Travel Agent or Travel Consultant? Which would be your best option when planning your next vacation? Before you start your planning let me give you an insight into the differences you may find. Some of the information you will find is directly from the definition of each.
What will you expect from your Travel Agent?
Agents are usually someone you hire to act on your behalf. They have most of the power when it comes to your travel planning. They usually work for or own a company that gets you a great deal on your travel plans.
Travel Agents are authorized on your behalf to put your travel plans altogether. They usually hold some type of certification and education that makes them experts in a particular style of travel.
Sounds good until you receive the final invoice. This will include things like finders fees, or agent fees. That’s fine if you are one who likes to have your travel itinerary all planned out for you.
A Travel agent sells travel from transportation to accommodations to entertainment. The Travel Agent will usually be the best option if you are looking to plan a very expensive or complex vacation. They may also have access to deals that the “DYI” traveler can not find or can not access.
Travel Consultants are exactly what the name says, they consult.
Consultants usually work independently either with an affiliate program or by being authorized by a supplier. Most that work with an affiliate program are small businesses or individuals that just enjoy traveling themselves and want to share in the experience.
As Consultants, they receive training from the affiliate program to help them get started in the industry. They decide which type of travel they want to focus on, whether it be cruises, families, groups, or any combination. Then they seek additional training from suppliers on that supplier’s particular brand.
For example, if a consultant likes to cruise and wants to focus on the cruise industry. They can get individual training from a cruise brand that focuses on just that brand. This helps the consultant become an expert in that particular brand. They can also become members of associations like the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). This association is for agents and consultants to stay up to date on anything related to the cruise industry.
Travel Consultants work with their clients to design and create travel plans. They will ask you a bunch of questions about your travel needs and wants. Then they will do the work to present the best options to meet the client’s needs. They give professional advice to help the client make an informed decision on their travel expectations.
The Consultants do not usually charge clients any fees for their services because they receive a commission from the suppliers. This helps keep the cost of a consultant much less than the agent since you are not paying the added fees.
One big thing you may find is that some consultants receive additional compensation from the suppliers. These compensations they can use to give back to their clients for additional saves on some of their travels.
Both are great options when you are looking to create that dream trip. It all comes down to you as the client or consumer. You need to ask yourself a few important questions to help make your decision and make your travels enjoyable.
- How much time are you willing to spend doing the research yourself?
- Do you know how to find the best deals without assistance?
- What is your budget and where do you really want to spend your hard-earned cash?
- What type of vacation are you looking for?
- Is this your vacation or is it someone else?
In the end, when planning your next vacation. Remember, the choice is yours!
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