“You mean they still have travel agents?”

“You mean they still have travel agents?”

“You mean they still have travel agents?”

When a stranger asks you what you do for a living and you explain that you are a travel agent or travel advisor, do you ever hear: “Really? They still exist?” Or: “Wow. I thought travel agents weren’t necessary anymore because of the Internet.”

This makes by blood boil. You bet we exist. And you bet we are thriving – even more so.

So without having to go into a long speech, there are a couple of quick ways to deal with this. Try any one – or a combination – of these replies:

  • “Actually, we’re busier now more than ever. There’s a ton of information on the Internet, it can be overwhelming. I can sort through all that for you.”
  • “I’m not a booking engine. I’m a human. And I’ve got your back in case anything goes wrong.”
  • “Not only do we still exist – I’m super busy! I’m able to get my clients upgrades and other goodies because of my agency’s buying power – stuff they’d never get by booking online.”
  • “Sure the Internet is great for research. But it can be biased, badly researched or simply false. I’m here to use personal experience and expertise to drill through all that. And hey, would you turn to the guy sitting next to you on a bus and ask for a recommendation for a good restaurant?”

And this is even before you’ve gotten to the point of explaining any consumer protection they’ll enjoy when they book with you.

Happy booking!

Lynda Sinclair, CTM, is the Senior Vice-President – Leisure at Vision Travel Solutions, which has an ever-expanding and vibrant program for independent agents. With over 30 years in the Canadian retail travel industry, Lynda says she “lives and breathes what goes on at the front line.” She can be reached at lynda.sinclair@visiontravel.ca.