Do Travel Agents Still Exist?

Plan your trip

At Endless Travel, we probably hear this question about once a week.

Actually, we like to be called travel consultants, vacation advisers, travel advisers, etc. Back in the day, when ‘travel agents’ issued all airline tickets (you remember when the only way to get an airline ticket was to go to the airport or purchase with an agent), they were considered an agent of the airlines and that is how we got the old name.

But in 2017, and especially at Endless Travel, we are much more like consultants of travel

“…we can offer options you might not have considered.”

You are probably wondering what we now do and why you should use a travel consultant. As a travel consultant, I think we have one of the best careers in the world. We get to learn all about destinations: landscapes, food, churches, museums, the people, etc. We are constantly learning about new locations and what to do there. Best of all, we get to travel there ourselves to learn even more about that locale. We then share with our clients that valuable knowledge and expertise so they can have the best vacation and make the best memories for themselves and their families.

We are travel experts.

With our training—and being well-traveled ourselves—we can offer you options you might not have considered. All consultants at Endless Travel keep informed about travel trends, security issues and destinations. We all have general knowledge of the world, but each of us also specializes in niches such as cruises, destination weddings, literary tours, multi-generational group travel or particular geographic destinations. For instance, if you book a cruise through us, we are knowledgeable about various lines, sailings, cabins and excursions.

We want to get it right for our clients.

Some trips are more complicated than others. For example, foreign travel is more complex than traveling to the next state. Sometimes the stakes are too high to make a mistake when you are planning a big trip to celebrate a special birthday, anniversary or a trip that involves coordinating itineraries with friends or family members. Even on city tours or shore excursions, Endless Travel consultants may be able to point you to the most knowledgeable and English-proficient guides.

We have connections that provide value.

 Travel agencies have consolidated and banded together into large consortia, affording them unusual leverage to negotiate with travel suppliers on behalf of their clients. Endless Travel is a member of Ensemble Travel Group which encompasses about 850 independent travel consultants. As a member of this consortia, we can use our collective buying power to deliver guaranteed rates, as well as perks for our clients. What that may mean for you is: if you book a night in a luxury hotel through Endless Travel, you may be able to get an upgrade, daily breakfast for two, a $100 restaurant credit, or late checkout, along with a welcome amenity of wine and treats. When we do multiple bookings with a company, we can gain preferred status, which translates into even more perks for clients. Through informal relationships that Endless Travel cultivates with hotel general managers around the world, we can often get our clients more bang for their buck.

We want to be that safety net in case things go wrong.

Every trip has its share of hiccups. Travelers realize that even after a trip is planned, things don’t always turn out exactly as expected: A flight is cancelled, a piece of luggage gets lost, a missed cruise connection, a cloud of volcanic ash—all can be a nightmare. When ‘stuff happens,’ it is reassuring to have someone you can count on to resolve problems. You don’t want to be the one hanging on your cell phone to rearrange a flight. We offer clients 24/7 backup by phone and email.

This year so far, thousands of flights have been cancelled due to weather and in situations such as these, the value of travel consultants really kicks in. We’ll re-book your flights (sometimes via a VIP phone line with the airline; sometimes sitting on hold for hours),either finding seats on planes that appear to be full, or springing you to the top of waiting lists for ones that indeed are booked. We can also get you last-minute hotel rooms and file insurance claims on your behalf.

We can save you money and time.

Researching and organizing a trip takes time, patience and perseverance. We pick flights that have the best travel time and connections. We also include all taxes and fees in our final price and choose resorts and hotels that are central in the city so it is easier for you to navigate. We do all of this to save you time and disappointment.

The most affordable rates and fares aren’t always found online, especially when it comes to luxury travel. Hotels and cruise lines that don’t drop their prices for online travel agencies often offer special deals and promotions to members of our consortia, Ensemble. Examples such as four nights for the price of three to an upgrade to business-class tickets on an airfare-cruise package can occur. Similarly, fares for first- and business-class seats on international carriers can vary widely, depending on who is looking for them. Travel consultants frequently have access to lower prices than those available to the public, usually because of consortium contracts.

That sold-out hotel that you waited too long to book? It’s not always sold out. Many properties will hold inventory in reserve. Other rooms may be in the hands of local tour operators who dole them out to partner travel companies. For Sorrento in August, Danube cruises in September, or Hawaii over the holidays, we are known for finding that space. We’re also skilled at putting travelers in best rooms available in the category you purchased.

Price is what you pay, value is what you get. —Warren Buffett

The Bottom Line

We, as travel consultants at Endless Travel, manage your most valuable and nonrenewable asset: leisure time. Give us a call about your upcoming vacation and we will assist in making that next memory for you.