CNN Column Identifies Signs of Bad Travel Agents

Christopher Elliott, ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler, penned an interesting column for CNN this week in which he warns consumers of signs that their travel agent is either in trouble or not doing a very good job. As the holiday season winds down and 2009 travel trends point to consumers looking more meticulously for deals, especially through agents, it is important that travel professionals reevaluate their operations and service and avoid practicing certain tactics.

Elliot warns consumers of agents that commit the following behaviors: demands payments in cash, acts shady when asked about their commissions, lacks any certification, adds booking fees after selling the vacation to the client, knows little-to-nothing about the traveler's destination, has a rap sheet with the Better Business Bureau, doesn't listen well, and is not efficient in keeping in touch with clients.

The writer also warned consumers to be wary of agents that joined the industry to tak advantage of fam trips or free trips, anyone who was certified online or through a card mill, and agents that try to push insurance policies without reviewing them with the client beforehand.

Do any of these traits sound familiar? If so, better start making some important New Year's resolutions and changes now before your reputation gets lost amongst the increase in competition for the year ahead.

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