Here are some of the most common questions I get when it comes to my travel planning services, please feel free to email me at ane@strongtravel.com if you have any additional questions or if you’re ready to start planning your next getaway!

Q: What is a Travel Advisor? Is that the same things as a Travel Agent?

A: Yes and no 🙂 Essentially I am a travel agent in the sense that I provide travel planning services (booking flights, hotels, guides, etc), but different from a “travel agent” because I take a consultative approach (rather than a transactional approach) to the trips that I plan.  While I can book just flights or hotels, where I can add the most value to my clients is when planning an entire trip, from the flights, to the hotels, to transfers, restaurant recommendations, guides and activities, etc–especially when focusing on high end travel. The agency I’m affiliated with has an extensive network of premiere travel partners globally, and I’m able to leverage those relationships to create experiences that would be difficult or time intensive to find on your own. 

Q: In a world of 1000 online resources, what benefits does a Travel Advisor offer?

A: A Travel Advisor can help with the following: 

  • Quickly help you narrow down hotel options specifically based on your wishes, saving you time and stress (and 100s of useless online reviews)
  • Can help you secure insider intel and tips for your destination
  • Can VIP you at no extra cost, so you get potential upgrades, free breakfast, food + beverage or spa credits, etc
  • Can help organize all sightseeing & activities with trusted (and vetted) guides
  • Can get you the best pricing (even when comparing with online travel sites) and promos not available to all on the web!

 

Q: What type of clients do you work with?

A: I work with clients from all walks of life! I’ve worked with Grandparents planning a trip for them and their grandchildren, couples going on their honeymoon or celebrating an anniversary, families going on vacation for a couple of weeks, large family reunions, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and group retreats. I typically prefer to work with clients who understand the services I offer and value my expertise, and realize that planning an amazing vacation takes a lot of patience and time/resources, which they may not have.

I prefer to work with clients who want to focus on value rather than cost, although I’m often able to save my clients hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but my expertise is not on low budget trips. I will do my best to provide you with the best options given the budget that you give me. Where I can provide tremendous value is with 4 and 5-star hotels, planning complicated itineraries with multiple stops, planning complex airline routings, trips using guides/drivers or local experts, trips to a destination where you do not already know all the best places to eat and best things to see and do, or any cultural travel, from safaris to ancient ruins. Essentially trips where VIP access would make it better 😉

Q: What is the cost when using a Travel Advisor?

A: This will vary depending on the complexity of the trip. Unlike many agencies, The Hungry Chronicles Travel Services offers a clear pricing structure for all Services. After reviewing your initial needs, I will determine the extent of your travel needs and prepare a high level quote to retain my services. This document will outline possible destinations, timelines, and budget, as discussed.* I strive to offer transparent pricing and to demonstrate a value that is hard to beat. 

If you want to book your own flights and hotels using points (or Air Bnb/VRBO) but want me to help flush out the itinerary and help with activities, sightseeing, and restaurant recommendations I charge a fee for that. I like taking a consultative approach to trip planning so we cover exactly what YOU want, and all fees/prices are discussed up front before anything is booked and ok’d by you. *Oftentimes I’m able to save clients money on hotel bookings when I’m able to include complimentary breakfast, upgrades, and credits (sometimes airport transfers too). I often times have access to special promotions that cannot be found on the web, such as 3rd, 4th, or 5th night free, special packages, and more.

When it comes to booking flights, we charge a $78/person fee ($39 each way), which allows us to monitor the flights booked for any changes that could include schedule changes, delays, or cancellations.  We will jump in and proactively book you or reroute you to try to minimize any disruptions in your travel.  We will also quote the best price for the most direct route.

Q: Why do you charge a planning fee?

A: Like with most professional services (CPAs, Attorneys, Financial Advisors, Architects) the up-front planning fee pays for my time and expertise to tailor the trip specifically to your tastes and budget.  As I’m sure you know, planning a great trip does take time and effort, so the planning fee compensates me for the time (and sometimes stress) that I’m able to take off your plate.  Although I do get some great travel benefits by working in this industry, I do invest a lot of my own money traveling the world to familiarize myself with destinations, meeting with trusted travel partners, taking the time to vet hotels and meet with hotel managers to strengthen relationships, going to luxury travel conferences, etc. Receiving a planning fee or service fee also lets me know that the client is serious about the trip they’re requesting, and it allows me to give them priority over other requests that have not been confirmed.

Q: How are you paid? Is there a fee, commission?

A: I am compensated a few ways: 

  • trip planning fee 
  • commissions paid by hotels, cruise lines, guides, etc.–these are already built into published rates that you can view online. When you book something online and a travel advisor is not involved, the hotel/cruise line/guide will end up pocketing the commission that would have been paid to the travel advisor.
  • ticketing fees for airfare, and occasional commissions for some flight segments (like overseas flights)

 

Q: Do you work on trips of all kinds/lengths? Like a local weekend getaway for 2 as well as a blow out group event?

A: Yep! I do it all.  Here are some examples of the trips I’ve helped clients with:

  • Last minute booking for 2 nights in Marseille for a couple
  • Helped coordinate a block of 20 rooms for a 50th birthday celebration in Cancun (and will be helping to coordinate airport transfers as people arrive, as well as group and individual activities for people to enjoy during the weekend)
  • 3 week European vacation for a family of 6 (Paris, Nice, Venice, Rome, Barcelona)–I helped with flights, hotels, car rental, train transfers, and guides
  • 3 couples on a European river cruise with pre and post stays in other cities in Europe including hotel accommodations, and guided tours
  • 10 day honeymoon to Bora Bora + Moorea
  • 10 day Scotland trip for clients who wanted to self drive, I helped create a custom itinerary based on sights they wanted to see and included the hotel accommodations and car rental
  • Hotel and accommodations plus car rental for 9 guys for an entrepreneurial retreat (2nd year in a row)
  • Honeymoon to the Amalfi Coast
  • 15th anniversary trip to Nicaragua
  • Several weekend Babymoon getaways
  • Family of 4 trip to Scotland with private driver
  • Switzerland trip via train for a client taking his two grandchildren

 

Q: How does payment work? Is it a percentage of total amount spent on trip or is it a flat fee:

A: Not sure if the question relates to commissions or trip planning so I’ll answer both.  For trip planning/itinerary building it’s a flat fee discussed up front when we talk about your trip needs/wishes and is based on the complexity of the trip and the amount of time I will be spending on building your itinerary.  Commissions from travel partners to the travel advisor are typically paid after the client travels (even if it is 6 months or a year from now), and are a % of the booking and typically vary within an industry range.  When it comes to payments for travel, I prefer to take your payment and apply it to the travel partner directly (rather than charging you then sending payment to the travel partner), and I will always try to break everything down so you know exactly what you are paying for.  Travel planning fees are requested up front prior to starting to build an itinerary and price things out.

Q: Can you help plan trips for people who require wheelchair accessibility/special needs?

A: Absolutely.  I am able to get my clients booked into accessible rooms and can notify staff of any special needs or requests, and can help hire people to take care of any needs while on the trip.

Here are some additional articles that talk about the benefits of using a travel advisor when booking travel:

Millenials Are Relying On Travel Agents in Record Numbers | Travel and Leisure

Forbes Why You Need a Travel Agent, Part 1 } Forbes

How Travel Agencies Avoided Extinction And Became A Luxury Service | Vox

How A Travel Agent Works | Huff Post Life 

In Travel, You Get What You Pay For | Travel Weekly 

Are We Witnessing The Return Of The Travel Agent? | Vogue 

 

 


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