How can a travel advisor help you get a better holiday but not actually cost you extra?
We all know that a savvy traveler books everything themselves online and through apps. Don’t they? It feels like the internet was designed for travelers wanting to save money with a myriad of ways to search and make bookings directly. What if I told you you’re missing out on something?
The smart way to travel well is to use a travel advisor. This isn’t just a new, fancy name for the travel agent your parents used to use. Travel advisors do a whole lot more than before, so I’m going to tell you:
- What a travel advisor does
- When to use a travel advisor
- The three key benefits of using a travel advisor
- The travel advisor I recommend
- My experience using a travel advisor to book a staycation in Hong Kong
What does a travel advisor do?
A travel advisor isn’t just there to book you a flight, a hotel transfer, and a room anymore. A travel advisor is there to get you the best deal on everything you want out of your trip.
You can go to a travel advisor with just a dream of a destination or a well-planned itinerary in need of some flesh. Whatever stage you’re at with planning your trip, a trip advisor is going to round things off.
When you’re looking for a month-long journey across three countries, you’ll get the security that all your connections will be taken care of and what you need will be waiting for you on arrival. Want a quick weekend getaway? They’ll book you perfectly timed flights and get you a private guide for the museum you want to visit.
Plus, you get their insider knowledge. Travel advisors should know what’s happening in the places they book for you. For example, a trip advisor will be able to tell you:
- The best restaurant and how to get a reservation
- The cool new boutique hotel and which side to request a room on
- Which is the party beach and which is the chillout spot
- Hidden temples and cute nature spots and the guides that can get you there
- The hottest bars and coolest cafes for you to hang out in
Letting you in on their secrets is all in a day’s work.
Are you thinking this all sounds super expensive? The cost is the standard concern for anyone thinking of having someone to book for them, but it’s generally not any more expensive than you’d pay to book it yourself. Think of all the hours on TripAdvisor and Booking.com that you won’t have to go through, and suddenly the value of a travel advisor shoots up.
Why do I need a travel advisor?
Honestly, if you need an economy flight to hop over to Singapore to visit your bestie, a travel advisor may not beat the internet. Similarly, if you’ve got your Easter break routine down pat and you’re on first name terms with the owner of the hotel you visit every year, there may not be much a travel advisor can add.
The value of a travel advisor comes when you want something and someplace new. First, they’ll get you good flights. We all know how stressful a short connection can be, but your advisor can usually organize an agent in the airport to meet you after deplaning and whisk you over to your departure. Even better, they can scour your options to find a reasonable wait time and even a surprise layover experience.
Next, you’ll get a gem of a hotel. Looking for an Instagram-worthy boutique hotel? A secluded villa with an infinity pool? A quirky city center stay? Whatever your needs, your advisor will have the contacts to get what you want at the best price too. Because trip advisors book so many rooms, they tend to get trade rates.
Then, it’s all about the experience. Your travel advisor will take time to get to know what you’re interested in and match your holiday to your loves. Foodies will get great restaurants; nature lovers will get trips to the secret sunset spots. This is where the value of a travel advisor really comes alive because they know where you’re going and can save you hours of research.
What are the three key benefits of using a travel advisor?
Everything gets a whole lot easier, and there’s not usually an extra cost. That’s great news and should have you considering travel advisors right now. But wait, because there’s more.
Travel advisors are loyal clients of hotels and airlines, even if you’re not. They might be able to swing a class bump on a flight and can usually negotiate a room upgrade. Travel advisors build personal relationships with people, which means their clients can get better deals.
2. Added extras
With some travel advisor companies, they’re that well-regarded by the hotels, restaurants, and tour companies, that they can secure you extras simply by booking through them. This might mean complimentary breakfasts throughout your stay, private hotel transfers, or spa vouchers. You pay nothing more for these things, so there’s clearly value to be had.
3. Emergency assistance
Ever had a flight canceled? It’s an absolute pain, and waiting in line at the airline desk in the airport is a fresh hell you don’t want to go through. Your travel advisor will have a direct contact at the airline and will be able to rebook you with one call, leaving the other passengers for dust. If your trip is affected by a natural disaster, they’re a phone call away to get you moved or get you home early.
How do I know which travel advisor to use?
To be honest, previously, I wasn’t sure that a travel advisor could offer so many benefits and not actually cause the cost of a trip to increase. Still, after talking extensively with Cath Worthington from 360 Private Travel, I had to admit my entire attitude changed.
360 Private Travel is UK-based with satellite offices in HK, Singapore, and the USA. 360 is the preferred partner for many hotel groups, including Rosewood, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and Rocco Forte. You can expect to see some great deals for these hotel groups.
360 is actually part of the Virtuoso Network, one of the biggest travel advisor networks in the world. They work across the whole world so whenever you wish to wander away from the wonderfully hectic Hong Kong, they can design the trip you are dreaming of. Make use of this network for early check-ins, late check-outs, spa credits, vouchers, free transfers, and plenty more.
My experience using a travel advisor to book a staycation in Hong Kong
I tried Cath out for a staycation here in Hong Kong. Cath was able to match the lowest rate I found on the internet, but here’s where the benefits came in. The cheapest rate I found on the internet didn’t include breakfast, but Cath was able to get breakfast for two included, a room upgrade, and US$100 F&B credit to use at the hotel during our stay. Amazing!
When you consider the perks, how much time you save, and the transfer of knowledge, we believe a travel advisor is definitely the savvy way to book your next trip.
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