This weekend’s New York Times article on travel agents really caught my eye. The title of the article, “Are Travel Agents Back?” suggests that the travel agent was near extinction. I would opine that the kind of travel agent that is successful today has been there through all of the bad times and is now more successful than ever. To be sure, the days of agents making a living booking airline tickets are long gone. But if you are the kind of agent that can help a client create a travel experience to remember, then business appears to be good.
I have been using the services of a Virtuoso affiliated travel agent for 4 years, and greatly value the services of a good agent. While I’d never use an agent to book an airline ticket, I book all of my cruises with my agent. Can I book a cruise on my own? You bet I can. Can I put together an enriching tour of historical sites complete with transportation and an experienced guide? Well…maybe, but I don’t have the time. I enjoy a certain amount of researching in advance of a trip and really don’t mind running the logistics of booking flights and sometimes hotels. Most of my flights for vacation are booked with miles so I handle those on my own, but arranging for tours of foreign locales is something I like to sometimes use a professional.
I can buy a book and meander around London just fine on my own, but when I’m working on limited time and visiting historical sites like Ephesus, portions of Rome, Iceland (I wish I’d been blogging in 2004!!) or any number of other spots around our world a professional travel agent can truly help you create an experience you won’t forget.