Planning a trip today can be confusing and time consuming. Travel planners, specialists, and agents are not only knowledgeable about various modes of transportation, but may actually be able to save you money with advance booking discounts, special fares, hotel deals and travel advisories. Of course finding the right professional to work with can be challenging. However, reputable established companies, some even with brick and mortar locations, that are fully licensed and bonded, do exist to provide a peace of mind to the travel consumer. A great resource includes ASTA which is The American Society of Travel Agents. With over 20,000 members in 140 countries, ASTA is the largest and most influential travel trade association in the world. Membership includes travel agencies, airlines, hotels, railroads, cruise lines, tour operators, car rental companies and travel schools.
As with many industries, the travel sector can be a competitive arena with a multitude of services on offer. Travel management companies can arrange all types of domestic and international travel, from hotel and resort accommodations to air and ground transportation, including car rental needs and tour packages. They can provide assistance with travel insurance protection, passport and visa applications, and other foreign travel requirements. Professionals manage profiles that include the client’s frequent flyer number, airline seating preference, smoking or non-smoking designation and other specifications for a custom-designed experience. Arrangements can also be tailored to suit business and vacation objectives, personal interests and budgets, such as family travel, group travel, adventure travel, ecotourism, and incentive travel to name a few.
Some of the benefits of using a travel professional include;
Service – ASTA members are skilled professionals, knowledgeable and active in their industry. The Society provides education, training and resource materials to its members to equip them with the tools to offer the highest quality of service to meet your travel needs.
Traveler Advocacy – Your best interests are the priority. The American Society of Travel Agents has a long-standing record of fighting for consumer rights and ASTA members are required to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics.
Knowledge – Through continuing education, comprehensive management resources and industry training programs, professionals operate high-caliber businesses that serve clients.
Convenience – Established travel management companies offer one-stop shopping for all travel arrangements, including leisure, corporate, and group tour options.
Value – Strong working relationships with travel suppliers and the latest in research and reservation technology enable travel professionals to access the most up-to-date information on how to get you the best value.
Choose a travel professional like you would a doctor or lawyer. Get advice and a referral when possible from friends and family who use a trustworthy source. Since travel choices are personal decisions that reflect individual desires and lifestyles, you may want to visit or call several options to find the right someone that best suits your needs. Consider everything from the appearance of the office to the willingness to listen and answer questions. The best travel specialists want to establish a long-term relationship with a client, not just make one sale.
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