A lot of people travel with expectations of encountering something new and unexpected, but of course, everyone wants the surprises to be pleasant ones. This is where a good travel agent comes in. It is the travel agent’s task to match the clients’ expectations, as closely as possible, to reality. Because travel consultation is a skill that gets better with practice, it is also useful to know the length of the time the agent has been in the business. An agent who has at least five years experience in the industry would be ideal.
Because the travel industry is information-intensive, it is best to deal with an agent who knows how to work through the quagmire of date, which includes the thousands of daily changes in airfares among the millions of fares in the agent’s data bank.
Ask about the agent’s credentials. Briefly inquire about the certifications. This will give you an idea of how serious the travel agent is about the business.
The travel industry constantly changes. It will be helpful to know if a travel agent constantly updates his or her skills, or is working to maintain or receive a certification.
Before giving an advanced deposit for a product that you will use or avail on a later date, such as a grand tour involving a significant amount of money, be ensured that the agency is financially stable. Ask which travel association the agency is affiliated and check if no complaints have been filed against the agency.
It is very important that you feel comfortable talking with an agent, because you need to be honest in discussing your travel dreams and how much you can really afford to spend. You should need to be comfortable discussing your vital eccentricities that can affect the enjoyment of your planned trip. This will also help the agent determine the accommodations and tour spots that will be suggested to you.
A good travel agent asks plenty of questions regarding your past travel experience/s, what you liked or didn’t like, the airlines and accommodations you prefer, any medical conditions, etc. A good agent keeps this client information on file because this will greatly speed up the process of satisfying the client’s travel needs.
An agent who is willing to provide you with competitive information as a result of careful research is a good one. A good travel agent will recommend several travel options, explain penalties and restrictions, help you in obtaining travel needs such as passports and the other requirements, obtain amenities and other value-added benefits for you, and will be available to help solve problems should something go wrong. A working contact number of the agent is very important.
A good travel agency is able to command a much better price for an accommodation for you than what you can get if you do it on your own.
Brochures and other literature from the travel agency should provide good details such as names of specific hotels, resorts, and even transportation. If there are no such details mentioned, it may mean that the agency has not locked in any reservations. Meal programs must be clearly stated. Know if the menu is a preset one or an a la carte. Are the actual tour leaders mentioned? It is important to know who will handle the tours—is it the owner, the employees, or interns? Small companies have tours that are usually led by the owners themselves. Middle-sized to large companies hire knowledgeable guides or train them in-house. Either practice is fine. You might be taking a chance if your tour will be conducted by an intern without the guide of an experienced agent along.
A good travel agent and agency with a proven track record can give you a list of people and companies who provide accommodation and transportation services at various destinations which have been developed through years of experience and networking. You may contact these operators to have an idea of regarding their experience with the travel agent or agency.
Find out the agency’s policy regarding deposits and refunds. Ask how the agency handles tour cancellations, because this is a reality that happens, say, for example a political unrest or natural disasters that unexpectedly occur in the destination.
These are just some of the things you have to consider when planning your travel and choosing your travel agent.