After more than a year of lockdowns, restrictions and general unease, Americans are eager to get back to traveling “with a vengeance.” While the experts at The Travel Institute are excited to see the world reopen, they advise using a certified travel agent with education and credentials to make all the necessary arrangements.
The Travel Institute — which has been educating and certifying travel agents since 1964 — employed its decades of experience and expertise to craft a list of seven reasons to use a certified professional travel agent to book your dream vacation.
“Taking some basic training and saying, ‘I’m a travel agent’ is very different from achieving and maintaining the level of education you need to do the job well,” said Diane Petras, CTIE, president of The Travel Institute. “Our goal is to help consumers understand that critical distinction and to enable them to choose an educated, skilled agent from our program to maximize the return on their travel investment.”
Petras cites the top reasons to use a certified travel agent:
- Expertise: Experienced travel agents know the market and can match you with a better product than you can find by searching the internet. They’ve been there, done that, and can often speak to the experience from firsthand knowledge. An agent certified by The Travel Institute is a highly qualified professional who can guide you though multiple options, handle the complex reservation process and free you to focus on the fun.
- Advocate: Miss a flight, train or a cruise ship? Hotel lost your reservation? If something goes wrong before or during your trip, your certified travel agent will work hard to get your vacation back on track.
- Resources & Relationships: Certified travel agents have a variety of tools and contacts that consumers can’t access or don’t know about. Often, they can get you a better airplane seat, added amenities at hotels, room upgrades, event tickets and access to special activities. Need to know if vaccines or visas are needed for your destination? Ask your certified travel agent — they’ll know.
- Convenience: Your time is valuable, so let a certified travel agent work with you to research and plan your dream vacation. A certified agent can help you define what you want to get out of your travels and present options that fulfill or exceed your desires. They can book everything for you, from hotel and air to spa appointments and dining.
- Save Money, Add Value: A certified travel agent can often save you money even if they charge a fee, due to their exclusive relationships and in-depth knowledge of suppliers, which also saves you time and effort. And there are a lot of value-adds that most consumers don’t even know about that a certified agent can bring to your travel planning.
- Better Destinations: Certified travel agents have inside information on the best times to visit different locations depending on the season, special events or even weather. They sometimes even know what the next “it” destinations are going to be before they become overcrowded. Get there first — use a certified agent.
- Exclusive Access: Some travel experiences — exotic tours, off-the-beaten-path treks and private jet products, among others — often are only available through a professional. If you’re looking to add some exclusivity to your travels, a certified travel agent can open doors unavailable to consumers.
The Gold Standard of Agent Training
For over 50 years, The Travel Institute has trained and certified thousands of travel agents to the highest educational standards in the travel industry. The Travel Institute’s continuing education and professional development programs ensure that when you select a certified agent, they will be equipped with the latest tools and information to help you make informed travel decisions.
“A trained, experienced travel agent can take the guesswork and stress out of vacation planning, optimizing both the experience and the expense for travelers,” said Petras. “Our Certified Travel Agent Directory can help you find, qualify and contact a program graduate, whether you’re looking for a Disney specialist, a cruise expert or a general practitioner with local or global knowledge.
“People ask, Why use a certified travel agent?” Petras added, “but I think the better question is, Why would you not?”
INTERVIEWS: Diane Petras, president of The Travel Institute, is available to be interviewed about the importance of using a certified travel agent via computer, phone or email. Contact Buck Banks or Julie Ellis for details.
EDITORS NOTE: Additional assets including a bio and headshot of Diane Petras and an infographic detailing the Seven Reasons to Use a Certified Travel Agent are available for download here: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/7cf18WmxVb
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About The Travel Institute
Created in 1964, The Travel Institute fulfills its role as the global leader in travel industry education and certification by staying true to its mission: Dedicated solely to advancing the professionalism of both agents and industry leaders in support of individual and industry success. A nonprofit, independent organization, The Travel Institute creates and delivers relevant and rigorous coursework to ensure its graduates earn credentials that demonstrate the highest standards of expertise and service, The Travel Institute has certified more than 26,000 graduates and also administers the Travel Agent Proficiency, or TAP, exam to confirm students new to the industry have mastered the basics. A trusted partner to industry suppliers and educational institutions, The Travel Institute has trained hundreds of thousands through additional courses, webinars and in its online Premium Member Lounge. Learn more at The Travel Institute.