Why Travel Agents Charge Fees?
You may have heard that travel agents do not charge fees for their services. Instead they get paid through commission earned from the different travel suppliers they work with. While this is 98% accurate, many airlines and other services have stopped paying commissions and the pandemic found many agents working endless hours with no pay.
So, because I am very transparent I wanted to share why some travel agents charge fees.
Travel agents provide a professional service that saves YOU time
On average it takes 10 – 12 hours of your time to research your vacation. Traveling to a new or unfamilar place? Double it.
On any given day, a professional and experienced travel agent will already have the answers to the questions you sat down and spent hours Googling. They know how to balance and tweak itineraries to allow you to enjoy your vacation to it’s fullest. A travel agent can make travel planning easier, enhance your vacation enjoyment and as we all know, within the last 2 years agents have also become crisis managers.
Travelers need an experienced professional on their side more than ever to prevent problems and advocate on their behalf. To add another layer of complexity, many countries and destinations have new Covid health and safety rules that change frequently.
Even before COVD some agents were charging fees before they did any research or itinerary work. So many people will contact a travel agent simply looking for free travel advice. The agent will spend the time sharing expertise and then that prospective client book travel services directly. This means the travel agent is not paid for their work or time invested. Travel agents simply need to insure they are not wasting time and are being fairly compensated for their work.
Cheaper isn’t always better
If you are just looking for the cheapest price, please do not waste the time of your travel agent. If you are looking for cheap, go to Costco. Just please, do not expect someone to answer or help when you have questions, are stranded somewhere, or hit a brick wall. You get what you paid for.
As a travel agent, not only do we provide extra layers of protection and knowlege but, we also work hard to make sure you money goes as far as possible.A couple examples are:
– Your travel agent may recommend you fly nonstop on a regular, scheduled airline. Yes, this will be more expensive. An agent is not recommending this to gain commission (airlines actually do not pay commissions). They are doing this because they are trying to limit you and your companions/family spending 15+ hours in an airport and waiting 2 days of vacation time just to save $300.
– You may be dead set on a specifc resort for your trip but, you need to make sure your rooms are adjoined. Your agent has the knowledge of that particular resort and knows there are only a handful of rooms that are adjoined and they happen to be sold out. You could have booked this resort on your own without knowning that and showed up to dissapointment. However, when working with an agent they would have researched a comparable resort that accomodates all your requests (and maybe even more) and you show up to your vacation to an experince that has you and your family making lasting memories.
So you have to ask yourself what’s better, cheapest or most value?
You have an advocate pre, during and post trip
An expereinced travel agent is not just there to plan your trip. They should be your go-to person during and after your vacation as well.
– Changes: If you need to change your itinerary while on vacation for any reason your agent can help or they can at least make sure you have all the appropriate contact information if they are unavailable.
– Cancellations: they would manage cancellations at your request.
– Travel Documents: Your agent should have digital copies of all your travel documents so that if you lose them they can easily provide you with copies.
– Emergency Intermediary: Should you have a medical emergency while on vacation your agent would be the intermediary between you and the insurance company.
– Lost Luggage Tracking: Should your luggage become lost, an agent can help track it down on the your behalf and make sure the it is delivered to the correct location.
Reconfirming Their Itinerary: your agent can reconfirm the key components of your vacation before you arrive and also let suppliers know if you are going to arrive early or late.