Myth #1 || A travel advisor is just a fancy name for travel agent.
Travel advisors are like financial advisors or legal advisors. We are trusted specialists with deep knowledge. As a result, we can guide and provide context for important decisions regarding your vacation. Travel is a big investment of time, money, and emotion. The return on your investment is priceless.
To clarify, travel agents are transactional. They book tickets and make reservations. Travel advisors are transformational. I make it my business to get to know you, to work with you over the long term on your travel dreams and plans, and to learn all about you from your favorite wine to your preferred spa treatment.
Myth #2 || Travel advisors don’t add value.
To make sure your trip is one for the books, I have got a repertoire of possibilities, including scholarly tour guides, exclusive dining experiences, after-hour tours, and more. I’ll also save you money in the long run as I’m privy to savings, special pricing, value-added amenities, and upgrades that are not available to the public. I provide you with peace of mind. We can not control weather disasters, pandemics, or revolutions, but with me as your advocate, you have someone with personal connections, industry knowledge, legal skills, and negotiation background who can resolve difficulties quickly. As the world cautiously re-opens, travellers should not try to DIY their travel.
Myth #3 || Travel advisors are all the same.
Travel advisors have different backgrounds they bring to their services. Some are former chefs so they specialize in culinary travel; some were in the military and offer travel to see renowned battle sites.
I am a certified yoga therapist and have been a teacher since 2002, practicing yoga since 1994 — all because of my own travels. Premier Wellness Travel specializes in wellness. We design travel that up-levels your wellbeing and ensures you maintain your health while you travel. That’s my specialty. And I’m not just a specialist in travel, I aim to become specialists in you. With my connections, I am able to tap into a large network of experts around the world, providing you with experiences and opportunities you otherwise may not have been able to have.
So, if you’re looking for a Disney vacation or to book a holiday on a large cruise ship, I’ll probably refer you to one of my excellent colleagues who specialize in those types of vacations. If I feel I can’t help you, I’ll make sure to find you the perfect match for what you desire.
Myth #4 || Travel advisor are too expensive.
A good travel advisor will save you money in the long run — money and most definitely, time. Yes, the good ones do charge design fees (or planning fees) up front. That covers our time to do research, craft itineraries and design your trip. But travel advisors help you eliminate information overload. We navigate you through the plethora of options — new hotels on the scene; the freshest cruise lines; passport, visa and entry issues; weather; worker strikes; political unrest; natural disasters; travel insurance; travel providers insolvencies, etc. etc. etc. The value we bring to boost the quality of your experience is one thing. You’ve got someone who’s got your back before, during and after your trip. The peace of mind and security we offer is priceless. It’s expensive NOT to use a travel advisor.
Myth #5 || Travel advisors shut you out of the planning process.
You absolutely will be part of the planning and decision making process as much as you desire. I have some clients who like me to do everything and to be surprised — not just surprised by their destination but even the details of their itinerary. Each day they open an envelope to discover what’s on tap for the day. Those trips are fun to design.
Others love being part of the process; and let’s be honest the planning and anticipation can be half the fun! Designing your holiday can be a collaborative effort where you can swap out ideas, activities and experiences. This type of planning is very personalized, efficient, effective, and also really fun! I do my part to make it seamless so you have more time just to anticipate and prepare as you wish
I will do as much or as little as you wish. That’s what a personal travel advisor does. They tailor not only the trip but the process to you!
Myth #6 || Travel advisors ONLY care about commissions.
When you hire me, my loyalty is to you. I become a specialist in you so I can create the most amazing experiences. I treat your money as if it’s my own and take pride in what I do.
Yes, sometimes I get commissions. The commissions range from nothing to 20%. That’s just the way the industry is set up.
Rest assured, the commission schedules do not affect my recommendations or designs. My only goal is to ensure you are delighted. I take care of you and put your interests first and foremost. That’s why you hire me.
Also travel design is not just a job for me; travel is my passion because I have myself experienced the transformational power of travel. And I know how travel enriches our lives.
Myth #7 || I can plan the same trip faster by myself online.
I guarantee you this assumption is wrong. The only aspect of our lives that is limited is time. We can always make more money, forge new friendships, change careers. We can not create more time. Time is your most valuable and renewable asset. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
And online the information you find is voluminous and can be outdated, conflicting and questionable. I spend a good amount of my own time traveling the globe to research and collect ideas for my clients. And I know about experiences that you don’t even know are possible. And that can’t be found on Google, even if you knew what to enter in the search bar.
Myth #8 || I can find the same prices and perks on my own.
As a Virtuoso advisor I have access to special rates and offers that simply are not available to the public. I’m also a member of the Belmond Bellini Club and Hyatt Privee which is an additional way I secure special rates.
If a search engine or hotel website indicates there’s no room at the inn, there’s a good chance I can still get you a reservation. If your flight gets delayed or cancelled, I can most likely get you on another flight faster than you can. And without the stress. I get you set up with the optimal car service, personalized tours that enable you to skip the lines, those illusive restaurant reservations, and the best travel insurance for you. So close those 100+ tabs and set up an appointment to chat.
Further and perhaps most importantly, I have a very large network of global relationships in the industry that I’ve spent years cultivating. That enables me to pick up the phone and call the general manager at your hotel to see if an upgrade is available. With luxury travel, what you know and who you know is key.
Myth #9 ||I don’t need a travel advisor.
Now is not the time to travel without the advice of a travel specialist. You don’t know what you don’t know. I have the answers to questions you haven’t even thought of. Especially now, as the travel landscape, rules and regulations are constantly changing, the service I provide is invaluable. We are now even more acutely aware of how awful it is when things go wrong on your trip.
Those 800 numbers can ring for-evah! And guess what, online travel sites are consolidating and buying each other up. If you thought service was bad before the pandemic, just wait.
With me as your advocate, you have someone with personal connections, industry knowledge, legal skills, and negotiation background who can resolve difficulties quickly. As the world cautiously re-opens, travellers should not try to DIY their travel.
We have a saying in the industry: when you go with the internet, you go with God.
Myth #10 || Nobody uses travel advisors anymore.
Many people do not realize that travel advisors still exist and that we became extinct sometime around 1995 with the ascendency of the internet. That’s simply not true. As proof, get this – Virtuoso’s network of advisors includes more than 22,000 of us!
The global pandemic illuminated a lot of things. What we love, we love more. What we hate, we have no patience for. Life is too short! And we no longer take the ability to travel for granted. And when it comes to your holidays and leisure time and wellbeing, it’s 100% worthwhile to work with a travel design specialist who enjoys a deep and wide network of personal relationships, a plethora of opportunities, and expertise – in the travel industry and in you.
BONUS MYTH || I know how to book a flight and reserve a room, so I don’t want to bug you.
All of the people I know here in Washington DC are seasoned international travellers. They know how to book flights and hotels on their own. But here’s the thing — when they do so, they’re not valuing their own time and leaving money on the table. Again, I can book that same room for less, secure an upgrade and include your breakfasts for free, and more. I have access to consolidated rates for airlines too. And I love to pass these advantages along to others. You are not bugging me!
I love what I do. And I love what I know about travel and continue to learn what’s possible so that I can do for you what you can’t even do for yourself. Travel is my livelihood, my love, and my life.
Additional Resources ::
Make Way for Travel Agents. Again (from the New York Times April 2021)
5 Reasons Why You Need a Travel Agent – More than Ever (from Forbes January 2020)