Secrets Resorts & Spas love travel agents! Today is Travel Agent Awareness Day and to celebrate, we have a fun Q & A to share from our friends and experts: Leila Coe and Jacob Marek!
Leila and Jacob are Co-Organizers of the Travel Agent Awareness Campaign, an effort by the travel industry to prove the value of using a skilled travel professional. Leila is a Professional Vacation Specialist at Go Your Own Way Travel. Jacob has a travel marketing company, 45 Degrees Marketing, providing marketing services for modern travel businesses.
Check out their tips and tricks below!
1. Leila, did you know that Millennials are now the age demographic most likely to use a travel agent!? Why do you think this is?
Millennials have grown up with the internet at their fingertips but they are realizing that they are missing out on the human touch. Instead, they are turning to travel agents who have the experience and know-how to connect them to the experiences that they are looking for.
They also tend to have a lot of questions even though they’ve done some of their ‘homework’ on the destination that they want to visit. They prefer discussing their plans, and receiving direct answers instead of having to Google everything. They also appreciate the personalized attention and support travel agents offer them and understand that we do what we do because we are passionate about their experience.
2. You mentioned quality standards as one of the best reasons to use a travel agent. What kinds of insider knowledge might a travel agent have that the public doesn’t?
The insider knowledge that we have can’t be matched by the general public as we are involved with the travel industry on a daily basis – not just as a hobby. We attend trade shows, seminars, conferences, webinars, etc. to continuously increase our knowledge and experience. The travel industry changes constantly and we need to stay up-to-date on what is happening all over the world – whether it is new resort opening, a new ship being built, or a new attraction at an adventure park.
We also do a lot of networking amongst ourselves – often it is with other travel agents to share our experience with working with different resorts/hotels/etc. – we can provide feedback for each other from a professional travel agent perspective. We also network with those in other parts of the industry – our local reps or company executives. This helps us create a team of trusted professionals that care not only about us, but also about our clients.
We also understand the way things work in the travel industry – we know what to look out for – either to avoid or to recommend. Most of us have been in the travel agency industry for years – and our personal experience can’t be matched by someone who doesn’t do this on a daily basis.
3. Destination weddings and honeymoons are super popular. In what ways can a travel professional help a busy bride or groom?
Here are some ways a travel professional can help a busy bride and groom:
- We begin by asking them some qualifying questions to help narrow down the resort/destination to what would work best for them, and their wedding party. The internet doesn’t do that. They could waste hours researching “best beaches” or “most romantic resort” and never get a real answer! But we cut to the chase by asking a few key questions so that we can quickly get a good grasp of what they are looking for, and then make suggestions based on their interests and needs.
- Most travel agents offer a free website for groups which can contain all the necessary information about the resort, the destination, the wedding details and more so that the wedding couple can just share the link with their guests. Many of us can also do a Facebook group as well depending on the needs of the clients.
- Besides the travel related reasons, we are also the liaison between the resort’s wedding department and the couple – we can help explain the wedding packages, as well as the requirements to get married (each country has different rules).
- And most importantly, we keep things organized so they don’t have to worry about a thing!
Thanks to Leila and Jacob for sharing these great insights with us!