By: Susan Sherren for Couture Trips Published: 7/28/21 8:17 am CST
The use of travel advisors has plummeted over the last decade as Expedia and other online booking tools became available to consumers. People felt confident booking with the click of the mouse. No more middle man- right! I want to share with you my journey and why having a trusted travel advisor in your back pocket is the right way navigate the choppy waters of booking travel.
Meet Me The Travel Guru
Let me introduce myself; my name is Susan Sherren, and I am the proud owner of -Couture Global Trips. I was an early adopter of VRBO and other online booking tools. I felt pretty empowered knowing I could book a fabulous vacation for my family anywhere in the world. Years ago, I had four small children under my feet and a busy husband knee-deep in his demanding career. The thought of getting in my car to drive to a travel agency location or spending more time on the phone just didn't appeal to me. So late at night, I became a stealth online travel bargain hunter. I prided myself on picking up great "deals" on my own. We took our children on fabulous trips all around the globe. I was giving out travel advice right and left to friends, neighbours and even strangers. Then in 2019, I decided to become a travel consultant. Yes, I thought I knew it all when it came to travel since I was an early adopter and had successfully navigated the online maze of online travel booking.
What I found out through my new career training was shocking! Not only had I been wasting my precious time, but the "deals" came at a high price if you consider time a commodity. Most people spend around 30 hours planning a vacation. Yes, 30 hours! If you have a reasonably well paying job, you see what I am getting at. You may actually be losing money, and you're not getting the best "deals".
Now I confidently book travel, knowing I am getting the best of the best for my clients. They usually can receive upgrades and little perks like complimentary breakfast. Not only that, I am getting updated on the latest and greatest in travel from people all over the world. Yes, travel advisors have a vast network of suppliers and the most current pulse on travel complexities. Yes, the dreaded "P" word has put a dent in our clients' travel plans but now more than ever, you shouldn't go it alone. Take it from me you're wasting your time, and this is coming from a recovered Expedia addict plus your not getting any customer service- yep, zero. I had one horrific incident at Barcelona's El Prat Airport trying to navigate Expedia's customer service call centre after a 12 hours flight- not fun! I would have rathered called my friend and my trusted advisor who understood my itinerary completely than tangle with a complete stranger.
The Tide Is Turning
Yes, the pandemic has changed one thing, people are flocking to travel advisors. According to ASTA's recent stats, the use of travel agents by consumers of travel is on the move, and that means up! Good news: After the pandemic is over, nearly half of travellers (44 percent) say they are more likely to use a travel advisor. Not surprisingly, almost all travellers (94 percent) who always/often used a travel advisor before the pandemic are likely to use one after the pandemic. Among those who sometimes or rarely used a travel advisor pre-pandemic, 44 per cent are likely to use one after the pandemic. People are wising up to the fact that they might actually value customer service.
Nowadays, it's a must to be an insured traveller. Not only that, but if you are leaving the U.S., your health insurance is useless. France and now Italy have just implemented the Travel Health Pass. So now things are starting to get a bit wild out there. The latest shock was it's taking 4-6 months to get your passport renewed. Travel consultants have some tricks up their sleeves when it comes to helping their clients navigate these choppy waters. Once you leave your home, make sure you are armed with the latest and greatest in travel. Our clients travel with our Pocket Travel App; they can contact us with the push of a button. Yes, we're on alert every time one of our clients leaves their home and heads out on their well-deserved break from their hectic lives. Give us ring and learn about some amazing destinations! We craft each vacation based upon your needs that's why we are the leader in bespoke travel design.