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A couple of weeks ago there was a uprising in my travel agent community about an article that was recycled from from last year and posted on an magazine’s website.  This article was supposed to offer readers 10 tips on planning their own vacations but instead offered incorrect information about a travel professional’s role in how they assist their clients in planning their vacations.  The magazine has retracted 1 of the 10 points after realizing how poorly researched this article truly was and has said that they would offer some articles in the future about how travel agents really help their clients plan vacations.  We all hope that it is a well researched article vs. the current one which quotes 2 “travel agents” that are apparently no longer in the business.

This was one of may rebuttals that our travel agent suppliers, community members and organizations offered to counter the less than flattering article.  This one was from  from ASTA- the American Society of Travel Agents.

8 Reasons to book your vacation with a travel agent 

1. Customer advocacy: If you have a problem with a particular part of your travel experience, the agent is there to act on your behalf to see that restitution is made. ASTA, for example, is the only travel industry association aggressively fighting to improve the travel experience, and air transportation in particular, for all consumers, not just those with access to the Internet.

2. Expert guidance: Travel agents, unlike instructions on a Web page, are experts in understanding and deciphering the myriad of travel information and codes out there. It’s what they’ve been trained to do and they do it every day.

3. Personalized service: Instead of an impersonal voice thousand of miles away, travel agents are you neighbors. They know what you want and what you value in your travel experience.

4. Professional advice: Travel agents are there to make sure you get where you want to go, when you want to go and for the lowest price.

5. Time: Instead of checking a long list of travel Web pages, which only provide rates and fares for the companies that have contracted with them, why not go straight to the source? A travel agent has all the information at their fingertips, saving you a few hours in front of a computer screen.

6. Unbiased information: Agents work for their clients, not for a travel supplier. It makes sense that a happy customer will be a repeat customer.

7. Value: Travel professionals have access to online deals, as well as many consolidators that only work with travel agencies. A travel will help you find the best products that provide you value.

8. First-Hand Experience: Many travel professionals have been to where you and you give you the insidescoop on what to do and when to do it. Look for a travel professional that is an expert in your chosen destination or type of travel.

It was kind of ironic that during the entire time this uproar was going on, I got this from a client who I helped with travel insurance for his in-laws.  It would have been easy to just send him one option but instead, I sent what I thought the better option was and another that was $20 less.

He opted for the more expensive option and posted this on My Vacation Lady’s Facebook page:  “My Vacation Lady is the ultimate professional. She makes you feel as if you are her ONLY customer and her HIGHEST priority. You do not see this level of customer service often. Thanks again for your help”

My Vacation Lady is one of many travel professionals that work long hours to make sure that our client’s vacations are the best they can possibly be.  For those people who think that Travel Agents will only try to sell you the most expensive vacations, or will steer you toward certain hotels or suppliers because we make more money or win fabulous prizes for doing so, should really try working with a true travel professional.  My Vacation Lady has build a business based on referrals and recommendations.  We certainly wouldn’t be growing at the pace we are, if we only sold the most expensive vacations to our clients.  We sell the right vacations to our clients— ones that will create lasting memories.