You’ll find plenty of articles online about what not to look for in a travel agent, and we recently wrote about a few cautionary tales. But assuming that good travel agents are out there, what makes them stand out from the pack?
First of all, let us assure you that good—no, brilliant—travel agents are out there. We have the pleasure of being connected with some of the world’s best, thanks to our recent inclusion in the Virtuoso network, inarguably the world’s most sophisticated consortium of elite travel providers. Agents in the Virtuoso network are connected to some of the best properties and vendors out there, and their mastery of putting together the perfect trip packages for clients is unmatched. The following three traits are the hallmarks of a truly amazing travel agent.
You meet with your agent, draw up an itinerary, leave the office and then…nothing. For days. Sound familiar? In a perfect world, it wouldn’t, and with a brilliant travel agent, it may well become a distant memory. Any travel agent worth their salt will always stay connected throughout your trip, from your first contact with them to their follow-up after your return. And not just by phone, either—we’re talking text, e-mail, social media and any other way you can contact them.
Their availability is a standard of good customer service as well as your safety. Should anything go awry on your trip, your agent should be standing by with alternate routes and safety checks.
An average to good travel agents asks where you want to go. A brilliant one asks you, “What dream do you want to fulfill with this trip? What lets you know you’ve had a really amazing experience?” They know that travel isn’t about the destination, it’s about what you do with it, and the memories that you keep afterwards.
They’ll also ask about your personal preferences, which will show up later as little touches you wouldn’t have thought of. Like to keep a handwritten travel log? Voila, extra pens at the hotel room. Tend to get sore feet walking around cities? Recommendations for the best walking shoes and cushy inserts sent your way.
Makes Google Obsolete
This is the real test. These days, you can find everything on the Internet—so why, really, bother with a travel agent? There’s seemingly a website for every potential destination, plus multiple articles, reviews, image caches and chat forums. There are whole Reddit threads where you can learn the ins and outs of a city that only a local would know. Travel booking sites purport to grab you unprecedented deals that are inaccessible elsewhere.
And yet. The best travel agents are far, far more powerful than the Internet, thanks to years of hard work, a genuine interest in creating exceptional travel experiences and connections with vendors that not only get you the best possible deals on things like luxury transportation in Los Angeles, but also bestow you with amenities and upgrades that no amount of Googling could get you.
As a provider of luxury limo service in from Atlanta to Tokyo, we’re proud to be a member of the esteemed Virtuoso network. Learn more about them at http://www.virtuoso.com.