Your time is valuable
Think about all the different pieces of a great vacation. Airline tickets, hotels, transfers, tours, dining, maybe cruises and excursions. Do you really want to spend countless hours just trying to find different choices for each, comparing your options and finally booking all of them? My husband jokes I get paid for waiting on hold with different suppliers and he’s not entirely wrong. I’ll research all the options, juggle the variables and present you with choices tailored to your specific needs.
Experience and Expertise
I travel. A lot. I’ve been to over 40 countries on 6 continents (I’ll get to Antarctica someday;) You can take a look at my About page or Facebook feed to see some of my more recent trips. Obviously, I love to travel, but it also helps me immeasurably when booking for my customers. Visiting different hotels and resorts, and experiencing a variety of travel companies gives me the first-hand experience to help you find what you’re looking for. I’m part of Frosch Travel - one of the largest travel companies in the world and if I haven’t personally been somewhere you’re thinking about, I have contacts and experts I can call for reliable opinions. Think about all the variables that go into picking a cruise. There's an infinite combination of cruise lines, ships, itineraries, cabin classes, excursion options and prices that need to be considered to come up with the perfect trip for you. Did you know there are 16 new cruise ships ready to set sail in the next two years? I do, and if I haven’t researched them yet I probably have something scheduled with one of their reps to learn more. Attending industry events, meeting with suppliers and getting certified as an expert on new travel trends is a big part of what I do to make sure I’m presenting you with the best, and most up to date options. #igosoyouknow
“I can find it cheaper on Expedia, or Priceline or Booking.com”
Not always. Occasionally something will appear on one of these aggregators that’s less than what I’ve been able to find. There's always a reason for a price difference, and it's never a good one. What people often fail to realize about online aggregators like these is that they’re not always apples to apple comparisons. Hotels will often offer ‘less desirable’ rooms to these vendors. Think rooms overlooking construction, near a heavy traffic area or with an odd layout. They’ll release these kinds of rooms to these vendors while holding the better ones for regular customers or for travel agents.
About those reviews...
Let’s say you’ve found what you believe to be are the best deals online, you’re still left with the task of figuring out which one is right for you. No problem you’re thinking - I’ll read the reviews. Well…. In addition to an entire cottage industry that exists for business owners to buy fake reviews on Yelp or discovering that a highly rated Trip Advisor restaurant is really a shed in someone’s backyard, there’s a larger problem to be aware of. The reviews you’re reading are written by people you know nothing about, and who know nothing about you or what you’re looking for. Just because Chad B from Toronto thinks a hotel is an amazing property and the best he’s ever stayed at - will you? When you work with me I take the time to understand your likes, expectations, and preferences and do everything I can to exceed those.
I’m your advocate
Your flight is delayed - now what? If you’ve booked on your own you’re likely on the phone with the airline or waiting on line at the airport. You also need to change your transfer from the airport and possibly get in touch with your hotel to make sure your room will still be available. Try to get a human on the phone at Expedia or Orbitz to rebook your canceled flight - it's not happening. When you book with me I take care of everything. Often I’ve already gotten an alert about the delay and have started working on everything before you even know. I also have an after-hours desk that can assist if I have booked the air for you and am not available. A couple of other examples: I had a client who insisted on staying at a particular hotel based on a lower price point. A week before they left, the hotel ceased operations and I was able to move them from a 4-star hotel to a 5-star at no additional cost. Another time I had a client who broke their hip while on vacation. Though they declined the travel insurance I suggested I worked with the hotel to get them a refund. I’ve had clients give me the wrong travel dates and been able to have all their change fees waived once they realized their mistake. Having contacts and relationships throughout the industry allows me to provide this level of service for my clients.
Perks & Benefits
Suppliers know me, my company and value the business I bring them. I've often heard from hoteliers that they prefer guests who book through a travel advisor because we take the time to make sure our clients' needs are met and they know what to expect - something that they don't see with online bookings. Hotels know if they offer my clients additional amenities, such as room upgrades, free breakfast, and resort or spa credits, I will continue to send business their way. They also work with me to ensure special celebrations are recognized and that my clients are happy. It’s the same with cruise lines and tour operators which often offer extra onboard credit and free pre and post nights to my clients as an exclusive benefit. I have VIP status with almost every luxury hotel and cruise line out there. If there is an upgrade available who do you think they will give it to - me or Costco? I have many stories from clients who have been upgraded or recognized by management because they worked with me. I have contacts around the world who are eager to help me turn a client's experience from ordinary to extraordinary.