Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why Use a Travel Agent?

The last several weeks have been spent working overtime and under pressure (just like Santa's little elves)! We're thrilled to have moved to a new office space! (Pictures and blog about new space coming soon ;))  Bigger space, means more 'Escape Artists,' more experts, hand picked by us, to assist you with your travel plans, however big or small they may be.

Even Marriott Hotels
'Loves' Travel Agents!
This past year has seen the return of the travel agent and although it's definitely not news to us, we're elated that others have figured out what we've known all along: with all the benefits using a travel agent can offer, why would you do it any other way?  I'm often amazed at the folks that are planning a long-awaited family reunion cruise, a dream destination wedding, or the trip of a lifetime, are spending either just a few hundred dollars or several thousand dollars - and they're considering booking themselves online (If I had a nickel for every time I heard "I found that cheaper online" I would've been able to retire by now!). I patiently explain to them the value of an agent and why using the services of an expert is the way to go. After all, you don't question the value of the 'expert' that changes your oil, gives you that snappy new hairdo or argues your case in court, so why would you not trust the travel expert when looking to make such an important purchase? For those of you still asking yourself the question- 'DIY my travel or go to the expert,' I'm here to set you on the right path!

1.  Time!  For most of us, saving money is not just about price. Don't get me wrong, the dollar amount is important but there are many other factors to consider as well. When you book through a travel agent it's a one stop shop! You won't need to spend hours checking different online travel sites, the airline sites, hotel sites, etc. Your time is more valuable than that. Not to mention, oftentimes that $40 you save by booking yourself online gets you an overnight connection or leaves you stranded without transfers, losing precious time spent with loved ones! Let us do the work for you. It's our job and that leaves you more time to do yours!

2. Value!  When we talk about value, it doesn't always mean price. Travel agents know which questions to ask to make sure you're getting what you want. We will then make a recommendation based on resorts we've visited, we have relationships with and have passed our standards. The end result is your expectations are met, most likely exceeded, and that makes for the perfect vacation!  Believe me, I've been on the receiving end of more than one call from clients that booked themselves online based on photos, descriptions and price, only to arrive at their destination and find out what they thought they were getting was not what they were getting at all. After all, if the hotel was in the wrong location, you spent a week in sub-par accommodations that smelled of mildew, and the food was barely edible and looked to be recycled from the buffet the night before, is the price the most important component at that point? We can help you find the value without sacrificing what's important to you!
3.  Added Benefits!  It's hard to believe that after giving you back the precious gift of your time and finding you a vacation that is a great value, we have more to offer, but hold onto your hat...it's true! We can enhance your travel experience in several ways. As I talked about in #2, we like to make recommendations based on what you're telling us is important for your vacation experience. Those recommendations usually come with added benefits for you! It may be a dollars-off promotion, a moonlit beach dinner for two, a room upgrade, private transfers, a welcome bottle of wine with fruit or other special amenities. You won't see any of these added benefits when booking yourself online.  In most cases, we are a preferred agency with most of the reputable resort chains and have partnered with them in ways that make your experience more memorable. A happy customer is a repeat customer and we want to have you as a customer for life!

4.  Your personal champion!  Let me give you a couple of real-life scenarios. Your credit card has been charged 3 times instead of just once. You get to the airport and they can't find your reservation.  You arrive at the resort, it's overbooked and the resort informs you they are putting you at a different resort of their choice. Your run of the house 'ocean view' room actually looks at the parking lot with overflowing dumpsters. If you've used a travel professional...great news! One call to us and we take care of everything while you sit on the beach sipping a pina colada. Booked yourself online? Sorry, Charlie.  You now get to spend your precious vacation time on the phone desperate to find a real person to assist you!

Our 'Escape Artists"
5.  Trust!  That one word goes a long way at our agency. We aren't just in the travel business. We're in the long-term relationship business. We don't want to be some anonymous website or person behind the curtain. Nope, we're real people, real voices and we want to get to know you, your family, and what's important to you. We want your vacation to be the vacation of your dreams because we want you to come back again and again! 

We all want the same thing, the best that money can buy. We'll never fault you for that! Just keep in mind that travel is no different than any other purchase...you get what you pay for and that oftentimes a cheap resort comes with a cheap and disappointing vacation experience. At Midwest Travel Service we promise to work hard, ask the questions, and make the recommendations that will result in the best vacation experience for you, at the best price available! After all, you work hard for the money...and you deserve it! 

Until next time,

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