I see you are located in Ohio, but I live out of state. Can you help me with my travel plans?
Absolutely! Because a great deal of this job is conducted through phone and internet, it is very easy for me to work with clients from all over the country. We can take care of everything long-distance, so tasks such as making travel arrangements, organizing the deposit and other payments, signing various authorization forms, and providing you with travel documents are all simple, even if we are in two different locations! I have made arrangements for everything from Alaska cruises to destination weddings for large groups as long distance travel planning, and it is a smooth process.
Do you charge fees for planning my vacation?
Some agencies charge their clients fees for their services because of the time spent conducting research and making arrangements for your travels, but I do not. When coordinating destination weddings, we require a $500 retainer that will be paid towards the final balance for the travel package.
If you don’t charge fees, how do you make money?
I am paid by the suppliers I represent as a travel consultant. I tell clients to think of me as a temporary employee of the supplier I am representing (such as Apple Vacations, Globus, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America, etc.) , so they pay me for my time spent selling their product. This is in no way reflected in the quote I give you for your vacation - pricing is exactly the same whether you work with me or book on your own through the supplier's website or 1-800 number.
Are you able to get pricing I find on the internet? Do you get better deals?
If you see a price quote on a supplier website (i.e. Princess, Royal Caribbean, Apple, etc.) I will be able to offer you that price as well - sales and specials included. Remember, suppliers want you to work with travel agents and many of these companies are extremely supportive of agencies and view us as valuable assets. On the other hand, there are various sites on the internet offering outstanding deals on hotels, cruises, etc. and while some of these can be completely legitimate, we tell people to use caution and speak to us first.
As far as deals go, we are bombarded daily with emails from suppliers who want to showcase specials and incentives for booking with them. We also have access to agent-only sites for hotels and such, so if I can get you a better price, I would love to offer it to you. If a client has a particular vacation in mind, I like them to let me know in advance so I can keep an eye out for deals that might be of interest.
When I contact you about planning a trip, how long does it take for you to respond?
Once we have spoken and you have told me a little bit about yourself and what you are looking for, I usually need 24-48 hours to conduct my research and assemble price quotes for various vacation options. More intricate vacations, destination weddings, and custom packages might take slightly longer because I will need to contact suppliers and speak with the departments that handle these sorts of travel plans. Busy season might also warrant slightly longer research times.
Can’t I just book my own vacation on the Internet?
Sure, but remember that many sites (and unfortunately, some agencies) are in the business of simply selling travel, and are not overly interested in providing you with a fantastic vacation experience or servicing you to best meet your needs throughout the entire process. Often, the final rates from these sites are the same as those you would pay when working with an agent, but without all of the perks. Once you have booked your trip, they feel their job is done and you are on your own. When you work with me, my job is only just beginning when I have helped you select your initial vacation plans and make your reservation. I will monitor prices and call to get your final payment reduced if possible, advise you on travel regulations, help you select shore excursions, take care of additional payments, etc. Good travel agents want happy clients who can enjoy their vacations. I will do just about anything possible to ensure that this is the experience you have! My clients mean a great deal to me, and this business is very personal to me. I want you to have an amazing vacation, and I will work very hard to make that happen.
I can obtain rates and specials shown on supplier websites for my clients and I do everything possible to help my clients partake in great savings and deals.
What information do you need from me when I am ready to book my vacation?
Generally: full names as appearing on passports or drivers licenses, birth dates and ages of everyone at time of travel, phone number(s), address, email address(es), credit card information (including security code), credit card billing information, and any supplier loyalty numbers.
Before booking, you will need to sign a credit card authorization form so I am able to process your card in your absence. You can either stop in the office to complete this step, or we can work through email or fax!
I don't have a passport and know nothing about getting one. Can you help me with this? Please visit this blog post that outlines the important information you need to know regarding passports; then you can begin making arrangements to obtain one.
Will you work within my budget?
Yes! I completely understand the importance of planning within a budget and I respect the price range my clients provide me. The most important thing to me is planning an amazing vacation for my clients that they will remember for a lifetime, and I like to provide options for my clients throughout their range so they can make educated decisions and get the best value for their planned vacation dollar.
I have worked with clients who have had unrealistic budget expectations for certain types of vacations (as much as I would love to, I cannot send you and your spouse on a week-long Tahiti vacation for $2000!), and when that happens, we talk about options and what else one might be able to do within the budget that might offer a similar experience.
How do you make recommendations for resorts, cruise lines, tours,etc.?
The store-front office I am affiliated with (and work in) has been in business for almost 26 years, and collectively, the agents in our office have years of experience in the travel industry. We attend seminars and workshops for travel professionals, work closely with our supplier representatives to learn more about various products, go on agent trips to visit resorts and experience cruise ships, take many classes online, and use our personal travel experiences as reference. We do not send our clients on vacations we are not confident about based on our experiences and our clients’ past experiences. We combine this knowledge with what you are looking for in a vacation to make the perfect match!
Do you have a question not addressed here? Contact me and I will gladly answer it for you!