In the age of smartphones, tablets and easy accessibility to the Internet; booking travel isn’t the same as it used to be. In fact, with the number of options available online and the ability for more and more people to make their own travel arrangements, many believe that travel agents are no longer essential in the vacation planning process. This however, is not the case! While the arrival of advanced technology has changed the face of travel planning, it has not decreased the need for travel professionals. In reality, travel agents are in more demand than ever before!
Here are 5 reasons why today’s travelers still need a travel agent:
1. Professional Expertise
If your travel need is as simple as a weekend hotel booking or flight, then yes you can definitely arrange that on your own. However, if you are looking to be in a certain neighborhood, near a landmark, require specific amenities and more; a travel agent is able to provide you with expert advice customized to your needs. In fact, 85% of travelers will first see what is available online but will ultimately book with an agent when the cost and complexity of their trip are significant. While the Internet is an excellent resource for research, travelers value the expertise of trained professionals who are educated to assess your vacation desires and provide you with the best possible experience.
At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, we provide our Vacation Consultants with the systems, tools and support to help them deliver advice you can trust and excellent service. In addition, they are also passionate travelers and cruise enthusiasts who can share their experiences to create the best vacation experience for their client! Since cruising is considered a complex travel product, our Vacation Consultants are essential in helping consumers find their compatible cruise vacation. With so many ships and different types of staterooms and amenities, finding the right sailing for your travel preferences can be quite the challenge.
That’s why 70% of cruise travelers still choose to book with a travel professional. As cruise specialists, our Vacation Consultants can help choose the right cruise line, secure accommodation, help with booking shore excursions, arrange airfare and transportation and much more.
For 28 years, we have been providing spectacular vacation experiences for travelers across North America and with our annual sales exceeding 20% each year for over two decades, it is clear that the expertise our Vacation Consultants provide is really paying off!
2. Best Value
While many people believe that cutting out the middleman will provide greater savings in the trip planning process, it is actually quite the opposite. Travel agents are not only more informed about the destination, they are well connected and can often offer you the best value and rates on your holiday getaway. The travel knowledge and advice they can share from personal experiences is also a priceless quality you couldn’t get from a travel booking site. To sweeten the deal, they can access additional perks such as VIP packages, room upgrades or restaurant reservations you couldn’t get on your own
As part of Expedia CruiseShipCenters, our Franchise Partners are able to offer their customers every cruise option from the popular selection to luxury, ocean and river – all at Expedia prices. In addition, they also have access to Expedia Extras, which can range from anything such as onboard cash credit to reduced deposit or free upgrades to make an already exciting trip even more spectacular!
3. Time Savings
According to findings from the Value of Travel Agents study by the American Society of Travel Agents, over half of Millennial (59%), Xer (53%) and Boomer (58%) leisure travelers who used travel agents believe that vacations planned with travel agents were better than those organized without their assistance (2014). With the sheer mass of options available online, vacation planning can not only be overwhelming for many travelers, but also extremely time consuming.
Vetting through the thousands of choices out there can take hours, even days to sift through! As industry experts, travel agents are trained to know the vacation product well. They can save you time on extensive research and give you the peace of mind that your trip has been planned by a professional.
4. Trip Security/Safety Net
Travelers know that even after a trip is booked, things may not always go as planned and something may come up that will require you to cancel or reschedule. Anything from bad weather conditions to lost luggage or a family member falling ill can disrupt your vacation plans. Travel agents provide the reassurance that someone is there for you to help resolve any bumps on the road and provide guidance on how they can help you move forward.
At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, it is part of Our Promise to be there for you before, during and after your trip. Our Vacation Consultants are available in person, through email and over the phone and are trained to help you resolve any problems that should arise. As navigators of spectacular vacation experiences, they are committed to ensuring your vacation runs as smoothly as possible and sometimes that means tackling a few kinks on the way.
5. Personal Relationship
While the increase in technology was intended to help connect us better, at many times it has actually disconnected us and led to a decline in the interpersonal relationships we once had before. We see this all too often in the sales world with the growth of automated machines tending to many of our daily inquiries. Travel agents are real people that will get to know you and build a relationship where they can provide you or your family with the best service for your needs.
The retail travel agency model at Expedia CruiseShipCenters maximizes the opportunity for our Vacation Consultants to build those relationships with a central space for them to meet clients. While customers can make inquiries online or over the phone, they also have the opportunity to come into a store where they can meet their Consultant face to face. Our Vacation Consultants take pride in making dream vacations come true for travelers in their community and the retail space allows them to connect with their clients on a more personal level. The store space also allows for our Centers to host special events and informative sessions that will help educate travelers and allow them to become more informed on certain trips or destinations.
With an Expedia franchise you can offer travelers in your community expert advice and exceptional value on their vacations, help them save time in the trip planning process and build a tight knit relationship that will give them the peace of mind that they are well taken care of.
If you’ve still got questions about why investing in a retail travel agency franchise is a great decision, we’d be happy to answer them! For in-depth details about the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise opportunity, download our free franchise report. You can also learn more by visiting our research pages.