In recent years, those looking to book with a cruise franchise – or any other trip – have moved away from doing it themselves and towards using travel agencies. But what makes a travel agency a good bet? Aside from not having to plan anything yourself, using a travel agency can have its benefits. Here are 8 things to look for when selecting a travel agency.
- Is the agency affiliated with the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA)? The ASTA “is the world’s largest association of travel professionals. Members include travel agents and the companies whose products they sell such as tours, cruises, hotels, car rentals, etc.” Any travel agency you use to book with a cruise franchise should be affiliated with this well-known organization that has a code of ethics, continuing education, and various chapters throughout the country.
- Does your travel agent seem informed? Are you able to ask questions and get specific answers from your travel agency? If you’ve booked a trip with a reputable cruise franchise that’s new to you, they will be sure to have the information they need for you to have a great trip.
- Does the price compete with online booking options? Some people may research vacations online. Truth be told, they will ultimately book with a travel agent who can help them get the best bang for their buck through their cruise franchise benefits.
- Do they ask you questions? The first thing a good travel agent should do when you contact them is ask YOU questions about your trip. They’ll need an outline and solid understanding of what you expect out of your vacation. Do you want to book with a cruise franchise that is lax on timelines and required activities? Or, do you like the regime of needing to be somewhere – even on vacation? They should be interested in your wants and needs.
- Do you feel pressured to buy? A good travel agent never makes a customer feel pressured to purchase anything. Of course, it certainly benefits them if you book a trip, but it shouldn’t be a high-stress situation. Planning a vacation is fun!
- Are they as excited as you? This might seem silly, but firstly, you should like your travel agent. They should really know your wants and needs and frankly, be as excited as you about your trip! Even if this is the 500th trip they’ve booked with the same cruise franchise, they should act like it’s the first. A good travel agent adds to the excitement of travel planning.
- Do they set deadlines and send reminders? If you’re going abroad, you might have a timeline of things that need to happen before your trip. A good travel agent will layout the appropriate timeline and then send reminders when deadlines near. You shouldn’t purchase your trip and then never hear from them again.
- Do they follow up? Along the same line, will the travel agent follow up after your trip? Are they interested in how it went or if you have any constructive criticism for the specific cruise franchise you chose? A good travel agent will follow up to help them improve their business as well as your next experience. They want to make a client for life, not just for one vacation.
No matter where you’re off to, you’re bound to have a great time. But make sure the planning phase is just as fun by picking the best travel agency!