While there is a lot of great information to be had on the internet, there’s really no substitute for a qualified agent. ( yes my opinion is biased)
You can learn a lot from review sites, but an agent will help guide you through the entire process, make sure that you have the proper documentation, and that everything-flights, hotel, transfers, and insurance, is included. And remember-an agent is staking their professional reputation on the outcome of your trip. No one on a review site is!
There a so many intangibles to consider. What kind of food do you like? What kind of people do you like to hang out with? A great agent should get to know you, and the little things that will make the trip special, and comfortable, before giving you pricing and options. If they just ask your budget and throw a price at you, run as fast as you can in the other direction.
Here are some questions to ask when considering an agent:
- Have they traveled to the resort or destination that they are recommending within the last three years?
- Why do they believe this package is a great fit for you?
- How long have they been in business? What professional certifications do they hold?
- What does their travel insurance include?
- Will they personally be available while you are traveling?
- Will they handle all flight schedule changes?
- Will they watch for specials to come up after you’ve booked?
- Do they have a “no walk” policy? This is huge! So many people that book online get bumped to other resorts upon arrival. We only work with hotels and resort that guarantee that our clients won’t get bumped.
Agents often have access to promos and offers that you cannot find online. And if they do charge a fee, don’t let that scare you off. If an agent doesn’t value their services enough to charge for them, why should you?? If an agent’s primary selling point is that they’re working for free, again, run in the other direction.
When hotels and resorts set their pricing, the set it knowing that they’ll have to pay an agency. And all agencies, both online and offline, get paid the same way. So if you’re doing all the research, and booking thru an online agency yourself, you’re paying for a service that you’re not getting.
A great agent really can make a significant difference in your trip. But as with any industry, there are great, and no so great agents. So make sure you ask a few questions before you choose one.