5 Common Misconceptions About Using A Travel Agent
I have come across several questions stemming from common misconceptions about what a Travel Agent or Travel Planner does or is and why we are so important. There are a lot of people who do not understand why it’s extremely beneficial to use the wealth of knowledge and resources at a travel planners’ disposal, to build the vacation of your dreams! At the end of the day, that is what it’s all about, making memories with your loved ones that will last for many years to come!
I will be debunking the biggest misconceptions about using a travel agent and why you should consider using me when planning your next trip. 😊
MYTH #1 - “It is expensive to use a Travel Agent.” - “I’ll pay more to use a Travel Agent.”– “How do you get paid if your services are "FREE"?”
I am starting with the cost of using a travel agent because I feel this is the biggest misconception. Today, it’s hard to take someone at their word when a service (especially one that requires so much work) is FREE. We think there must be hidden fees or a catch somewhere. We go by the “If it sounds too good to be true, it is!” way of thinking which; is a good rule of thumb…. typically.
Let me explain to you how I get compensated. For instance, say I book a cruise vacation for you today - for October 2020, the "supplier" (Disney/Carnival/Royal Caribbean/Princess etc.) pays me a commission for booking the trip/package - once you have gone on your trip. I would expect to receive payment within 30 days of you taking your trip. The cost of my commission is not added to the cost of your vacation at all, as you would pay the exact same price (sometimes more) if you were to book it yourself through a supplier’s website or through a travel website like Orbitz or Expedia. The internet is a valuable resource; however, it cannot replace the expertise, guidance and personal service of a travel agent. Suppliers (Disney, Universal, Carnival, Sandals, etc.) understand that having a personal touch is very important and realize that we provide a valuable service to our clients that they are unable to receive from a website or even a call center that houses multitudes of Cast Members unable to provide lasting, personal long term service.
MYTH #2 - “I will lose control of my vacation if I use a Travel Agent, I like planning my own trips and do not want to give that control over”
When you book a vacation with me, you can still do as much (or as little) of the planning as you would like. For example, let’s say we are booking a Walt Disney World Vacation - If booking FastPass+ and Advanced Dining Reservations are what you live for, great news – we actually suggest you do them yourself (unless you would like the help). However, I will provide you with recommendations and all the tools and training you need to make decisions that will give you the highest and best use of your time and money on your vacation. You will always have control, after all this is YOUR vacation. I am just here to make it as magical as possible within the parameters you set. Not only that, but I stay up to date with the daily changes at the parks, resort hotels, etc. and will be able to explain the latest information regarding FastPass+ tiers, optimal FP+ booking time slots, as well as which rides and attractions are the best match to your group’s needs, wants and likes in order to give you the most “bang for your buck”. I will assist you by setting reminders of important dates and be there every step of the way to help you with anything you may need. I also provide expert tips, updates and information that will make your trip as magical as possible.
It is true that, you will have to contact me to make any changes or payments; BUT you would have to call the Disney customer service line to do those things anyway, and I am MUCH easier to get in touch - PLUS you always talk to the same person (unlike calling into a call center). My clients can email me, call me, text me, or even Facebook message me. You can book with me and still do all your own planning if you wish. You could decide to just have me here to monitor for discounts and be a resource for assistance if and when you need it. I also welcome clients who don’t want any of the hassle of planning at all. I can do as much or as little as my clients need and want.
MYTH #3 - “I like to Stay Off-Property when I visit Walt Disney World and Disneyland – an Agent will only book Disney Resort Hotels”
While I will explain all the benefits and value of staying on site at a Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort Hotel, it is ultimately YOUR vacation and I am here to meet your needs and vision for what you want your vacation to be. It is my job to take away the stresses of planning your vacations yourself, not to add more stress by pressuring you into things that you are not comfortable with! In fact, I have access to internal booking tools that allow me to book hotel stays anywhere – that includes access to book Disney Springs area resort "Good Neighbor Hotels" that have a couple of the benefits of staying onsite at a Walt Disney World Resort. Please know that I am here for YOU, to make your vacation dreams come true – not push my perfect vacation vision on my clients.
Here’s a little secret: travel agents don’t want to make one sale with you and then wipe their hands clean. They want to book every vacation you will take for the rest of your lives. To gain your loyalty, they will first get to know your expectations, and then steer you to the experiences that best fulfill those expectations. Their goal is to "wow" you right from the start, so that they can continue to "wow" you for many years to come.
MYTH #4 - “I can easily book the same trip on my own without using a travel agent.”
Although you can find a lot of the same information that a travel agent provides for you on your own, you are going to spend a LOT of valuable time doing so. A travel agent can save you from hours of painful research and price comparison shopping, and while it is true that you can go through the actions of booking your vacation on a website. It is simple to do the actual booking itself, that is the easy part! For Disney Vacations (in particular) there are a lot of variables you will need to consider to be sure that the package you book is the best value for the money you are paying. A Disney Vacation Specialist, like me, will have insider knowledge on every aspect of a Disney Vacation and will be able to determine (based on your needs) what the best valued options are.
Authorized Disney Travel Agencies, like Magical Moments Vacations, have been “earmarked” by Disney. However, only a small handful of agencies have had the honor of being Diamond Earmarked, which means that MMV is very selective on the agents they allow to work for them. They have very high standards to ensure that our clients are taken care of to the highest levels. Not only are agents required to annually complete the College of Disney Knowledge (which is Disney’s internal agent training platform), but MMV has instituted additional training to ensure that their agents are equipped to do every step of the planning process, in order to provide the best service possible to our clients.
Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts are constantly growing, evolving and changing. Agents must keep up with the latest news and details to pass along to their clients. One important detail is the ever-changing refurbishment list. Disney is always updating their attractions and resorts, and internally post information for travel agents to pass along to their clients. For example: You book a vacation online only to find out when you arrive, the pool at your resort or your favorite attraction is closed for refurbishment throughout your entire stay. Booking with an agent can prevent things like this from happening.
For Non-Disney Vacation Destinations –
Anyone can use the internet to look up airfares and hotel rates, but travel agents use their training, expertise and passion for travel to help clients plan every detail of their vacations. The most valuable thing they possess that no internet site does is experience. They’ve been to many of the destinations you’re dreaming of, and they’ve sailed on the cruise lines you’re targeting. They use that experience to advise you to make the most informed decisions.
Although travel agents have access to most of the same outlets you would use when looking to book, they also have access to exclusive pricing and package deals that are not available to the public - we also receive daily emails and updates with new specials and prices from hotels and vendors that will not be published on the internet. Your travel agent also has more leverage helping in situations such as hotels claiming to be booked, when in fact they may still have rooms available that are on hold for travel agent reservations. So when everyone else is tell you “no” your travel agent may very well be able to give you a “yes.”
You may think “there’s no way you can offer those “limited time” or “exclusive” rates or sales, right?” Wrong, on our supplier booking engines, we see the same rates being offered by discount travel outlets. The difference is that we know intimately all the hidden costs, like taxes, additional fees, required deposits, pre-payment requirements, cancellation policies, etc. We know that some of those companies will cancel or modify your reservation with little or no notice, and they can do that – with few options for recourse. We’re the first ones notified (usually dozens of times per day) of upcoming fare sales and discounts. So, if we know you’re interested in a cruise to Alaska, for example, we can notify you about the sale before it starts so you can book as soon as the window opens to get a better choice of staterooms. There are instances (usually when booking air travel) where you can find a lower price and I will be honest when I feel like you can get it at a better cost reserving it separately.
MYTH #5 - “I’m a Disney Vacation Club Member/Annual Passholder – a travel planner can’t help me”
Travel Planners can still help with your vacation even if you don’t need a room. If you are a Disney Vacation Club Member and don’t have an Annual Pass? I can get your tickets for you. I can also help you with any other travel or hotel stays you may need (outside of Disney).
Are you an Annual Passholder needing a room for your visit? I can help with that too. (There are some great Annual Passholder discounts available for this Summer at Walt Disney World!) I can easily find the best Passholder rates and compare them to other offers to get you the absolute best value possible. I can also assist you with many other things like helping you with booking your Advanced Dining Reservations and/or FastPass+ reservations. I can also help you keep track of your pass renewal date, in order for you to take advantage of the best renewal rates possible.
"The best reason of all to work with me - is that you are supporting a small business. Instead of the supplier keeping the commission, you know exactly where it is going – to me and my family!" - Brandi Parker
Remember: As a Travel Planner specializing in Disney, I can book your Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa, and Adventures by Disney vacation. However, please know that I can also plan other destinations outside of Disney and would be happy to help you plan the vacation of your life!
***Did you know that you can book a Walt Disney World Vacation Package up to 499 days in advance with only a $200 deposit? You will have over a year to make payments toward your vacation – with NO additional fees or interest – as long as your payment is $25 or more, you can make as many payments as you want, as often as you want until your vacation is paid off – at least 30 days prior to check in. ***
Let’s start planning, contact me today for more information.