You're a what?
When I tell people I’m a travel agent, many people look at me with puzzled expressions. “I didn’t know those still exist,” is the typical response. Others I’ve heard are, “People still need those?” and “Why might someone use a travel agent when they can book travel themselves?” They all have a common thread - most have no idea what it truly means to be a travel agent or how I am able to maintain such a business when there are so many online travel agencies (OTAs) to compete with. I can understand the confusion.
As a travel agent, my job is to do the research for my clients. I take all of the hassle and hard work out of travel planning by creating a door-to-door itinerary in alignment with their wishes and needs. While it is true that I get lots of great deals across my desk that I am able to present to my clients, the travelers I typically work with are those who value their time and my expertise far more than penny-pinching. That being said, if someone truly enjoys research, and more than anything else, he or she values getting the absolute cheapest deal possible regardless of how much time it takes in comparison shopping, then working with a travel agent may not be for that person.
This past year, I had a great friend call me up to plan a special trip to Madrid and Barcelona, Spain for her and her husband and their parents. Their parents are all elderly and use walkers, so in addition to the typical time involved in finding all the accommodation and activities, we had to make sure that the travel plan was accessible for their parents’ needs We ended up booking private tours so their parents could rest when necessary and had a vehicle that could handle all five of them and their belongings. My friend is a very busy woman, and the thought of having to find 20-40 hours to plan such an important trip overwhelmed her. I’m so grateful she came to me. Not only was I able to take the pressure off her shoulders, but I had the opportunity to add details to their trip to make it even more special. They had a wonderfully memorable trip in Spain. They said,
We traveled to Spain with our elderly parents which required a lot of special needs. Christie handled those needs brilliantly...She worked with us to ensure that all needs were met and even thought of a few we did not think of…
Serving clients in this way is my absolute favorite thing to do. I treat every trip as if it was my own. I ask myself, “What would make my life easier if I was the one traveling?” and I make sure that my clients have all of those things. I love to go the extra mile to make them feel valued during the entire process of planning travel and while they are on the trip itself. Because they are!
What about you? Can you think of any trips you’ve taken where it would have been nice to have someone to help you make it less about the stress, hassle, and an ever-growing to-do list, and more about the joy and good memories? Can you think of a bucket list trip you want to take someday, but it feels bigger than anything you’d want to handle yourself?
My team and I would love to collaborate with you to create the best possible use of your valuable money and time...to plan a trip that will keep on giving year after year in amazing memories.