For many years, travel agents were the trusted advisors of vacation planning. You wouldn’t book a tropical getaway without one. Along came the Internet, and the changing landscape around trip planning became a DIY endeavor. However, with the resurgence of travel post-pandemic came the rallying rebirth of the travel-advisor demand. Everyone suddenly was using one – or in need of one. What changed?
Travel advisors were one of the first to feel the harsh hit of the pandemic as the entire world went into lockdown. Travel became an act of danger, caution and outright jeopardy instead of the freeing and enriched experience it once was. Bookings were canceled left, right and center, and some travel advisors even reported considering other careers as a last resort. As vaccination rates slowly climbed up across the world, people’s hesitance around travel eased and they booked as much as possible. But, like many unprecedented events, travel amidst a pandemic is fluid, which meant abrupt changes in rules and regulations.
This is where many travelers began seeking the advice of those who were an expert in the name of the game. American Express’ Global Travel Trends report actually indicated 59% of respondents want to use a travel agent to help plan or customize a trip. The reason? Safety and advocacy. Virtuoso’s managing director of global public relations, Misty Belles, told the Washington Post: “Advisers have always acted as advocates for their clients, and it was no more apparent than now.”
The surprising part is that many of those wanting a travel advisor now are people between the ages 18-34.
InteleTravel, a global travel advisor network, told the New York Times 50% of the surge in inquiries came from new customers. And many other networks are reporting similar data.
4 Reasons To Use A Travel Advisor
At the end of the day, travelers want an easy and safe vacation experience, especially in a travel industry that is still reeling from a pandemic. So, if you’re thinking of booking that prolonged vacation, here’s why you should probably use a travel advisor.
- Changing regulations. Too much is up in the air when it comes to a country’s rules and regulations. Some may have differing entry requirements, some may change their requirements overnight and others may be plain confusing. This where a trusted advisor is an asset. It’s their literal job to be aware of the changes and keep you up to date.
- Convenience. Travel advisors do not only offer customized, unique experiences that you wouldn’t otherwise be aware of, but they save you a ton of time, too. They want to make sure you have the smoothest planning possible, so all the energy spent is on having fun at your destination.
- Experts on the destinations. Many travel advisors are not only well-versed in the destinations they sell, but they have also visited the places themselves. Destinations’ organizations, such as the Belize Tourism Board, for instance, frequently host familiarization trips for travel agents to become acquainted with the tropical country. This way, they know exactly what experience they’re offering their clients because they tried it as well.
- Peace of mind. Ultimately, all travelers really want is to make sure their trip is in good hands. Should there ever be a flight change, a destination closing its borders, or an incident mid-trip, you know someone will have your back and take care of it. To them, the most important thing is a happy and safe vacation.