Picking the Right Travel Consultant Check List

Aug 3, 2015 by

Picking the Right Travel Consultant Check List

By Heather Cassell

Need help planning your vacation? A good travel consultant can give you a peace of mind and a vacation to remember. Here are some tips on how to select your travel consultant and how to use a travel consultant:

  • Do you have an agent that specializes in your destination (Argentina, Costa Rica, Europe, Hawaii, Israel, New York, Thailand, etc.) and/or community (i.e. Black, Latina, LGBT, solo travel, women’s travel, destination bachelorette parties, destination wedding, etc.)
  • Have you obtained your CTA from The Travel Institute as a Certified Travel Associate or alternative certification program? (There is a caveat, not all good agents actually have a CTA and some bad agents do have a CTA.)
  • Ask if the agency or travel counselor is registered in accordance with the California Sellers of Travel Act and the Travel Consumer Restitution Fund (this is for California travel counselors and residents only).
  • Observe how attentive and responsive the travel counselor is to your needs for your travel plans
  • How pleasant is your travel counselor to work with?
  • Observe if your travel counselor is looking for and advocating for the right price for you.
  • Is your travel counselor consistently steering you toward the same supplier or giving you a selection of suppliers to consider? (Pssst. It’s your travel counselor’s job to help you find the best place to stay for the best price.)
  • Don’t be scared to ask about travel counselor fees, how much they are, how they are applied to your vacation, and when you pay them.
  • Do you own a business? Consider opening a corporate/business account with an agency (airlines pay commissions and agency fees might be waived), so ask if they offer a corporate/business account.

Get the Most Out of Your Travel Consultant

  • Do some light research on your own so you have some understanding of what your travel counselor is doing or not doing for you or you might find some deals that your counselor might not be aware of.
  • Have preferred hotels, airlines, or other travel services you book with but know they pay commission, let your travel counselor book it for you. They might drop their fee(s) or go an extra mile for you when you really need them.
  • If you use one travel counselor regularly, consider using different counselor for different trips where they aren’t experts in the destination.
  • Be aware of low-priced suppliers that your travel counselor or you haven’t heard of before, it might be a scam.
  • Pay by credit card. If you have a problem you can protest it with your credit card company. (California residents are protected by the California Sellers of Travel Act and the Travel Consumer Restitution Fund).

(Created using Bay Area’s Consumer Checkbook suggestions.)