No fancy pictures, no eye-popping graphics, just pure truth!
I just spent the past couple of hours visiting some newer websites that are listed as being owned by Professional Travel Advisors, only to find that they were misleading at best. Now, I am not going to call these sites out by name, nor am I going to give you any indication or hints as to how to find them but they are out there, and, as we real Professional Travel Advisors have watched over the months that we were in the COVID crisis, there has been a rise in the new agents ranks, but don't be fooled.
Every one of the sites that I ended up visiting included a place where you could run a search for any cruise criteria that interested you and then click the button to get all of the offers. Every one of them returned pricing and "special private" offers that are either an exact match to what you would find on the cruise line websites or, the "special private" offers were nothing more than an enticement to get you to book; they don't really offer anything that you would not already be eligible for anyway.
The worst part of this is, that each one of these searches gives you a listing of "special deals" that are all exactly the same, and, if selected, takes you to yet another site where you would book the vacation yourself. Again, you would be booking your trip through an online booking site that does not employ any real travel agents or qualified advisors and you would be booking with a company that DOES NOT provide support or assistance to their customers when something goes wrong or you need additional help. This also means that the so-called "travel agent" that owns the original site you visited is not actually a travel agent, but is instead just another person who purchased a domain name and set themselves up with the basic elements that drag travelers into the world of being upset from their vacation experiences and has no help when they need it.
As a Professional Travel Advisor I want you to know that the past months since we entered this COVID world has been full of challenges for us all, and I, and people like me, have had the added burden of trying to assist those travelers who ignored all of the warning signs of booking with online sites or "agency" sites that include a booking engine on their pages. We have spent more time helping those very people than we have our own travel clients but that is because when we book for our travel family, we do it right and we make sure that everything is taken care of BEFORE it becomes an issue. This is how a real professional conducts business and takes care of those who they are responsible for. In the meantime, we will continue to be saddled with the cries of those who continue to want to be a victim of their own design by ignoring the warnings that have been shared time and time again. In fact, there isn't a day that goes by that I do not receive at least five new updates or stories of travelers who are now in a bind and can't get any support from an online booking site or "agency" when something happens.
We may charge for our services but we deserve to be compensated for the time that we invest in ensuring that your travel program matches your wants, needs, and desires, and that your experience is what you expect. We are also there for you throughout the entire process, including while you are traveling, for the assistance and guidance that you may need if something comes up. We invest over 20 hours per booking/reservation and the more complex it is, the more time we invest; that is what a Professional Travel Advisor does. When you work on your own and book it online, you are just another number that has paid for what was presented to you on a computer screen.
The choice is yours, but remember, you get what you pay for, and no matter where you find your pricing, they are all the same because the suppliers no longer provide discounted prices and programs to the online booking companies. They do however provide us Professional Travel Advisors with special pricing, offers, promotions, amenities, and other value added options that you will not find anywhere else, so, we save you money, add extensive value, and take care of you all the way to the end, and beyond.
Hello, my name is Richard and I am your Certified Travel Professional. I have had the fortune of being able to see a very large part of the world over the years and I know the feeling of joy when you experience a vacation that is stress free. The topics posted here will focus on those little things or bits of information that can help you enjoy travel the same way that I do.
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