I’m happy to say that the last few weeks, I have been getting more and more leads. Despite what I stated last month, about my fear of losing consumers to the internet, there are still clients out there that really do want that personal touch that travel agents can provide.
I’m finding that the reason that most people book vacations on their own is because of the trust factor. Most often, we are doing business with people we don’t know. USA Today once published warning signs for consumers to be aware of less-than-reputable travel agents. Two of the suggestions resonated with me and re-affirmed the way I do business.
No one has ever heard of them
It’s 2016. If a company doesn’t have a website, that’s a huge red flag. Likewise, if there’s nothing written about a provider online (like reviews—good or bad), you should think twice about using them. In this digital age, you should be able to find some information about a provider on the Web. If you can’t, go with a provider who has a Web presence instead. Of course, there are always exceptions. Perhaps the provider in question is a small tour operator or Travel Agency in a developing country. In that case, treat the lack of an online presence as a potential red flag, and then check if it fits with any of the other signs on this list.
They don’t accept credit cards
If you’re unsure about a travel provider, booking with your credit card gives you a lot of protection. Some credit cards will not hold you responsible for charges if an unscrupulous travel company scams you. Plus, most credit cards offer some kind of insurance (especially for rental cars) when you book travel through them. So if a company only accepts cash upfront, money orders, or wire transfers, you should be wary. Of course, if you are booking a day trip in person at a storefront in a foreign country, they may not accept credit cards, but that’s not as much of a warning sign as when a provider asks you to send a check or money order well in advance of your travels.
I have made sure that I have a web presence and am known. Most of my clients and leads have been by way of a referral. Word of mouth can be very advantageous! Recommendations from family and friends may be the best approach in finding a trustworthy travel agent! And credit cards is a given for any legitimate agency. Granted, we may not actually process them and pass them through to the travel supplier, but the protections are there for the consumer.
Monique Gramby is a Romance Travel and Cruise Expert with White Sand Travel in the Atlanta market. Her passion for people and planning led to a career in helping people make their travel dreams into realities. You can learn more about White Sand Travel and Monique www.whitesandtravel.net