01 Apr There are so many honeymoon travel agents! How do I find a good one?
This week’s question of the week came from a bride in Boston who is on the hunt for a great honeymoon travel agent. So we came up with this list of questions you can use when interviewing travel agents to plan your honeymoon or destination wedding.
How long have you been in business? What professional certifications do you carry? Requirements to enter the travel industry vary from state to state. Some have very strict requirements, while others are more lenient. While we’re all for supporting someone new, your honeymoon is the most important trip you’ll ever take, so make sure the person planning it has some education and travel experience.
Why are you recommending this particular resort or destination? Here’s a little secret about our industry — some resorts offer additional incentives to agents to sell their resorts. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that in itself. However, if you’re going to spend several thousand dollars and a week or so of your life in at a particular resort you want to make sure that it offers the kinds of amenities, services, and food that you’re looking for. There is no “one size fits all” resort or destination. So if an agent will only talk to you about one resort or hotel chain, ask them to articulate why they believe their recommendation is the right fit for you.
When is the last time you visited this resort or destination? Ever purchased something online only to have it arrive and look completely different than it did online? If it’s a shirt, you can send it back. But if you’ve gotten on a plane and don’t have a return flight available for several days, it could be a much bigger issue. Resorts and destinations change frequently! While it’s impossible for an agent to have seen every resort and destination in the world, ideally you want the agent that you’re working with to have visited the resort and/or destination within the last 5 years.
Why do I need trip insurance? Life can change in an instant. No one gets excited about insurance, but at some point, you may find yourself really happy you purchased it. If the agent you’re considering can’t explain the ins and outs of the insurance, or even worse, tells you that you don’t need insurance, run the other way. Trip insurance will help you recoup your money in case you need to cancel the trip due to an illness, death in the family, etc., as well as provide medical coverage while traveling. Most health insurance plans don’t cover you when you are outside the USA. There are dozens of stories on the internet about people who have gone bankrupt because they suffered an unimaginable injury while traveling. Trip insurance also covers things like trip delay, lost luggage, supplier bankruptcy, and more. One of our agents broke her leg just walking down a flight of stairs while in Scotland. No one ever plans to get in an accident. Just get the insurance.
How do you get paid? There a dozens of different business models in our industry. Some agents charge a flat fee. Some agents charge a fee based on the complexity of the trip. Some agents mark up the overall price. Our agency is compensated by the hotels after our clients have completed their trip. It’s not unusual for an agency like ours to ask for a “plan to go” deposit from you before starting the work, which protects their time. Plan to go deposits are typically applied to your final payment. And if the agent doesn’t believe their services are valuable enough to charge for, do you really want them working for you?
How do I pay for the trip? This is another biggie. If an agent tells you they only accept cash, walk away. Always, always, always pay for your trip with a credit card. Your credit card offers you the most protection should the agency or travel operator (airline, hotel, etc.) go out of business or fail to provide services. Paying an agent’s service fee in cash is fine. But never pay cash for the trip itself.
When you decide on a travel package you will need to put down a deposit to secure the rate and your space. Final payments are usually due a month or two before departure. All of these details should be listed on the invoice you receive from your agent.
As with any industry there are great agents, and not so great agents. An experienced, professional travel consultant can save you both time and money. By utilizing the services of a local agent, you’ll not only gain valuable insights that would take you days to find online, but it gives you the opportunity to support a local small business as well.
A great travel agent can really make or break your trip! If you’d like to learn more contact us to schedule your free consultation today!
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