Rosalyn Cooper here, Founder and Lead Travel Consultant at Social Butterfly Express. Sometimes, when I’m meeting new people for the first time, they are surprised to learn that I’m a travel consultant. If I had a plane ticket for every time I heard “Those still exist?”, I’d have my travel needs covered for life!
We are so lucky to live in a digital age with an internet that provides us with a wealth of resources in our pockets and at our fingertips. General advancements in technology have already made an impact on the travel agency, such as the ability to check into our flights from our phones and download mobile versions of boarding passes, for example. It’s also made self-service travel booking much more accessible, and at times, even the norm for some travelers like the ones who are surprised I’m an agent. Websites that promise you they’ll find you the lowest rate and give you the ability to bundle vacation packages with a few clicks make it even more tempting to try and DIY your travel plans.
So if you can do all that on your own, why hire a Travel Consultant?
In short, because traveling is a big deal! From checking things off our bucket list with trips we’ve been dreaming of for a lifetime, or looking at our ability to travel as a reflection of achieving a financial goal and sometimes looked at as a status symbol, to making lifetime memories, celebrating significant milestones, or just simply “finding ourselves” - travel can mean so much for so many different reasons! And just like you’d hire an Event or Wedding Planner to help you reduce stress while planning one of the biggest days of your life, Travel Consultants are here to take the stress of planning the biggest trips of your life, taking the stress of planning your honeymoon, anniversary, or any other travel plans off your plate!
Contrary to popular belief, often times the price of your trip does not go up because you have to pay the travel consultant. While it’s true that some agents do charge a planning fee, many of us do not, as we are paid directly from our suppliers. Plus, since many suppliers have promotions that are only available when booking with an agent, this means not only are you not paying your agent’s fees out of your own pocket, but you could actually be saving money, too!
Here are a few more reasons why you should consider working with a Travel Consultant for your honeymoon:
1. Travel Consultants have relationships with a wide variety of different suppliers, making it easy for us to make changes to your reservations, navigate the fine print, and even negotiate group deals or special offers.
Have you considered planning a Bachelor/Bachelorette Weekend or Destination Wedding but found yourself quickly frustrated with making reservations? A Travel Consultant will help keep your group organized and keep everyone on task and meeting important deadlines, which could determine whether or not you get to keep your group rate! Travel Consultants also have live access to information such as room inventory, so they can easily get the info you need and prevent you from having to contact suppliers individually. Many of the third party sites you see advertising unrealistically low prices are actually over-selling property, and we’ve seen many cases where resorts have had to turn away travelers due to their rooms being booked on these sites although the resort didn’t truly have the room availability to sell. Being turned away from a hotel you paid to reserve a room at, and being uncertain about where you’ll sleep (and what it’ll cost!) is no way to start what is supposed to be a memorable or relaxing trip!
2. Travel Consultants = added perks! When booking a honeymoon,anniversary, special proposal trips, or other romance travel, I know I always go above and beyond to make sure my clients feel like VIPs once they reach their destination - something you’re not likely to get when working with an algorithm-based search + book travel site. As Travel Consultants, we sometimes have a little more pull when it comes to securing negotiations for our clients. Things like: upgrading your transfer, requesting room upgrades, snagging you extra resort credits, and so much more!
I’m sure many of my fellow travel consultants would agree that one of the things we love most about this industry is the human connection we get to experience and the relationships we get to build with our clients. When we help you plan a significant trip, we’re helping write a part of your story, and we can add a personal touch you simply won’t get from an online booking platform. Throughout my career, I’ve helped multiple individuals plan surprise trips for their significant others who had no clue! I especially enjoy putting those are the types of trips together because it allows me to get creative while also working to make sure everything is perfect to bring my clients’ dreams to life!.
3. Travel Consultants are also here to help educate you on different travel issues that are going on in the world, and keep you informed on varying regulations in foreign countries to prevent you from hitting any snags along your trip. We also provide a calm sounding board and safe place for our clients to vent concerns when things get tough, such as the current concerns and uncertainty surrounding coronavirus and its effect on travel. For example, last year there were some issues and concerns about traveling to Punta Cana, a destination one of my groups had a trip pending to. Picking a new destination and resort while also making sure my clients didn’t have to pay any additional fees required a lot of research and patience (one call I made had a 3 hour hold time!). I’m pleased to say that ultimately, we got their trip changed from Punta Cana to Cancun, they were not responsible for any additional charges, and they had a great time. However, that could have easily wound up turning into a canceled trip AND a financial loss to the client via their deposits if they hadn't had a trusted and knowledgeable travel consultant in their corner to research and negotiate on their behalf.
And speaking of travel education - Pro Tip: Always purchase travel insurance! Travel Insurance is extremely important and should be purchased for EVERY trip, even if you are only traveling within the US. Costs associated with travel insurance are low, and the reassurance of knowing you're covered in case of an emergency is well worth the price and helps ease your mind. For example, recently a client of mine had learned of a relative passing while in the midst of a trip. Thanks to your travel insurance, I was able to get her booked on the next flight out of her destination and back home without any additional out of pocket cost to the client. To put this in perspective, if she hadn’t purchased travel insurance, the flight ticket alone would’ve cost her $500 PLUS she would’ve lost money on her last night at her hotel. Quite a blow, and on top of losing a family member to boot! Instead, she’s getting a refund check for $600.
4. You have direct access to a live person and not the internet! Not that the internet isn’t a beautiful thing (refer back to mobile boarding passes and remote check in!), but when it comes to planning travel, the bottom line is you are usually making a significant investment with the expectation of making significant memories during your trip. Having a human being that you can ask questions to and get advice from is incomparable to entering a few criteria in a booking search engine, and even more so when you’re working with an agent who values building client relationships and who will advocate for you with your best interest at heart. We can help you craft a one-of-a-kind experience while simultaneously protecting, and maximizing, your travel investment.
Social Butterfly Express specializes in 100% custom travel experiences including destination weddings, honeymoons, bachelor/bachelorette parties, anniversary trips, and more! Get your custom quote here, and let us help make your travel dreams a reality!