Recently I attended a party with a lot of people I didn’t know. After introductions and a brief chat, some of my new acquaintances expressed shock (!) at my profession. I replied that we are a very successful business model, meeting our client’s needs for personal and business travel. But my conversation partners were further compelled to tell me that they thought all travel agencies were long gone. I’m getting rather used to this reaction from some people, but, obviously, my elevator speech isn’t working, so I need some new talking points.

  1. Yes, Virginia, there still are actual travel agents. Hundreds of thousands of them, working in thousands of travel agencies across the U.S., where knowledge, experience and connections are valuable to millions of customers. The internet allows anyone to do their own research, but what about actual professional training, actual travel to these destinations, actual lasting relationships and actual business reputations that will ensure an actually pleasant travel experience?
  2. Without a travel agent, you’re on your own. If you book your vacation online at an airline website or a “vacation home by owner” site, you are definitely on your own. Who are you going to call and yell at when things go wrong? Have you tried speaking with a real person at an airline lately? Travel agencies have connections with airlines, hotels, car rentals, tour companies, cruise lines and offer 24-hour emergency assistance, too. Our customers tell us they really like having some “customer service”.
  3. We do things you can’t do yourself. We will never make a reservation where you will be surprised upon check-in. (Surprised by the non-existent view, or the bugs, or the lack of service). Our customers are upgraded to better accommodations and treated as valued guests. We know the right people at the places we trust.
  4. You rely on travel agents for the right choices and peace of mind. Sure, you can learn some things online. But after awhile, it all runs together and gets confusing. New customers call us every day saying “Help, I can’t take it online anymore, will you please assist me with…. (fill in the blanks)…. planning our honeymoon, anniversary trip, milestone birthday, family reunion, or trip of a lifetime”.

And speaking of trips, it’s time for everyone to start traveling again. The bargains now available are breathtaking, from 2-for-the-price-of-1, to ‘you-can’t-stay-home-for-that’ prices. Whether you are traveling to relax or for business, to celebrate with loved ones or for personal fulfillment, make it easy on yourself – call a travel agent!

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