I must have talked with thousands of people over my 27 year career, and these two questions keep popping up.
1. How do Travel Agents get paid? I cannot speak for all agencies, but let me tell you how Freedom Travel gets paid. We have two types of services, Package Trips and Custom Travel.
Package Trips. All-inclusive resorts and cruises are the best examples, and with these we are paid commission by the cruise lines, or resorts. The cost is the same if you book the trip or if Freedom Travel books the trip for you. However the advantage to you is that you make one simple phone call and we take care of everything else.
Custom Travel is our specialty. In this case, we create and design a unique trip, based the travel style of you and your family or group. For example, you may call and want to celebrate an anniversary–destination, perhaps Italy–you can travel spend between 10-12 nights–your interests are food, history, wine and art–your “must see” is the Vatican. In a phone consultation I find out that you are morning people and want to get up and go, rather than sleep in. You are active and enjoy walking, hiking and bike riding. You have both been to Italy before and want to include some more remote destinations. As we are Travel Architects, we begin building this trip one service at a time until we have a complete package to include administrative and service fees. Because of our international relationships, and our wholesale pricing, we are able to provide a one-of-a-kind experience that fits nicely within your budget.
2. What are the advantages of using Freedom Travel when I enjoy planning my own trips. There are many advantages, let me give you the top 4 reasons.
Experienced Professional: During this process you have a full-time professional at your fingertips to assist in the planning process. All too often, a client will book a flight that may be the cheapest one, but has a lousy schedule (like a 30 hr layover or a 1 hr layover–just as bad). Another common planning consideration is the number of nights in destinations, and the loss of time during the travel time from one to the other–two nights is NOT two days. Talking through each day and each event with a professional, who has seen waaayyyy too many snafu’s, can give the traveler insight to obscure obsticles and offer other (and sometimes better) solutions. It is never our intention to talk the traveler out of their dream holiday, but to assist in making the dream holiday a reality.
Unique Experiences: Over the many years, we have developed relationships with private drivers, guides and suppliers of unique services around the world. Statistics show, and we know from our own research, that most people are now seeking a unique experience–that is smaller groups, more independent travel, increased connection with locals, and added off-the-beaten track moments. Regardless of what your special interests are, we can enhance them. A few examples: run a marathon in Portugal, drive a Lamborghini, hunt for truffles, experience deep-sea fishing in Cuba or fly fishing in Norway, swim with the whales, prepare Sunday dinner for an Italian restaurant, have tea with a Bedouin family in Morocco. We open doors.
Logistics: Planning a trip is one thing. You dream big, find great destinations, tours, and flights–that is the fun part. Now comes the heavy lifting, connecting all the moving pieces. Start by booking accommodations, making sure that the arrival and departure dates agree, finding the location on the map (because sometimes they are not where they are supposed to be) collecting reliable contact details, ensuring proper bed arrangements, no elevator?! Yikes! No breakfast? What, no AC? All these small details need to be addressed for each service. Once that is done we need to connect the services. For example, an airport transfer must align with the flight details–so we check and double check, because flights change. Years of experience combined with validated policies and procedures ensure a seamless trip.
24/7 Emergency Assistance: Your trip has been designed, booked and paid, all the logistics have been run, everything is in place, you have travel documents in hand and you are off. What could possibly go wrong? There are so many things unforseen, like missed or delayed flight, lost luggage, stolen money, lost passport, a trip and fall, family crisis back home, incident with the hotel, weather event, cash or valuables left in hotel safe, missed train–these are just a few real situations that come to mind. What do you do, who do you call, who in the world can help? Most of the time the hazard has a domino effect. For example, a delayed flight impacts, your airport transfer, your hotel check-in (if you are a no-show your room will be lost) and possibly a scheduled tour. Without someone to help you would be left stranded. Freedom Travel truly is 24/7 non-stop friend in need.