In the Agents’ Choice 2020 Readership Survey, the value of using a travel agent is showcased in the issue’s feature story.
In the wake of travel bans, restrictions, cancellations and last-minute re-booking needs brought on by the pandemic, it became apparent that those who used travel advisors were better off than those who decided to go it alone.
“I have never been told so many times how absolutely lost they would have been without a travel agent to find alternate flights home, cancel their trips for refunds or credits and take care of everything. I was able to assist all my affected clients and even get some refunds when they didn’t think it was possible,” says Shirley Noel of TPI in Winnipeg. “I would get calls from people who had made their own arrangements asking for help as they were frantic. Those who used online agencies experienced a lot of stress as they sat on hold for hours and days with no one else to turn to.”
COVID-19 aside, she says the value of using a travel advisor is also very apparent when clients face unexpected challenges like a medical emergency in destination, a relationship break up, flight or hotel issues, or the loss of a loved one prior to departure, and have someone they can call for assistance.
“Life happens and can wreak havoc with travel plans,” she adds. “I have had to deal with all of the above and I have always been there to guide them through it.”
Senior travel consultant Maureen Beaulne of Bon Voyage by Maureen with TPI, agrees that the current situation is a prime example illustrating the reasons to book with a travel advisor.
“Many people were left stranded in another country with no one to help them. Phone lines were so busy, people couldn’t get through to the airlines,” Beaulne says. “I received calls from people out of the country frantically trying to get back to Canada and asking for help as they couldn’t get through to the airline or the tour operator. These clients told me that they had been trying for three days to get through and within two hours, I had them rebooked on a flight back to Canada.”
Without a travel agent in times like these, she says many people are left to struggle through it alone.
For the full story, check out the 2020 Agents’ Choice Awards Readership Poll.