With National Travel Advisor Day coming up on May 6, Ensemble Travel Group polled several of its advisors, asking what they would like consumers to know about the perks and benefits travelers can expect from using a professional travel advisor.
Of course, right now travelers are particularly focused on questions surrounding refunds and cancellations, as well as rebooking and when it may be safe to start traveling again, but there will be a time when other travel issues and questions will come back into play. Here are a few of the services and amenities that travelers can get from travel advisors, according to Ensemble Travel Group, which comprises approximately 700 independent travel agencies in the U.S. and Canada.
1. They Provide 24/7 Emergency Service
“That is one of the things that really distinguishes a travel professional from the Internet. Whether it’s a flight cancellation, problems at a hotel, unexpected illness, a travel professional can quickly jump in and assess the situation and then navigate all the roadblocks to find a solution. And that has never been more apparent than during this current crisis. We have heard countless stories from our members and advisors everywhere who worked their magic to help get travelers home safely and are continuing to work with clients to navigate what has become an incredibly complicated and ever-changing series of policies for refunds, cancellations or rebooking for future travel.” – David Harris, CEO of Ensemble
2. They Can Save You Time
People think they need to spend hours upon hours researching destinations, deals, hotels, sightseeing, Instagram, Facebook, ask friends who've been, travel forums, and on and on. It takes a professional a fraction of that time to learn about a client’s needs and interests.
“We also know seasonal trends, price fluctuations, popularity cycles and are fully aware of the aggregated airfare data how many of the booking websites’ algorithm models fare changes. More importantly, we also know when there are exceptions because we are human with practical experience and better decision makers. I can make a judgement for a client and advise them of the ideal time to buy their ticket at the best fare, but without risking that it will go up even more. Managing risk is part of what we do. In short, a human with specific expertise is going to make a better judgement than a computer.” – Avery Harris, Viking Travel
3. They Can Save You Money
“My best advice is to shop not just price, which is meaningless without value and all of the components that go into planning the trip. Just remember: The cheapest price is usually not the best deal; it’s just the cheapest price and you may end up actually spending a lot more to get what you want. We know where to get the best value for your travel dollar and most clients tell us how surprised they were to have saved money when using a professional travel advisor.” – Stephanie Turner, Brentwood Travel
4. They Have Access
“One thing a travel advisor can offer that you don't really have the ability to do yourself is in their relationship with locally based experts who are knowledgeable about the hottest new restaurants, off-the-beaten-path sites and unique cultural opportunities. This could even translate to having a local, private guide for part of your trip (or the whole thing!)." – Lauren Doyle, The Travel Mechanic
5. They Have Connections
“We know the right people who can do amazing things for you at a hotel. Because we have longstanding relationships with hotels around the world, we can often arrange for a free breakfast, upgrade or at least ensuring you are in one of the best rooms in the category you paid for.” – Stephanie Turner, Brentwood Travel
6. They Get You Free Perks/Amenities
Advisors have relationships with partners that include pre-negotiated rates that are not only better than what you would get from booking on your own or through an online travel agency, Ensemble says, but they also include amenities such as complimentary breakfast, upgrades when available and early check-in/late check-out.