restaurants near where the event is taking place?
A good travel agency can make or break your vacation.
A good travel agent can make or break your vacation. They should be able to help you with everything from booking the flight to finding a hotel and everything in between, including:
- finding the best flights
- booking hotels or resorts
- making car reservations
- finding excursions or other activities for your trip (like snorkeling or scuba diving)
To sum up, you should pay close attention to how your travel agent communicates. If they seem knowledgeable and confident, then you’ve found a winner! You should also look out for agents who are open about the fact that they’re learning or still have a lot to learn about their field; those agents may be more willing to help you than those who act like they know everything already. Good luck in your search for a travel agency—happy travels!
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