Traveling can be very fulfilling. Exploring different parts of the world and surrounding yourself in different cultures can make for a great vacation. Whether you like taking the thrill-seeking route and enjoy an adventurous trip or you prefer relaxing under the sun and palm trees on a beach, taking a well deserving holiday is always on everyone’s mind. However, planning a trip can be very stressful and figuring out where to go and how to book everything can be a nightmare. Not knowing what hotels are popular or what activities are available can be very overwhelming. This is why vacation chasers find themselves seeking out the help of a professional. Travel agents are always there to help make your journey stress free. Even though travel agents are there to help you, they are also helping themselves in the process. However, not everything about being a travel agent is rewarding. There are also downfalls to what seems to be the greatest job ever for anyone with wanderlust.
There are many pros and cons to being a travel agent, but there are also certain advantages and disadvantages that you will never hear any agent tell you. It is important to keep in mind that not all travel agents are money hungry. From travel perks to getting no lunch breaks, here are 15 things travel agents will never tell you.
15. No Booking, No Paycheque
Like most jobs that are commission based, travel agents do not get paid unless the customers books a trip with them. This is why travel agents will do whatever they can to ensure you receive the service you require. They try to offer you vacations that cannot be overlooked, this way they can ensure a sale and therefore get a bigger paycheque. You cannot blame them; everyone has to make a living somehow. However, travel agents do not disclose this information because they do not want their clients to feel pressured into booking with them. This way the client may only be inquiring at first, but when presented with a deal they cannot refuse, they are more likely to book.
14. Making Huge Commissions and Bonuses
Not only is your travel agent receiving a nice paycheque when you book with them, they also receive major bonuses. Travel agents will try to influence your decisions based on the perks during a certain time. If a travel agent is pushing a certain hotel, cruise line or location, it is most likely because they get a higher commission or bonus for that sale. For example, if there is a cash bonus for booking with a certain airline, a travel agent will be more keen to recommend that airline. Not all travel agents are money driven, but it is something to be alert about.
13. Book and Fly On Tuesdays
Since travel agents are commission based, they usually will not tell you the best times and days to travel on. They tend to point out the most expensive days and times to help increase their pay. It has been studied that it is cheaper to purchase plane tickets on a Tuesday and fly out on a Tuesday. They may also neglect to tell you that there are cheaper times during the day to fly. For example, earlier flights like at six in the morning are cheaper. However, even if they may be less desirable, there is a better chance that the flight will not be delayed.
12. Flexible Travel Dates and Airports
Keeping an open mind when it comes to travelling can be very beneficial. Travel agents will not suggest being open minded because that means a cut in their commission. Just like some days are cheaper to fly on, some airports are also cheaper to fly to and out of. Flying to and out of airports that are not popular or well known can be very beneficial. It means the airport will be less busy and the cost will also be less. If you are willing to be flexible with your travel dates and airports you can end up paying a lot less for a vacation than you thought.
11. Upselling Expensive Cruises and Resorts
Cruises and resorts that offer a higher commission tend to be favorites for travel agents. They present them to their customers first to ensure they see nothing better. Travel agents will upsell these luxurious vacations to make their client feel like they are getting a great deal, making these vacations sound like they are better than the others. Even though they are more expensive, the reward is better for the travel agent. However, not every travel agent uses this tactic. If they know their customer is not the type of person to spend a lot on a trip, travel agents would not show them luxurious resorts. Travel agents would rather guarantee a sale than show an upscale location that they know their customer would never book.
10. Lie About Personal Experience
Travel agents are fortunate enough to visit many resorts and go on cruises so they can provide their customers with personal experiences. These trips are known as “familiarization (FAM) trips”, which are meant for the agent to get to know about a destination in order to provide their customers with recommendations. However, some agents tend to lie about their experience to make a certain place sound more appealing. They may tell their client that they have been to a certain resort or sailed on a cruise ship because it is more expensive. It all goes back to the more money being spent, the bigger the commission for the travel agent.
9. The Truth about Travel Insurance
Travel insurance may not be necessary, however travel agents tend to push insurance because it adds to the cost of the vacation package. When traveling, some people want the security of having insurance just in case of an emergency, however if you already have health insurance there is a good chance that you are already covered for overseas travel. Also, many credit card companies cover the costs of lost baggages, cancelled trips, emergency assistance and accidental death. It always helps and is suggested that you check with your insurance and credit card companies before you inquiry about buying travel insurance.
8. Finding The Best Price
Most people seek help from a travel agent because they think that an agent will find them the best price. This is not necessarily the case; you can most likely find a better price yourself by calling a hotel or an airline. Some hotel sites and airlines may offer special pricing on their website or may even have a one day sale. Travel agents do not have access to these sorts of things. They are only provided with a limited amount of information; therefore they are not aware of the hotel or airlines prices. It is suggested that you take the time to find prices by yourself before seeking the help of a travel agent.
7. Limited Resources
A travel agent’s resources are limited, but they will not disclose this information to their customers. They do not have access to every airline and every cruise or resorts. Every agency has different resources that they have access to, therefore you may not always be provided with the best price, but instead the best price that the agency can offer. This is why doing your research yourself can be very beneficial. However, having limited resources to certain vacation locations means that the travel agent has built a relationship with that resort or airline meaning that they may be able to offer perks for their customers.
6. Refunds and Cancellation Policies
In the past, online booking agencies did not offer refunds or cancellation policies, which is why travellers would often book from a travel agency that did offer these services. However, that is now a thing of the past. Online booking agencies now offer refunds and cancellation policies if you book at least one week prior to departure and refund your money within 24 hours of booking. These online booking agencies also offer money back if the airfare drops. Travel agents usually do not tell customers of this change in online policies because they fear that they would book online instead. Some agents do not mention their policies at all because they do not want to deal with their customers once they booked.
5. Do Not Use Travel Reward Points
Travel agents do not tell their customers that they make a large amount of their money on selling packages. If you are booking your travels or accommodations by using reward points, travel agents are losing money. Therefore, travel agents do not suggest signing up for cards that offer reward programs because it has no benefits for the agent. As for the traveller, signing up for a card that offers these programs is very beneficial. It is suggested to sign up for at least one reward card and put everything you purchase on it, therefore you reap the benefits. Some programs offer points for everything you purchase with the card; you can then use those points towards your travels.
4. Added Fees and Surcharges
On top of getting commissions from hotels, airlines and resorts, some travel agents also add on a charge on top of that for their time. Like most services, using a travel agent comes with a cost. Charging a fee is insurance that the travel agent is getting compensated for their time and they are not doing all this hard work for nothing. Every agency handles fees differently. Some agencies will charge fees up front and then drops the charges when the client actually books. While some agencies hide the fees in the total cost of the package to avoid customers getting angry about extra charges.
3. No Breaks For Travel Agents
Travel agents love their job and they love helping people achieve their dream vacation. Even though it may seem that travel agents are only thinking about themselves when booking a vacation, they actually do really put their customers first. For example a lunch break is not something every travel agent gets. Most travel agents do not get to enjoy a lunch break because as a travel agent your customers always come first. Even though they will never admit it to their customer, travel agents will skip their lunch breaks in favour of helping their customer. Now that is customer service at it’s finest!
2. Will Never Tell A Customer To Leave
Every job has those customers that are hard to deal with. In these cases, it is a lot easier to stop being their travel agent. However, travel agents pride themselves on their work ethic. They would never tell a customer to leave. Travel agents try their best to guide their customers to seek other help if they are not willing to take advice from a professional. Instead of telling them to leave, travel agents will try to get a customer to leave in the least obvious way possible. Travel agent will not tell you that they do not want to help you; they will politely suggest you find help elsewhere.
1. Refuse To Book Friends and Family
Family and friends of travel agents often expect them to cut costs for them, which is why they tend to refuse to book their vacations. Being a travel agent is how these professionals pay for their bills and cutting costs means less money being made. Some travel agents do book vacations for their friends and family, however only if they are able to find the time to do it when it is not during working hours. Travel agents prefer to help paying customers during work hours to make sure that they are making money. Anything they do after hours is to help family and friends as much as they can.
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