Let’s talk about how I’m able to actually SAVE you money and still get paid.
Because I do it every day.
It can be accomplished in a few ways. The most obvious is with cruises, so let’s start there.
When a cruise line publishes their schedules, they do it up to 2 full years in advance. It’s all about supply and demand. Since very few people book cruises two years in advance, the cruise line introduces rates that are really low.
Plus, when you book so far in advance, you’re paying a 2019 price for a 2021 cruise. That’s smart! So my company and I, we open sailing groups on darn near every single cruise ship sailing on the day that the rates are published. This locks in the rates for the rest of all eternity, or until the recall date set by the cruise line.
Then, a year later in 2020, when you ARE ready to book a 2021 cruise, your trusty travel agent has rates that are often hundreds lower than current retail. I laid the foundation over a year in advance so that you could save money in the future. Nifty, huh?
How about hotels and rental cars?
This is done through bulk buying power. My agency is large, well established, and more than 40 years old. We buy a lot of inventory.
Sometimes that gets us lower rates than the competition. Very, very rarely do I see rates that BEAT ours, though many major sites match us. Again though, when you book with an independent agent like me, you get a lot more value in customer service at no additional cost to you.
Air is the one place where things are tricky. Airfare just kind of is what it is. Are there cheaper times to fly? Yes. Cheaper days of the week to book? Also yes. Any kind of real predictability in pricing? Not a chance.
I have a great flight price predictor that is very accurate. While there is no such thing (sorry, Expedia) as secret airfare rates, I am very good at finding creative ways to keep your flight costs in check. Most of this is just knowing what is cheap when, and when to book it.
It’s simply years of experience and meticulous tracking.
Now for the fun part... Ever since September 11, 2001, agents can’t be paid commission on airfare sales. That means, if all you need is help with plane tickets, agents are working for free to help you. To combat this, many agents charge a booking fee on the air. For me? It’s just extra paperwork that I don’t have time for. So if all that you need is air, I’ll do a quick, free scan for you, but I will not book for you without a prepaid booking fee. It’s not worth my time or the liability that I incur otherwise.
Because when I work for free, I’m actually losing money.
For my clients booking a hotel or cruise with their air, I waive the airfare fee.
So, as you can see, when it comes to saving you money, there is no real secret. It’s just kind of luck and hard work, right? Well, kind of.
The thing about working with a well-traveled travel agent is that they’ve got street smarts. We’ve been everywhere, so we can send you there with ease, too. Part of how I can find you such great deals is because I know a great deal when I see one.
I am neck deep in “deals” and “offers” all day long. It’s been my life for over two decades. That’s how I know a good deal when I see it, and a crap deal disguised in good marketing when I see it.
I know the cheaper times of year to travel to different destinations, and I know what brands offer sales and when. Am I perfect? No. But my experience helps improve your odds at getting rock bottom prices with alarming accuracy.
So now that we’ve discussed how I get paid, and how I save you money, what’s left? In my next message, we’ll talk a little bit about the true value of a GOOD travel agent.