Wow, what a year 2020 had been! Who would have ever predicted that no cruises would happen for a solid year, and the beginning of 2021 would still see us waiting for good news from Disneyland? It truly has been, dare I say it, unprecedented. Hopefully with vaccines starting to roll out now and into 2021, we can see the light at the end of this terribly, terribly long, dark tunnel. Next year will surely be better for travel, right?!? And I think I can speak for all travel agents when I say, we are ready for it!
Using a travel agent has always been a good idea, but during these unusual times, it may be more important than ever. There are some great ones out there, and it’s worth your time to find them. Here are 10 reasons why!
1. We Were There for Our Clients When the World Shut Down – If you had a trip booked in 2020 without a travel agent, you may need no further convincing. When the unbelievable happened, hold times were hours long as even the suppliers were trying to figure out how to handle it. Was Disney really closing? How about the non-refundable tickets we purchased? Were Alaska cruises happening? Travel agents spent those hours on the phones for our clients. We were the ones fighting for our clients to make sure that our clients were taken care of, and in some cases, we were the ones behind some of the policy changes when the old ones didn’t make sense.
2. It’s Literally Our Job to Keep Up with Travel Restrictions – Travel restrictions are still changing, almost daily. If you are ready to travel, we can help you figure out what you need to do before, during, and after. What kind of masks are acceptable? We can tell you. Do I need a COVID-19 test to visit Aulani? You do, and we can tell you what kind and when. Is there somewhere on Disney property to get a test before I leave for home so I won’t have to quarantine when I get back? There is, and we can give you the details on that. We are in the know because we need to be, and we work to make sure we stay that way.
3. We Can Help You Make Decisions – Some planning decisions aren’t as easy as they once were. Should you pay for your Disney Cruise in full even though it may not happen? There are definitely reasons why you might want to, and we can help you think through whether it’s best for your situation. Should you risk buying flights? We understand the ever-changing airline policies and can help advise you on those as well. Does all travel insurance cover a pandemic? It most certainly does not, and we can help you find the best one for you. You’ve got questions, we know that. We’ve got answers.
4. We’ve Experienced What We Can – Some of us have been able to travel safely to experience the safety precautions that are currently in place. We’ve taken those experiences, learned from them, and shared with our colleagues who can’t travel yet. We can tell you what Disney World is really like right now. We expect to be some of the first guests onboard cruise lines as soon as it is safe to do so, and we will share our experiences with our clients. Not only do our travels keep us informed, we are constantly training and researching. We’ve probably attended more webinars and training sessions during this time than ever before. We never stop learning. We’re not guessing when we answer your questions. We’ve done it, or when it isn’t possible, we’ve researched or been taught about it.
5. We Know People – We have built up relationships with vacation suppliers. We know where to go and who to talk to when we need to get things done. There’s a reason that the suppliers are spending so much time training us right now. They know we are taking everything we can in for our clients so we can all get back out there as soon as safely possible.
6. We Personalize Service – You aren’t just a name and credit card to us. We get to know you and ask you questions and help you make the best decision for you. That decision may be to wait to go to Disney until your family is ready. And that’s okay! Our job isn’t to push anyone to travel before they’re comfortable. Or job is to answer questions and help you decide when you are ready.
7. We Can Save You Time – We give you the gift of time. No need to spend hours researching (unless you want to of course); we’ve done it for you. Don’t worry about spending hours on hold with Disney if your cruise cancels. We do it for you! Has your Disney resort delayed opening again? We’ll take care of it. Dining reservations at Disney? You don’t need to get up at 6 a.m. to do it. That’s what we’re here for. If and when FastPasses come back, we’re here to help.
8. We May Save You Money – We may have access to some deals that you can’t get when you’re booking direct. If you’re cruising, we often have onboard credits to help you out with a little spending money onboard. We sometimes have group rates for travel, and special offers that some suppliers only offer to travel agents. When there are multiple specials out for a destination, we’ll check them all to see what’s best for you.
9. We Are Your Way to Support Small Businesses/Shop Local – The vast majority of Disney-focused travel agencies that are out there are the very definition of small businesses, and the travel industry is one of many which was just decimated by 2020. There is probably a great agent near you if you are looking for a local agency or agent!
10. We Are Free to You – Many travel agencies don’t charge you extra for their services. It’s the exact same price to book through them or book direct. When you book through them, the vacation supplier that pays us out of their profits. Suppliers recognize the value travel agents bring, and they are willing to do that.
You may not be ready to travel again yet, and we understand that. But when you are, we’re here. Waiting for you, and ready to plan your dream vacation!
Tammy Whiting is the owner of Storybook Destinations. Did you know Storybook Destinations offers a complimentary subscription to TouringPlans with qualified Disney and Universal bookings? Click here for a no-obligation quote on your next vacation!