Over the last few months, information about the Coronavirus has inundated the news non-stop. Every news outlet is reporting on the virus and sounding the alarm. It has been a flurry of phone calls and emails addressing concerns, laying out fact versus fiction to allow travelers to make sound decisions about their upcoming travel plans. Then I wondered about travelers who book directly online with a third-party booking engines or go directly to the cruise lines or tour operators, what do they do? Who’s got their back? Who’s fighting for their investments? With the market dropping and our financial investments at a loss, are you willing to forgo your travel money, too?

This is where an experienced travel advisor with history, knowledge and know-how comes in handy. This is when a travel professionals worth is priceless. During these times, a travel advisor is able to fight the fight and go to bat on your behalf. Why? From years of networking with vendors, managers and owners. After years of developing relationships with hotel managers and regional directors, sending them business year after year, these companies are willing and most gracious to waive cancellation fees and penalties for a travel professional.

Although travel advisors are precious during these uncertain times, they are also important ambassadors for luxury travelers. A good travel advisor is so vital that it is simply foolish to plan a high-end trip on your own without one, they can also help travelers of all budgets. Let’s say you google “Villa Rentals Tuscany” then filter through 4.5 million results. If you spend just 10 seconds on each site, you might have a couple of villa results in a year or two, whether the villa is good or bad, legit or bogus. A straight up airfare is also a struggle online. 3rd party engines slash prices and give some airline fares not all, usually ‘basic economy’ fares that hit you with tons of restrictions and fees. If you do need to make a change or cancel, the airline agent will tell you to go back to where you booked your ticket. 3rd party airline booking engines don’t have contact numbers or emails for the public to use, which leaves you with no other option, but to throw your ticket away and start over.

There are so many reasons you should collaborate with a great travel advisor. First of all, emergencies happen all the time. This is the one most applicable to the average occasional travel.  An experienced travel advisor navigates through the mess and gets results. Travel advisors have direct access to airline GDS (global distribution system) and don’t have to wait on long phone holds to get ticketing changes made. Expertise is another reason to work with a travel advisor. Good travel advisors do not just know what the best hotel is, they know what the best hotel is for you and your budget and can help you find the right fit. They can also save you a lot of money, no matter what style you travel in.

VIP Connections:  With vendors, requests from a travel advisor they have known for years who book a lot of guests and send them a lot of business are top priority. These key connections and relationships work this way in the travel industry, from hard to get dinner reservations to the resort’s best ski instructor to a city’s top art expert as a private museum guide. With a travel advisor you get extras. When you get more than you expected for the same price, that’s a great deal, and with travel advisors this happens all the time. For instance, complimentary daily breakfast, room upgrades, early check-in, late check-out, complimentary airport transfers, spa credits and so on (specifics vary by hotel).

When it comes to air, to buy the cheapest round-trip economy ticket from Syracuse to Florida, even the best advisor probably can’t get it for less than you can online, though you still have to deal with all the pitfalls of the online travel sites and you will lose the safety net advisors provide when things go wrong. But in a couple of other cases, buying your air through an agent can actually save you money, or miles, or both.

In the end you get a better trip!  They know more than you do, they are better connected, they have access to benefits you can’t get yourself, and they can match and often beat any prices you find. They plan a better trip and then provide a safety net. Having a top travel advisor can make you an instant VIP, certainly will save you time and hassle, and quite possibly money.

Travel advisors save 3.5 hours in planning time and over $400 per trip on average. Not only that, but Travel advisors help you avoid booking mistakes and improve your travel experience with perks and insider access. On your next vacation, call Via Mondo Travel. With over 20 years in the industry, Rosemary is more than a travel agent, she’s a travel professional.

Travel well. Travel often. Travel with Via Mondo.