Over and over again the question always comes up, "why do you really need a travel advisor when you can now find anything related to travel online and you can book it yourself?" The question itself gives you the answer and I will explain how.
Yes, it is true that you can find anything about travel that you want online and even the simplest of searches will give you hundreds of results but those results are loaded with old information, inaccurate information, are provided by the so-called "savvy traveler's" of the world and this leads you to find that in order to understand it all you need to find someone who speaks the language of travel. That would be a professionally trained and personally experienced travel advisor, a person who knows how to speak the true language of travel and how to sort through all of the babble that you have now loaded into your web viewer.
It is also true that you can book your vacation online and pretty much go just about anywhere you want so why would you want to have someone else do it for you? Well, just like all of that babble that you loaded into your web browser you have also loaded a wide range of pricing options and other things that represent the "starting" price and not the final price that you will be paying for your trip. In fact, most starting prices are much like they are for a new car or a house, they are not actually a price that gives you any product at that price, they just lead you in so that the real price search can begin. By working with a professionally trained and personally experienced travel advisor you will be able to cut through all of that garbage pricing and get right to the meat of the whole thing in very short order. Another advantage of working with a professional travel advisor is that they have access to special pricing programs (that are real and not just lead in) and promotional offers that give you more value than you would ever be able to get on your own, even if you booked directly with the same suppliers.
Professional travel advisors work very hard to find the best prices for their clients but they do not just go with the lowest price because, as with everything else, the lower the price is the lesser the quality and experience, and that is not what you are looking for from a vacation. Professional travel advisors load up each clients travel program with the most perks, amenities and value added options to ensure that your vacation is exactly what you want it to be and not just the closest experience possible.
To ensure that you are working with a travel professional that emphasizes quality and top level experiences as their end result for you, their clients, you should select a travel professional that has some accreditations behind them. Look for titles that indicate that they have some real certifications (and these can easily be researched so hang on) and not just "a million years of experience in the industry" type of lines. For instance, I have two real world accreditations and they are the results of many hours of training, years of hands-on learning, and actual experience with travel and all things related to booking travel for real clients. I am a Certified Cruise Counsellor (CCC) with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and I a have the accreditation of Verified Travel Advisor (VTA) from the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) which can both be easily verified by visiting their websites and searching for them. Both of these organizations have general members but only a small percentage of their members take the next steps and work towards the certifications that are offered. In addition to these credentials I have also achieved the top-tier status with every supplier that I work with to bring you your vacation experiences and these certifications require just as much time and effort into the learning processes (they each have their own training programs and academies) to ensure that when I am proposing a travel option to you that it is the one that fits your wants and needs and that the value you will receive from it is the top level available and not just another cookie-cutter vacation plan.
Do I charge for my services of researching your vacation wants and creating those features that ultimately become your dream travel? Yes, I do! I charge for my time because my time is valuable and I need to be compensated for it but I can guarantee you that the travel itineraries and packages that I put together will, as a minimum, exceed your expectations and be the best experience you will have. I am not one of those travel advisors that invites you to my webpage with all of the song and dance about how I am here to help you find your dream vacation only to have you land on a page that has a "book it yourself" booking engine (just like all of those online travel sites: Expedia, TripAdvisor, etc.), I actually request detailed information from you about what you want to experience and how you want to experience it; I meet with you and we actually talk with each other to learn more about the drive and desires behind your travel; I sort out all of your information and then target my searches and research into finding the best supplier(s) that will meet your desires and then I start digging into the "travel advisor only" available options that I can add to your vacation to make it that much more enjoyable. I can put together your entire trip, accommodations, air travel, ground travel, whatever is required, into one package that meets all of your needs and then some.
Another advantage of working directly with a travel advisor is that we handle all of your account updates such as making payments on balances for you directly to the supplier; monitoring pricing programs for any potential changes that could provide you with even more value (this is something you will never be able to get on your own or through an online booking site); we monitor global activities for any potential risks that could possibly impact your travel; we advocate for you with suppliers in times when things go wrong or you need assistance (just think about 2020 and the COVID pandemic that stranded hundreds of thousands of travelers in foreign countries with nobody to help them; we stepped in and got them home); and we are there for you whenever you have a question or decide that you want to add something to your trip.
I would love to have the opportunity to create an unforgettable vacation for you, but if you decide to work with someone else, at least make sure that they are a true trained professional and that have more experience than just the stuff put into their head when they signed up with their franchise provider. The best results are achieved through Independent Travel Advisors as we are focused on the traveler and their experience and not just overall corporate level sales goals.