I came across this great article in The New York Times recently entitled "Luxury for Less: The Travel Advisor Gambit" by Michelle Higgins who's the author of The Fix column. Michelle learned first hand that booking through a Travel Advisor earned her extra perks and benefits at no extra cost vs. paying the hundreds of dollars that they were worth.
This is just so true for so many reasons! I love it when I actually see it in print by a well-known publication.
Michelle ended up booking a stay at a resort in Sedona, Arizona with her daughter. First, they ended up being upgraded with their accommodation. Then, and I quote “The complimentary daily breakfast could be taken in the room or at the hotel restaurant. And moments after a bellhop whisked us to our spacious suite in a golf cart, a room service attendant arrived with a fruit and cheese platter and a personalized welcome note.”
She went on to say, “The V.I.P. treatment hadn’t come at extra cost or because they thought we were someone special. (I don’t disclose my New York Times affiliation). I had simply booked the hotel the old-fashioned way — through a travel agent."
Also, she had this to say and it was music to my ears... “To save money and enhance the quality of your trip at no cost to you, look for an adviser from a large consortium like American Express, Signature Travel Network or Virtuoso. Because of longstanding partnerships with travel companies and the sheer volume of bookings these groups generate for hotel, airline and cruise partners, they are able to negotiate special rates and perks on behalf of their clients, from free cocktails and room upgrades upon arrival to spa treatments and late checkouts.” Signature Travel Network is the one I use and this is all so true!
Of course, other reasons to utilize a Travel Advisor include those issues I've discussed in the past including less hassle for the traveler when planning a vacation and lowering the risk of getting scammed online like I heard of recently from friends of ours who had this happen to their kids. Even cruise lines will give special perks to Travel Advisors' clients including extra shipboard credits or upgrades and it doesn't cost any more to book through an Advisor - so why not consider it next time you decide to plan a vacation?!
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