Life As A Travel Consultant {From Real Agents}


Post Last Modified – October 31, 2020

The Daily Working Life As A Travel Consultant From Real Agents

Having a love for travel since I was very young, I was always interested in working in the travel sector in one way or another, and always wondered what Life As A Travel Consultant must be like. One of my first real jobs after school was having the opportunity to be a long distance Charter Bus Driver. What a great job that was at the time, driving people on vacation around North America to many popular vacation destinations.

Even though my career ended up in a completely different field, I still managed to put myself through a prestigious travel college, becoming a licensed travel agent. I had hoped to work as a consultant either part time or once retired. I did end up working as a part time home based consultant for a short time with a major cruise vacation company, but quickly discovered this was not an easy task working in this manner.

Working As A Travel Agent and Blogging For A Living

Robert Tellier in India

After working in this field part time for a short while, I then decided to focus my efforts as an amateur travel blogger, instead of trying to make a few bucks as a part time consultant. This was definitely the right move for me. It also left me with a greater appreciation for travel agents and consultants out there working each and every day with their clients, putting together travel and vacation packages.

It’s very hard work that many people out there don’t appreciate, which gave me the idea of putting together this post interviewing actual travel consultants on what life as a travel consultant is really like.

Below are a few travel agents and bloggers I contacted that were happy to contribute to this post and tell others what it’s actually like to work as a travel consultant.

The Travel Lady

Life As A Travel Consultant #1

Jordan and LMK at Global

1 – What Motivated You To Become A Travel Consultant?

The love of travel and the desire to be an entrepreneur. As a new immigrant to Canada I wanted a change and decided to start my own business as a franchisee with UNIGLOBE.

2 – What Type Of Training Did You Undergo To Become A Consultant?

I had done some online courses but nothing prepared me for the actual task of being a travel consultant. The mysterious world of the GDS was a new language of $BB and Pillow and Colon.

I was told as owner of the franchise that I should leave the travel booking side of things to my agents and not learn how to sell or book travel. I thought that sounded pretty stupid and set out to learn the business from the bottom up.

3 – Why Should People Book Their Travels With A Professional Travel Consultant, Instead Of Booking Online On Their Own?

There are a lot of travel options that people can book on their own these days. A flight from A to B or a week long package in Mexico. That’s pretty basic stuff. We decided that in order to stand out from the competition of online travel agencies we would narrow down what we do and offer niche services to destinations that we actually visit.

As result we no long sell all inclusive packages to Mexico and the Caribbean, nothing into North America like Disney, no air only. Instead we focus on customised vacations and travel to exotic destinations such as Africa, South America, South Pacific and Europe.

Places our team has actually visited.

We are also cruise experts with our team having sailed on many different ocean and river cruises. First hand experience is what the consumer is looking for these days. As we have a lot of repeat customers we get to know what they like – and what they don’t – so we are able to offer valuable advice and suggestions.

4 – Since Becoming A Travel Consultant, What Is The Biggest Change You’ve Noticed In Your Profession In Recent Years?

The advent of Independent Contractors. Some of the independent contractors are seasoned professionals who have decided to work independently through a host agency. Sadly however there seems to be a trend for large host agencies to recruit anyone who would like to be a “travel agent”.

In the industry we call them “hobbyists” and the feeling is that they have become a “travel agent” so that they can go on (fams) and get agents rates. Some feel that this takes away from the professionalism of our industry. It is an ongoing debate.

5 – What Do You Like Most About Your Job?

Every day is different – never boring and let’s face it – we are dealing with a sexy product. It’s travel! It’s exciting.

6 – What Do You Find The Most Frustrating Aspect Of Your Job?

Probably dealing with the airlines. Many customer issues seem to revolve around delayed flights, seat selection, schedule changes and more. The airlines are so big now that the little people don’t seem to count. I have noticed as well that it is always really easy to blame the travel agent.

This actually happened to me at the check in desk for one of my flights when something had gone wrong. The agent said “well you need to speak to your travel agent about this” – LOL – I told her “I am the travel agent so let’s talk”.

She had nothing for me!

7 – What Has Been Your Most Memorable Moment Working As A Travel Consultant?

There are so many. My first round the world cruise – always a goody! – and contrasting – A young woman and her brother who traveled to Tahiti because she had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and this was her dream. We all cried.

8 – Where Do You Most Love To Travel To?

Wow – another hard question. Every place has it’s special thing! Having grown up in Southern Africa I do love the bush as we call it there and have had many adventures there. Sleeping in a tent with a pack of hyenas having a huge fight very close to us, hearing the roar of a rogue lion in the night and watching those amazing African sunsets.

9 – What Are The Key Ingredients Needed In Order To Become A Successful Travel Consultant In This Competitive Field?

Good sales technique, ability to assess people, intuition and attention to detail – plus of course authentic passion for travel.

Fishermans island lunch

BIO:
Born in England, grew up in South Africa – now a proud Canadian. I have been lucky enough to visit some amazing places all over the world – Tanzania, Morocco, Egypt, most of Europe, South America, Tahiti, Cook Island, Fiji, Australia and New Zealand. Some of my favorite places were India, Cambodia and Vietnam and the back roads of Ireland.

I have slept under a tent in the Sahara Desert and spent Earth Hour under the stars in the Serengeti. When I first arrived in Calgary I was invited by Global TV to present travel ideas to Calgary’s viewers each week on the Morning News.

That was over 20 years ago and I still love appearing each week. I plan never to retire – I am having too much fun.  You can visit Lesley’s Blog at … The Travel Lady.

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Sonia Jones Travel

Life As A Travel Consultant #2

Sonia Jones Travel

1 – What Motivated You To Become A Travel Consultant?

After I graduated from university, I went travelling for two years. I was on the last leg of my trip and I started looking at jobs, but really couldn’t find anything that appealed to me. I then came across an ad for Flight Centre and I thought, “That’s it!”

I applied and the rest is history. That was sixteen years ago!

2 – What Type Of Training Did You Undergo To Become A Consultant?

I was trained on the job. Flight Centre Travel Group in Australia has its own in-house training program. The version of training that I went through is vastly different to today’s course, but essentially I learned everything from the airline booking system to sales techniques while on the job.

It was a very steep learning curve and the first sixth months was tough, but one day it all clicked.

3 – Why Should People Book Their Travels With A Professional Travel Consultant Instead Of Booking Online On Their Own?

If I want something done properly, I go to a professional. I don’t try to colour or cut my own hair – I go to my hairdresser. I don’t fix my own blocked drain – I call a plumber. I believe the same is true for travel – if you want to try and do it yourself, you can, but wouldn’t you rather a professional handle your arrangements for you?

We spend every single day looking at hotels, researching cruise lines, booking airfares and uncovering hidden gems to make your next trip even more special. We have contacts across the globe who can help us to plan the perfect holiday for you at the best rates.

Through my affiliation with networks such as Virtuoso, my clients often receive complimentary amenities like breakfast, room upgrades, hotel credits, spa treatments and late check out.

You can’t get those if you book directly with these hotels.

4 – Since Becoming A Travel Consultant, What Is The Biggest Change You’ve Noticed In Your Profession In Recent Years?

The biggest change I have noticed in travel is around pricing. When I started out in 2002, prices were static and consumers couldn’t really make bookings or access better pricing themselves. As the internet grew and more hotels, cruises and airfares came online, pricing became more competitive, but also more transparent.

It is a myth that booking through a travel advisor will cost more than booking yourself. How could we survive as a profession if we knew our rates were always dearer? I always send my clients the hotel or cruise line website when I quote them anything, and there are a number of times clients tell me my rate is in fact lower than what they could find for themselves.

My clients trust me to find them great value and extra inclusions wherever possible.

5 – What Do You Like Most About Your Job?

I love the planning phase of a trip and then seeing it come to life. When a client sends me a photo of their view from their room, or the lion they saw on safari, or the smiles on their children’s faces with their favorite character at Disneyland, then it makes all the hours of planning and carefully crafting their journey worth it.
Hearing them recount what a perfect trip they had brings me so much joy! Travel is an emotional experience and I love being part of those “ah-ha” moments with my clients.

6 – What Do You Find The Most Frustrating Aspect Of Your Job?

So many times we are caught in the middle of something that is completely not our fault, and yet it is our responsibility to find a resolution for the client then and there. A flight is cancelled; the private transfer doesn’t arrive; severe weather strikes; the hotel has promised twin beds but cannot provide them for the guest – you get the idea.

It is incredibly frustrating, however as the advisor, I have to find a solution.

Looking after my client is my number one priority. I’m the security blanket and the back-up should anything go wrong. There’s a saying, “Without a Travel Advisor – You Are On Your Own.”

7 – What Has Been Your Most Memorable Moment Working As A Travel Consultant?

There have been so many wonderful moments during my career as a travel advisor, but one of the most memorable was making a trip of a lifetime come true for an elderly client. She had never traveled overseas, but she had dream of seeing the Great Wall of China. I put a simple, but very special trip together for her, her daughter and her granddaughter, flying them to Beijing and arranging their stay at the iconic Aman Summer Palace.

They made it to the Great Wall – not an easy feat for someone with various health and mobility challenges – and the three women stood at the top together. I felt like I was there with them at that moment!

8 – Where Do You Most Love To Travel To?

It’s like asking me if I have a favorite child! I love travel, full stop. I love exploring somewhere new, but I also love revisiting a city and discovering something different about it. If I had to pick one place though, it would have to be Japan. A little piece of me lives there, and I struggle to leave at the end of each trip.

I love the culture, the food, the people and the diversity that Japan offers. It is a unique and truly special part of the world.

9 – What Are The Key Ingredients Needed In Order To Become A Successful Travel Consultant In This Competitive Field?

I believe that the key to being a successful travel advisor is to find your point of difference. It may be that you specialize in a particular destination, or it may be that you are a guru for a certain type of travel. Find that point of difference, drill down on it and be the best that you can be.

Spend time (and money) on research, training and experiencing your chosen area. Knock your competitors out of the park and make your unique selling point known. People will come looking for you and will want to work with you because you have proven yourself a specialist in that area.

Remember that having a niche or area of specialization doesn’t mean you are pigeon-holing yourself – but it will be why people know of you and want to be part of the journey with you!

Zhujiajiao Sonia

BIO:
Sonia is the owner and manager of Sonia Jones Travel. She has worked as a travel advisor for sixteen years and specialize in luxury travel, planning detailed itineraries and family travel experiences. Sonia has traveled extensively across the globe, however her favorite destination is Japan. You can visit Sonia’s blog at … Sonia Jones Travel.

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Milk and Honey Travels

Life As A Travel Consultant #3

Erica Mendenhall Photography

1 – What Motivated You To Become A Travel Consultant?

I was interested in being an entrepreneur first and foremost. I wanted to be my own boss, do something I was passionate about, and create a certain lifestyle — preferably one that allowed me to work from anywhere. I was obviously passionate about travel on a personal level, and I also loved helping people plan their own trips.

It was just a matter of figuring out how to make that a career.

2 – What Type Of Training Did You Undergo To Become A Consultant?

Becoming a consultant actually doesn’t take much professional training, but you should seek out all different types of training if you want to be successful. I started by working as an independent contractor and joining a host agency that offered a lot of help in the form of webinars and tutorials for people new to the industry. I also did online training from a small business perspective.

The most helpful was a program called B-School.

3 – Why Should People Book Their Travels With A Professional Travel Consultant, Instead Of Booking Online On Their Own?

Working with a consultant adds an important personal touch to your travels, while also providing you with a knowledgeable professional that will help guide you in creating the type of experience you are looking for. Booking online is simply where you go to make a transaction, and there is so much information out there, it’s often hard to know if you are making the best transaction you could be.

A professional travel consultant listens to what you are looking for, uses their personal expertise and extensive resource of contacts around the globe, and provides a seamless travel experience where your only responsibility is to show up and enjoy it.

That seems like a pretty sweet deal to me!

4 – Since Becoming A Travel Consultant, What Is The Biggest Change You’ve Noticed In Your Profession In Recent Years?

People specializing in certain types of travel and becoming niche experts is really popular. I also think that there is a younger generation starting to use Travel Advisors because what is most important for them are experiences that are out of the box, and unique — things you can’t necessarily google.

5 – What Do You Like Most About Your Job?

I love helping people’s dreams come true. I see each trip I plan as my gift to the special people who are traveling. These trips are some of their most precious memories, and it’s an honor to play a part in that, and something I don’t take lightly. When I get to follow along on social media while they are traveling and see them share all of their special moments, it makes me love what I do even more.

6 – What Do You Find The Most Frustrating Aspect Of Your Job?

Hold times when you call the airlines. 🙂

7 – What Has Been Your Most Memorable Moment Working As A Travel Consultant?

I was able to work on a special trip to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro a few years ago and that was really special for me because of my background as a professional track and field athlete.

It was a full circle moment to help plan a trip like that!

8 – Where Do You Most Love To Travel To?

Bali is my favorite place in the world and I love introducing it to people and traveling there myself. I just returned from my last trip about a month ago.

9 – What Are The Key Ingredients Needed In Order To Become A Successful Travel Consultant In This Competitive Field?

A love for travel is a must. I think another key ingredient is really understanding the clients you hope to work with because it’s about making their dreams come to life. I am a big believer in personal branding because it’s the foundation of my business success. My business is me and vice versa, and I have to help people understand who I am, what I do, and how I can help them.

Also, being business savvy is a huge plus — the ins and outs of travel knowledge will come, but if you don’t know how to approach this like a business owner you’ll have a hard time being successful.

Erica Mendenhall Photography Palm Springs

BIO:

Brianna considers herself a tastemaker of customized vacation experiences, and runs her boutique travel agency, Milk and Honey Travels, from her home in Orange County, California, or anywhere around the globe that has decent WiFi.

Her wanderlust spirit was born during her career as a professional athlete. It was a career that not only allowed her to pursue her purpose and passion as a track and field athlete for over 10 years, but gave her the opportunity to fall deeply in love with the world and all the incredible places available to explore and experience.

With a love for travel, a desire to serve people and help them travel better, and an online platform to share it from, she quickly grew her travel business and strategically attracts the right type of ideal clients who can’t wait to work with her.  You can visit Brianna’s blog at … Milk and Honey Travels.

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The Travel Expert

Life As A Travel Consultant #4

Working in South Africa

1 – What Motivated You To Become A Travel Consultant?

I interned in a travel agency when I left school. I had never travelled on a plane before and always wanted to travel. Once I started I became fascinated with travel and decided to stay in the travel agency and not take up my college placement.

2 – What Type Of Training Did You Undergo To Become A Consultant?

I didn’t do anything initially, I started as an intern and was trained on site. After a year there I did the IATA-UFTAA diploma course.

3 – Why Should People Book Their Travels With A Professional Travel Consultant, Instead Of Booking Online On Their Own?

There are many reasons. Nowadays time is precious and one can spend hours researching various apartments and hotels online. Travel Consultants take all this hassle away, as well as providing expert advice. Booking with a licensed travel agency also gives you security. If something does go wrong you have someone to call at the end of the phone. With numerous air traffic control strikes, airlines strikes and many natural disasters happening each year – having the peace of mind of booking with a travel consultant is priceless.

4 – Since Becoming A Travel Consultant, What Is The Biggest Change You’ve Noticed In Your Profession In Recent Years?

More and more people are booking holidays themselves, some via online travel agencies and some direct with hotels. Peoples tastes have evolved greatly, the two week Summer package holiday to Spain is not the norm anymore. People are taking more than one holiday per year and want more authentic experiences.

While we all like to chill out on the beach for a few days, but we also want some adventure too. Finding a place to do both is the ideal holiday destination.

5 – What Do You Like Most About Your Job?

I am no longer a travel agent. I write about travel now and research travel deals for people to book on line directly – some via travel agencies and some direct. I love researching destinations and finding out about new places. I also love that I get to travel so much with my job, I understand how fortunate I am.

6 – What Do You Find The Most Frustrating Aspect Of Your Job?

People don’t always see the value in what I do. I can get emails from people looking for information and then they are happy to go and book via another channel. I sometimes think people think I am an information service and that it is not my full time job….

7 – What Has Been Your Most Memorable Moment Working As A Travel Consultant?

Nothing springs to mind while working in the office. I would probably say my trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar while working as a travel agent.  We went on three different luxury safaris in Tanzania and then chilled out on a beach in Zanzibar afterwards.

It is still the best holiday experience I have ever had as a consultant.

8 – Where Do You Most Love To Travel To?

There are so many places! Staying close to home I like Italy and Spain, mostly because of the weather and food! I was in South Africa this year and loved it and I went to Tanzania a few years ago and felt the same. I would like to explore more of Africa.

9 – What Are The Key Ingredients Needed In Order To Become A Successful Travel Consultant In This Competitive Field?

People can research anything online now so in order to be able to recommend a destination I believe you need to have personal experience. Knowledge is key, you need to know more than your customer. I also believe you need to be selling destinations that are not easily bookable online.

Bucket list destinations, cruises, honeymoons, adventure travel – all of these require expertise.

Sarah Independence of the Seas cruise

BIO:
I was a travel agent for 24 years before starting my own travel website nearly four years ago. I could see first hand that the way consumers were booking holidays was changing rapidly. More and more people booked online, yet still looked for recommendations from an expert.

Thankfully my business has grown from strength to strength and I now have many large clients including TUI, Avios,Tropical Sky and Multitrip.com.

I publish a ‘best travel deals’ post every Tuesday. I search airlines, hotels, tour operators and travel agents and compile what I believe are the best value travel deals in the market. I now have over 50,000 monthly visitors to my website and over 35k social media followers. I feature regularly on radio, TV and in various media outlets.  You can visit Sarah’s blog at … The Travel Expert.

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Shari Tucker Travel and Adventures

Life As A Travel Consultant #5

Shari Tucker Travel

1 – What Motivated You To Become A Travel Consultant?

In February 2012, I was a professional photographer who was running a photo tour in Peru. As we sat, watching the fog roll in and out around Machu Picchu waiting for sunrise, I realized that I wasn’t living my best life and I needed to change my path.

That summer and from that point forward, I did not take on any more wedding photography jobs and I spent my summer in Sosua, Dominican Republic learning Spanish and soul-searching. While I was there, I began investigating the idea of becoming a travel agent, reaching out to someone in the field to find out if it was a worthwhile career.

When I returned home, I had an opportunity to start my own business as a travel agent, but at the same time, I had the chance to interview at a travel agency office.

In the end, I decided on a complete career change, going from being a full-time, successful professional photographer running my own business, to a 9 to 5  poorly paid, but stable office job. I took the office job and learned the ins and outs of being a travel agent with hands on office experience and lots of past travel experience.

2 – What Type Of Training Did You Undergo To Become A Consultant?

For me, all of my training was hands-on.  From having experience traveling to many countries, to learning the computer and software systems used for working in the industry.  I did weeks of online courses and in-person training to learn to use Amadeus (an industry flight-booking system) and various internal training sessions for other programs specific to the office I was working in.

On top of that, I did product training for everything from cruises, all-inclusive to adventure travel, depending on what was being offered online and in Halifax at the time.

I continue my education now through traveling on work-related trips, attending conferences and more online training.

3 – Why Should People Book Their Travels With A Professional Travel Consultant, Instead Of Booking Online On Their Own?

Booking with a travel agent is all about saving time and receiving extra value for your vacation. What most people don’t realize about travel consultants is that they are able to talk with you, get to know your likes and dislikes and help narrow down a trip for you within a 20 – 30 minute phone conversation, a few emails or even over coffee.

They can help you make the best decisions for your vacation and avoid amateur mistakes.

They often already know which destinations have the best weather at a specific time of year, when major festivals take place, if you want to attend them or avoid the busy seasons.  If not, they have resources at their fingertips without sorting through various advertisements and unreliable resources on the internet.

Not to mention their professional connections with local suppliers all over the world.

They know about Skip the Line tickets, how to get them and why they are so important. They know that traveling during rainy season can be amazing. They know the benefits and downfalls of cruising vs adventure cruising, coach-bus tours vs small group tours, camping in the Serengeti vs glamping!

Travel Consultants have a vast knowledge of different styles of travel and can educate you to the differences and what to expect. Plus they can offer up the best ideas for places that you should check out, not to mention personal recommendations from their own travels.

While Google can tell you the top five trending places for travel next year, your travel consultant knows which ones you’ve been to and which ones will suit your interests, budget and feed your worldly curiosity.

On top of all of that, travel consultants also have access to discounts and value added products and services that are not always advertised online, while still being able to get most of the same prices that you find online. In the end, booking with a travel consultant saves you time, gets you reliable, first-hand information, and peace of mind while you are traveling.

Often times, they can get you extra perks like on board credits, free breakfast, included meal vouchers, free transfers and more!

Perhaps the most important and valuable reason for booking with a travel consultant is that they have your back if anything goes wrong on your trip.

Flights cancelled? No problem – you go enjoy the beach while your travel consultant contacts the airline, gets you on a different flight and notifies your upcoming transfer and hotel that you’ll be arriving late.

Family emergency? No problem, your travel consultant will help you make the arrangements necessary to get home as quickly as possible and give you advice about claiming through travel insurance.

Why wouldn’t you want all of this!?

4 – Since Becoming A Travel Consultant, What Is The Biggest Change You’ve Noticed In Your Profession In Recent Years?

The travel industry is continuously changing. Big changes of course have been in the airline industry. Things that we always considered as ‘included’ such as seat selection and baggage are no longer freebies. Popular destinations are always changing as well.

When I started in the industry, no one was thinking about visiting Croatia or Portugal, and now they are two very in-demand locations.

5 – What Do You Like Most About Your Job?

I love that I own my own business –  I worked in an office, then worked remotely with the same company and then became a home-based agent with Travel Professionals International.  Becoming home-based gave me the freedom to become a digital nomad, continuing to be a travel agent and servicing my Canadian clientele no matter what country I was living in.

In September 2014 I sold everything I owned, including a brand new SUV, my condo and most of my possessions and went off to explore the world. I lived in Turkey, Argentina, Panama, Portugal and traveled around South East Asia and South America.

My office was completely mobile and I was able to sustain myself on the road for nearly three years before becoming tired of nomadic life and settling back down in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

While I have no plans for long-term, digital nomad life again any time soon, I do love that I’ve built my business around this passion and could do so again at any time!

6 – What Do You Find The Most Frustrating Aspect Of Your Job?

I think communication is one of the most frustrating parts of my job. On a daily basis I may be in contact with clients, tour-operators in Canada and in five to ten other countries. Each time, dealing with various language differences, time zones and communication styles.

While in Canada we tend to work very quickly and like instant-gratification with quick email responses.  Not all countries have the same work ethic or technology as we do.

While a client may want to know a price on their custom trip to Africa within 24 hours, our contact on the ground in Africa may have a national holiday, a big natural disaster or a WiFi / phone outage. Clients tend to think we are just plugging in information to something like Google that spits out information, but in the real world, we are working with people all around the world to make the best trip possible for clients.

Sometimes that can take days or weeks to organize for a whole variety of reasons.

7 – What Has Been Your Most Memorable Moment Working As A Travel Consultant?

I very clearly remember the excitement of being accepted to my first agent trip, which was to Myanmar. I’ll never forget the excitement of going to a country that most people at that time had never heard of. I landed in Yangon two days before my group trip was to start.

I met some of the most amazing travel agents from other parts of the world, experienced Asia for the first time and made new friends, several of whom I still keep in touch with today.

The entire trip was memorable and re-confirmed my love of adventure travel!

8 – Where Do You Most Love To Travel To?

I’ve been to 43 countries in the past 10 or so years. While I love to discover new places, there are three countries that I have returned to and will continue to return to again and again:

1. Turkey – for the amazing, kind and interesting people, the architecture and cave-villages and the delicious food!

2. Portugal – for the incredible coastline in the Algarve Region and the amazing history and photographic opportunities of Lisbon.

3. South Africa – for the diversity in people, the history, the incredible landscapes and amazing wildlife.

9 – What Are The Key Ingredients Needed In Order To Become A Successful Travel Consultant In This Competitive Field?

If you plan to run your own business and work for an umbrella company, such as Travel Professionals International like I do, then you need to have good business skills.  Not only will you be planning and selling travel, but you’ll need to be networking to find clients, have a strong social media presence and balance the marketing, bookkeeping and sales parts of your job in order to be successful.

You also need to be good at planning, organizing, communication, math and sales.  I had no idea how much math is involved in being a travel agent. From piecing together custom packages, to calculating taxes on partial flight refunds, to tracking commissions and dealing with multiple currency exchanges from around the world.  Math is a huge part of the job!

It’s also beneficial if you are well-traveled (or working on it) – People now a days can book online, but many choose not to as they want personal, hands on experience that Google can’t give them.  The more hands-on experience you have, the more you can offer your clients.

Shari Tucker Travel and Adventures

BIO:

Living and working as a digital nomad for nearly three years, Shari has had amazing experiences from hot air ballooning over the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, Turkey to riding the luxury Blue Train from Pretoria to Cape Town, South Africa. From tenting in the Serengeti, over-landing through Tanzania and Botswana, to swimming with Sea Lions in the Galapagos Islands and seeing Machu Picchu at sunrise.

Shari’s amazing, embarrassing and funny stories from all around the world are sure to inspire and inform your next adventure, big or small. Having explored 40+ countries and counting, there’s no one better to take care of your travel needs than someone who has experienced it first hand! You can visit Shari’s blog at … Shari Tucker Luxury Travel & Adventures.

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Travel Like An Architect

Life As A Travel Consultant #6

Travel Like An Architect

1 – What Motivated You To Become A Travel Consultant?

Both of us have been architects for many years and we were looking for something to enhance our slow season in January and February. We were experienced cruise travelers and wanted to share our passion for cruising with others.  We sincerely believe that cruising is the most safe, convenient and affordable way to see the world.

We call it – Travel Like an Architect™

2 – What Type Of Training Did You Undergo To Become A Consultant?

We both completed online training through the Cruises Inc. virtual office training system. They have a large network of agents with expertise across the nation, who support one another. The home office is in Fort Lauderdale under the World Travel Holdings Consortium.

3 – Why Should People Book Their Travels With A Professional Travel Consultant, Instead Of Booking Online On Their Own?

It may be OK to book online on your own, IF you really know what you’re doing, and what you want; HOWEVER, a travel professional has a lot of added value to offer. Many of them have been to the exact destinations you dream of visiting and can help you make well informed decisions and plan your journey accordingly.

We understand all of the different hospitality components that you will need and the best way to put them together. Travel Agents with specialized expertise like Architects are trained in planning, and whether they are planning a building project or vacation they understand that all of your needs must be met.

They have a deep understanding of how to get inside your head and draw out what you are expecting, so they can match you to the perfect adventure!

4 – Since Becoming A Travel Consultant, What Is The Biggest Change You’ve Noticed In Your Profession In Recent Years?

People are coming back to travel agents because of the time saving aspect, but in a deeper sense because they are seeking advice from someone who has been there and done that. For instance, I would never recommend booking a trip to a place like Egypt on your own. The culture is too different, you really need help from someone who has been there and understands Egyptian culture.

People who see value in using an expert are nice to work with, because they listen and read what you send them. They really take the time to understand the expertise you are offering. Doing a good job of trip planning takes a lot of time. Making the right choices is very important!

5 – What Do You Like Most About Your Job?

I love when people somewhat know what they want, but are having trouble making the final decision between a few options. I can help them evaluate and compare which brand or experience will be better suited to their personality, likes dislikes, and even the demographic of others they will find there.

We specialize in understanding the demographic of all the different cruise brands, so that we can match people up with an experience where they will find other like minded travelers.

You know I would NEVER send a family with small children on a 5 Night Spring Break Carnival Cruise to Mexico from Los Angeles. It is a booze cruise full of college kids. If you are a college kid – it’s lots of fun. But if you are a family with toddlers, not so much…

6 – What Do You Find The Most Frustrating Aspect Of Your Job?

It’s not as much fun to help people that just want the cheapest thing-not the best value. We all know that you get what you pay for all day long. When it comes to travel, paying a little more can get you a much deeper & more meaningful experience.

You are buying memories. Do you want cheap memories or better memories? I want AMAZING memories… not memories of how I cheaped out, and didn’t purchase the best value I could afford. We know how to fill your days from Sunrise to Sunset with beautiful memories you won’t even regret when the credit card bill arrives.

7 – What Has Been Your Most Memorable Moment Working As A Travel Consultant?

As travel consultants we rely heavily on our personal experience in destinations. When we visit a Destination, it is our goal to get to know the culture and really understand what’s going on there.

My most memorable moment working as a travel consultant to date, was sitting atop a camel flanked by the pyramids of Giza. I always stop and quiet my mind to appreciate the opportunity to be where I am.

Egypt was so different & so real – I became inspired to write a book. Soon “Mom I’m going to Egypt”, a Travel Like an Architect™ guide, will be available for purchase and anyone will be able to read about my most valuable insight to this ancient culture that is alive and well, and safe to visit today.

8 – Where Do You Most Love To Travel To?

I most love to travel to those places where people are afraid to go. I love going to the places where people think it isn’t safe because people are usually wrong. When it comes to tourism there are kind, beautiful, loving guides waiting to serve you in any destination, ready to keep you safe and take care of you while you are with them. If you are afraid – it is your loss.

9 – What Are The Key Ingredients Needed In Order To Become A Successful Travel Consultant In This Competitive Field?

I think it’s very important that you have the ability to listen and get to know your client, and understand who they are. Try to discover why the travel they are seeking is important to them, and which things are most important of all. You have to tune in and pick up on the little things they say, like “I just got divorced” or “My travel companion is really old”, and read between the lines.

Understanding them as a person is the only way you can match them up with an experience that will deeply satisfy their desire. You have to understand that people are willing to pay for exactly the right thing – often, when it exceeds the budget they first gave you.​

The very reason that we specialize in cruising is that there is a Brand and style that fits every personality and budget, all you need is the qualified matchmaker!

Travel Like An Architect Owners

BIO – Rob and Lynn

Lynn Belles is a Traveler who LOVES Architecture and Rob is an Architect who LOVES to Travel! They live from trip to trip in between real Architectural design projects. Cruising is their favorite GetAway. So, as travel consultants, they love to book cruises for others too!

Their devotion to cruising is a great asset for any client, because they have experienced so many brands. 30 cruises down and at least that many to go, the Belles’ are always willing to offer their expertise to you! Need a Cruise Brand Matchmaker? You can visit Rob and Lynn’s blog at … Travel Like An Architect.

Dukling Sailing Hong Kong

There you have it, a closer look at the ins and outs of being a professional travel consultant. There are times that booking certain travel on your own online with reputable travel providers is fine, but in many cases, using a travel consultant has far more advantages then not.

For instance, on our vacation to Australia a few seasons back, we used a travel agent that specialized in Australia travel. As a result, we saved huge on hotels, tours and much more throughout our vacation. We were also given complimentary room upgrades at a few hotels that our agent had booked for us.

 

 

Be sure to check out my contributors blogs listed when you get a moment. Their blogs are filled with great travel inspiration and much more!

Covid -19 Update October 2020:

COVID-19 TRAVEL update

Many concerns have been raised regarding your travel insurance coverage relating to the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s vital that you understand and review the small print on your travel insurance well before travel.

Many airlines, vacation packages, cruises and so on, have recently introduced Covid-19 travel protection. This is great, but as one travel expert recently stated – you still have to be clear on exactly what that coverage includes.

For example, your local government may have a travel advisory in place for your chosen destination warning against all but essential travel. This could very well exclude your coverage.

It’s important to read your policy documents and to call to confirm what is and what is not included. This is where the Benefits of Booking With A Travel Agent is even more important than ever in my personal opinion. These professionals can offer expert advise and opinions and safe bookings for travel and all your insurance needs.

Safe and Healthy Travels! 🙂

signature of author and owner Robert Tellier at https://gr8traveltips.com
 
Did You Know …

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