Renewed value in travel agencies
Marketers commonly talk about cutting edge products and services by saying “this is not your daddy’s [old-fashioned thing]” but Robin Barfield is happy to say this is not the case with travel agencies. Barfield says professional travel agents have always maintained all the value and service they ever had and have consistently folded in new technology and tools to make one-stop shopping the way to go for a great experience.
“Thanks to automation and the Internet, so many things are self-serve these days, but navigating all the options for global travel takes a lot of time,” Barfield says. “As a travel agent, I have opportunities available to me to travel myself so have a lot of first-hand experience. I get to know *you* and what you like to do so I can advise you in ways that Yelp can’t.”
Barfield owns Cruise Planners, an American Express franchise. “Cruise is in the name but I plan everything from glamping in Scotland to spelunking in New Zealand. A lot of people ask me why I am taking advantage of the opportunity because everything is so self-serve these days. But navigating all the options available today takes a lot of time. And you never really know if you’re getting the right fit for what you want but you don’t have that first-hand information.”
Among the benefits of using an agent is the opportunities they have for personal travel discounts so they can see the world for you and bring their expertise home to clients. “I can save you the hours of scouring websites for the best fares and costs for this and that, and just build you a package that suits your needs from departure to home again.”
Barfield never charges her clients a fee but gets commission from suppliers and vendors, so it is in everyone’s best interest to create a top-rate experience to keep happy clients coming back.
Cruise Planners also has a fare watcher application that will pass along savings whenever rates drop.
Barfield says case studies are a great way to highlight the value of agencies. “If you have some money and want an adventure, I can help you find excitement in the unfamiliar. You might think Yellowstone, but I might suggest Bali, and arrange zipline tours and bathing elephants on a preserve. That is a trip of a lifetime and I will be able to find the best prices, from the car that picks you up from the airport to the tour operators and landmark guides. I have a lot of satisfied clients—millennials to mature travelers.”
So, when you’re ready for adventure on the ponderosa, or to be pampered in Milan, let a professional design a perfect and safe experience that you will feel comfortable paying for and you’ll know there is someone at home on the job while you are there. Visit ChangesInLatitudesVacations.com to get started on your bucket list.