Tag Archives: travel

Why Use a Travel Agent?

I asked the same question myself.  After years of booking my own travel I wondered why anyone would use an agent for something that is so simply done online. So before agreeing to jump in to this business, I did some research. Below is an open letter from Joseph A. Watters, President of Crystal Cruises to newspaper and magazine travel editors:

Dear Travel Editor,

“Why should I use a travel agent?” As a veteran travel executive, that’s a question I’m often asked. Today, with the overwhelming number of sources for travel information (the Internet, cable television, newspapers, magazines, guidebooks, etc.), it’s no wonder the consumer is confused. Yet that’s precisely why the services of a professional travel consultant are more valuable than ever.

In January, the television news magazine, 20/20, reported the results of a test in which travel agents beat consumers at uncovering the best airfares. However, it is much more than the “lowest fare” that provides the compelling argument for a good travel agent.

The best thing an agent can do is to match up a traveler with the vacation that’s right for them. The professional travel consultant builds relationships with their clients to learn their interests and lifestyles, as well as their dispositions.

Below is a list of some of the important services, which are either provided free or for a nominal charge, by travel agents:

1. Distilling the product information: Through an on-going and time-consuming process of familiarization, continuing education and customer feedback, the agent becomes a travel expert.

2. Investigating and supplying competitive information: No single supplier is going to advise a consumer that a better route or a better fare is available on a competing carrier.

3. Staying abreast of the most current and timely promotions: Via daily faxes, agent-only e-mail transmissions, and their relationships with their district sales managers, agents are obtaining the most current promotional information.

4. Analyzing the current promotions: The cheapest is not always the best.

5. Clarifying the fine print, such as cancellation penalties and restrictions: Again, the benefits of a professional’s experience can save a traveler money . . . and headaches.

6. Making recommendations for travel-related options: Travel agents share the to pack for different travel options.

7. Simplifying the research and subsequent transaction: Like a personal shopper, agents can provide one-stop shopping for travelers who require air arrangements, rental cars, cruise accommodations and hotel stays – with suggestions that are in the best interest of the client, not the supplier.

8. Enhancing the trip with value-added benefits and amenities: Agents can add to the client’s experience by sending a bottle of wine, providing a special land package, a specific escort or other customer amenities.

9. Using their clout to obtain the best possible in seemingly impossible situations: Whether it’s airline seats, hotel rooms or cruise space, the travel agent has more buying power than the consumer.

10. Getting problems resolved: The agent serves as the consumer’s advocate in the event something inadvertently goes wrong.

The use of outside service providers for many transactions, such as tax preparation, isn’t questioned. Similarly, if one is going to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars, as well as a good chunk of valuable leisure time, it makes great sense to use a professional.

I hope you’ll consider sharing this information in future consumer interest columns.

Sincerely,
JOSEPH A. WATTERS
President

Have You ever used a Travel Agent?  What was your experience?

We won a cruise!

Well, it’s kind of been my lucky week.  I got to work on Monday and found out I had won a Carnival Cruise! Carnival was running some sort of promotion for cruise week and I registered, and won!  Probably lots of travel agents will win this because you still have to pay taxes, port charges and gratuities (so it isn’t exactly FREE), but I’ll take it!  We had been discussing what to do for Thanksgiving, so I got on the phone and booked a 7 night cruise for Thanksgiving week!  We will be spending Thanksgiving day in Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos. Jealous??

Second lucky thing that happened is that we had a contest at work to guess how many jelly beans were in a jar.

1024 Jellybeans in the Jar.  I guessed 1003.

1024 Jellybeans in the Jar. I guessed 1003.

The guesses were $2 to raise money for breast cancer.  I was the closest without going over, so I won the jar of jelly beans plus a $15 iTunes gift card!  Might have to download some new tunes to take on the cruise!

Now, to go out and buy a lottery ticket…

Previously, I won a trip to Ireland and took my hubby and my mom.  We had only been dating about a month when we went, but I figured if he could last for 8 days in Ireland with me AND my mom he was a keeper!  And funny enough, we left on Thanksgiving day three years ago!  So it must be a tradition we will have to continue.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever won?  Where is the strangest place you have spent Thanksgiving? 

New Adventures

It’s been a busy couple of months.  I’ve effectively been out of town for five of the last ten weeks.  And playing catch-up when I was home.  So the blog has taken a back seat.  Don’t want to make that a habit!

Half way through the year and I feel very good about where I am with the de-clutter mission.  Not only have I cleaned out and sold a lot of stuff, but I’ve also changed my philosophy on acquiring more stuff.  A lot more thought goes in to any purchases I make.  Just today I returned a set of cosmetic/toiletry bags that I had ordered.  I looked at them and thought they weren’t any more functional than anything else I already owned.  Maybe not worth the $6.95 in extra shipping but a great lesson and better than having it sit in my closet for 2 years before selling in a garage sale for $5.

So overall, I feel pretty good about where I am in the process.  There are still several areas that need additional attention, but great strides have been made.  Summer weekends are the worst time for me to try and accomplish anything.  I enjoy hanging at the pool too much.  So I will likely resume this in the fall.  Stay tuned for more updates on that.

Now, for the new adventures… Hubby and I were in Cancun a few weeks ago for a little anniversary celebration.  While we were there, we participated in The Newlywed Game at the resort where we were staying.  We won!! Three free nights at the resort (with a seven night stay, but oh well!) After the contest, we met a guy who is a travel agent.  He and I were chatting and he said that I should join their agency.  It’s very egalitarian.  He has hired stay at home mothers who make 6 figures.  So with my knowledge of the travel world, it’s a great fit.  I’m not quitting my day job, but it is something I can do on the side until I build up my client base.

That’s where YOU come in.  If you are reading this, please share my information with anyone who may be interested in a very knowledgeable travel agent.  I will be posting specials that we come across, as well as travel tips.  Let me know if you have any special interests.  I’ll be glad to research any destination that appeals to you.

My travel agency contact is jennifer@imaginetravelvacations.com.  Be on the lookout for specials!  I hope to be able to help you escape soon!!

I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award!

Wow! This is starting off kind of fast.  I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by http://simpleighorganized.com.  Thanks Leigh!

If you are not aware, a Liebster Award is a way of getting other bloggers known,
shared and generally getting the word out about them, if they have under 500 followers.
 – A few simple rules apply –
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you
3. Nominate 11 other followers with less than 500 followers
4. Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer
5.Tag your nominees & post a comment on their blog to let them know you nominated them

My Questions:

  1. Why did you decide to start blogging? I was trying to de clutter my world and wanted a way to keep myself accountable.
  2. Where do you enjoy vacationing? Mostly beaches.  But to me, there is a big difference between vacationing and traveling.  I love to travel – all over the world.  Vacationing is more of a time to relax and regroup.
  3. What is the title of the last book you’ve read? Last book that I can remember the title to was “Sycamore Row” by John Grisham
  4. What sports do you enjoy playing or watching? I have recently taken up tennis.  I LOVE watching college football.
  5. What’s your favorite food? Mexican
  6. List 3 hobbies. Reading, traveling, photography
  7. What is your favorite season and why? I’m a summer person!  I like being outside and near (or in) water.
  8. If you could learn another language, what would it be? Probably Spanish.  I tend to travel to areas where that is the native language. 
  9. Are you a saver or a spender? Both.
  10. What’s your favorite type of music? Top 40’s pop or 80’s music
  11. What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekend? Go to the pool or beach (If I’m close by it…)

My Nominations – (I don’t have 11 and I’m not sure how to tell how many followers they have, but these are some that I follow on a regular basis… check them out!)

1. Vreeland Road

2. Kelli Price Photography

3. A Slob Comes Clean

4. Photography Awesomesauce

5. Kristy Dickerson

6.  The Ace of Space

7. Making Sense of Cents

8. Living Well Spending Less

My Questions:

1. How long have you been blogging?
2. Where do/did you learn about all of the technical aspects of blogging (creating links, adding pics, etc.)?
3. Do you make money from your blog?
4. How do you advertise your blog?
5. What is your main topic?
6. How many hours a week do you dedicate to blogging?
7. What is your dream vacation?
8. Where was your favorite vacation?
9. Do you belong to any networking groups to share ideas on your business?
10. What is your favorite food?
11. Do you or your spouse primarily manage the finances for your family?

Ok… I think that’s all I’m supposed to do. Really new to this, so please bare with me. Thanks!