In an effort to aid consumers who are inundated with vacation offers in pop-up ads, e-mail blasts and seemingly too-good-to-be-true package prices, Apple Vacations is launching the "Ask an Agent" program that reminds would-be vacationers to turn to their professional travel agent first for expert advice.
Apple Vacations unveiled the campaign in May in its newspaper ads and radio commercials. The company is subsidizing customized advertising campaigns with qualifying travel agencies and providing marketing materials for travel agents to create their own local campaigns.
"This campaign sends a powerful message about the value travel agents provide to vacationing consumers in professional travel planning, guidance, service, trust, convenience and consumer advocacy," said John Werner, president of MAST travel network.
Part-personal shopper and part-psychiatrist, a good travel agent should be able to match up options from thousands of travel deals with their client's personality.
"Using a professional travel agent is a very convenient and even money-saving method of making travel arrangements. Many agents can find travel bargains that the average web-surfing traveler may not be aware of," said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois.
Why choose to book a vacation through a professional travel agent? Why not?
* Convenience- With so many travel offers, planning your next vacation can be overwhelming and stressful. A professional travel agent can help you focus on the destinations and hotels that best match your needs and preferences.
* First Hand Experience- Chances are good that your travel agent has experienced the resort first-hand or has received personal feedback from those who have. With so many outdated websites with misleading information, the expert advice and personal recommendation of a travel professional is far more reliable than a brochure or web posting.
* Interpret the Fine Print- Professional travel agents are familiar with the disclaimers and hidden fees that could cost you far more than you bargained for. They'll provide expert advice on everything from optional resort excursions to the real value of travel insurance.
* Best Price- By sifting through the web or making countless phone calls to hotels and airlines, you may be able to find a lower price on your own. But it's far more likely that a travel agent will find you the best value, and you can avoid making a decision that may cost you dearly. When you book a vacation, you're investing not only hard-earned dollars but valuable vacation time. It pays to get it right.
* Clout- With a travel agent, you have someone who will go to bat for you should the unexpected happen. Experienced travel agents have long-standing relationships with travel suppliers. They have the right contacts and know how to get things done in the most efficient and timely manner.