With the COVID-19 pandemic – among other things – changing how we travel, even DIY travelers are turning to the expertise that only a travel agency can offer. The goal is to skip all the stress of planning a trip and focus on enjoying it instead, and you can do this too by finding a reliable and efficient travel agent. Here is how:
Review Local Agents
While you could always plan a trip successfully with a travel agent through emails and phone calls, nothing beats the human touch. Try reviewing different local agents who are available for face-to-face meetings so you can make the communication process seven easier. Doing this will bring a more personal touch that cannot be obtained from agents that use customer service associates.
Tip: If you are looking for a specialized travel agent, e.g., destination wedding, business trip, you might not find one locally. This is okay as long as they meet your travel needs.
Check the Certification
From your review, come up with a list of prospective travel agents and check their certification. You can rest easy if a travel agent is a member of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) – the largest association of travel experts in the world. Agents certified by the Travel Institute are also a great option.
Interview Your Top Picks
Next, meet with several agents from your list to determine whether they can meet your needs. You need to ask about their experience, fees, and customer satisfaction rates. As you interview the agents, it is also important to study their people skills. Are they listening to you and offering relevant solutions or just pushing you to hire them?
Learn How the Agent Reacts to Pressure
Even a perfectly planned trip could have some hiccups along the way, such as an overbooked hotel or a late flight. These bumps in the road are an opportunity to determine whether your travel agent is good for you. When something goes wrong, do they fix it or ask you to call someone else, say the hotel or airline, yourself? A good agent will go out of their way to ensure your comfort during your trip.