What I have learned as an travel agent vs consumer.
I have worked in the travel industry via the airlines for several years. I thought I knew everything about booking trips because I had done it for friends and family members, but boy was I wrong! I will list some of the things I have learned since being an agent.
AI vs EP If you see AI or EP next to a resort it is referring to what they offer.
AI = All Inclusive: All Inclusive varies at each resort. The most basic all-inclusive will include your meals, drinks (Liquor, wine, etc.), nightly entertainment and non-motorized sports. Depending on the resort, an all-inclusive can include spa treatments, concierge and/or butler service, golf, demo classes and much more.
EP = European Plan: European plan does not include anything. There are some resorts or hotel that will include breakfast, or lunch, but most do not include anything.
Best time to purchase flights between 12am -6am.
Remember the travel industry just like any other industry, everything is based off supply and demand. Think about it, who is really up between the hours of 12am and 6am booking flights? Not many.
Also, best time to travel is Tuesday and Wednesday and returning on Monday. Sundays always cost more.
The major airlines like Delta, American, Jet Blue, United do not travel everywhere. Most major airlines have partners to get you to areas where they don’t travel.
Major hotels also have boutique hotels.Here in America we are used to big corporation hotels such as Marriott, Hilton, Intercontential Hotel and quick to turn away from hotels we are not familiar with.
Boutique hotels are smaller scale hotels. Instead of having 300+ rooms. A boutique Hotel can have 10 to 150 rooms.
Some of the well-known hotels have boutique hotels under their chain, but since people are not familiar with them they tend to not book them.
Marriott & SPG Boutique or Smaller Scale Hotels (Edition, The Luxury Collection, Delta Hotels, Le Meridien, Autograph Collections, Design Hotels, Tribute, Protea Hotels, Moxy)
Hilton (Conrad, Canopy, Curio, Tapestry, Tru, Home2 Suites)
IHG (Even Hotels, Hotel Indigo, Kimpton Hotels)
There are companies that will only work with travel agents.
This one really blew my mind. I thought I knew a lot about booking trips before I became a travel agent, but I was wrong. There are so many travel companies in the world its mind blowing. I will not list the companies that only work with agents, but I will say they have amazing deals. These companies work with top corporation to bring the best deals. A lot of companies have special programs and rewards for the consumer if your agent books your trip through them.
Travel Conference and Conventions
There are multiple big name corporations that host conferencse and conventions every year that are specifically for travel agents. These conventions and conferences help agents build their business, give them the first glance at new technology, new properties, activities and programs that will be rolled out in the coming year.
Conferences and conventions allow agents to build direct relationships with the BDM (Business Development Manager) for companies. BDM’s keep you in the loop of what is going on with the company, offers, and promos code for deals before they are released to the consumer. Also, some promo and deals that are not release to the consumer.
The difference between travel protection and travel insurance.
Travel protection provide limited coverage up to a certain price point. It will cover delayed baggage, cancellation for listed reason provided by the company, some will offer cover for medical expenses. If you cancel you will receive a travel voucher verses your money back, but this solely depends on the company’s policy.
Travel Insurance provide total coverage for your trip. Cancel for any reason. Covers trip interruption, travel delay, rental car damage, change fees, accident and sickness medical expenses, medical evacuation and/or repatriation, baggage and personal effects, delayed baggage and much more. Also travel insurance will refund your money in the original form of payment.
With either option you may have to file a insurance claim just like you would for any other insurance.
The difference between room category.
Garden View can be a room facing inwards towards the lobby, and/or trees and flowers.
Ocean View can be a room with an obstructed or full view of the ocean, but this does not mean you will be on the ocean.
Ocean Front will be a room directly facing the ocean and/or steps from the beach area.
Swim Up will be a room with private pool access right outside of your patio door. Or, pool that is access by lower level rooms only.
Club Level will give you access to private area with extra amenities and services. Your rooms will be the same as listed above but you will have special privileges and access to private areas of the resort or hotel.
There are resorts that cater to a certain demographic
Family friendly Resort are cater specially for families. They develop programs and activities to accommodate all generations. The atmosphere is fun and adventurous, but parents there are areas specifically for you all to relax as well.
Adult- Only Resorts: Depending on the resort the age limit can range from 18 and up or 21 and up. There are no children allowed on property depending on the resort’s policy. There are some family friendly resorts that have an adult only area and can be booked separately from the family friendly side.
Erotic Resort are resort for people who like to experiment sexually or like to be nude. Some of these resorts have areas specifically for “fun activities”.
Health and Wellness Resorts are centered on the well-being of the client. Cultural spa treatments, yoga and other exercise classes, healthy food options, and much more.
Party Resorts are centered on having a good time from beginning to end. Some of these resorts have concert series, multiple clubs on sites and even casinos depending on the resort.
Cruise Lines promotions
Cruise lines offer multiple promotion at one time. I did not know this until I started booking cruises. At any time there could be 3 to 4 promotion running for a cruise line. Each promotion can offer different discounts. Not all cruises lines do this, but there are several companies that do.
I stressed this as a consumer and I stress it as an agent, SIGN UP FOR THE REWARD PROGRAMS. There are perks for loyal customers. Special promo codes, free nights, free drinks and meals. I learned that the more you stay, cruise, and/or fly the more perks come. There are so many people who do not sign up for these programs and leave money and experiences left on the table. All you have to do is sign up and when you are booking your trip provide your member number and you will accumulate points. SIMPLE
EX: I have been a priority club member for years with IHG. I checked in my hotel recently and seen a sign with my name on it. I was the member of the day. I received a room upgrade as well as a snack basket at no additional cost. It pays to be a member.