So, here is my job as a travel agent explained in a few words. My apologies if I get a little bit too passionate and into the topic a little too deep, but there were a few experiences this week which weren’t as great as others and I would like to share this with you.
Just yesterday I shared this post on my Facebook timeline about a boat company (which operates speed boat tours from Bali to the Gili Islands and Lombok).
So my post was this:
“Ok Bali peeps. Who ever travels to the Gilis & Lombok Marina Srikandi is bankrupt cause they lost a customer’s bags incl. Passport & Laptop in the middle of the ocean (not to mention the explosions of the engines).
They are now rebranding and will be called Putri Island. So be aware if you book stuff by yourself, don’t cry afterwards. If you need tickets to the Gilis & Lombok with a reliable and safe company, I’ve got them at hand.
Happy travelling. 🙏🎄🤶”
Then there is this super smart guy rocking up on my time line, having a go at me that I am ‘trash talking other businesses’ in order to promote mine. He deleted his comment afterwards as he probably realised it wasn’t the smartest move).
I don’t see this as trash talk. Here this company deals with peoples lives and this is a major issue if you are on one of those boats and you don’t know wether you make it or not. I wish someone would have told me this when I entered their boat. Everyone makes mistakes in life and in business, sure. But when you deal with peoples lives then you don’t have too many chances to go wrong.
Then he had a go at me I that I promote myself. Yes I do promote myself as much as I like. I put a lot of time and effort in, to research all this stuff, go on those boats & trips myself, meet the companies and their staff etc. So, to keep the self promotion going right here: my tickets include a private driver who picks you up right at your door and drops off there too so you.
A) Don’t have to deal with the mafia when you get to the port and (this can take several hours and end up in bribing to be able to leave etc.)
B) Sit in a shuttle bus for 3-4 hours before you arrive back at hour villa / hotel.
This can all be avoided.
I have absolutely been through all of those experiences myself and can comfortably promote the shit out of it as I don’t have anything to hide. If you keep such major things from your customers (and from the world in general!!), then I really ask myself what kind of agent you are! This is not a mini mistakes like ‘oh the tour guide didn’t show up’ or ‘oh the driver was late’.
This is dealing with people’s LIVES and I certainly do not shut up.
Anyhow, a little background about my job. I am a travel agent and I offer tours and trips to people, operated by 3rd parties. I create customized itineraries to my customers.
How such a normal procedure works: You come to me, tell me about your dream destination, when you would like to go there, how many people and your budget, and interests. I then use my experience and expertise to match with those details, and connect you with companies and people in the requested country, where I think they are decent an reliable.
This is NOT a free service. It takes me sometimes days, sometimes weeks to create and set it up all for you (depending on complexity and people), lots of phone calls, emails back and forth. Not to mention the research, money and TIME I have put in this beforehand to gain this knowledge and those experiences myself. What do you pay for? – If you choose to have a personal travel consultation via Skype or face to face, you pay for this time. – If you choose to have a customised itinerary, you pay for this.
Should you want me to book this kick ass plan in for you (hotels, activities etc.), I knock off the price you payed for this itinerary from the end price, so it then becomes free. This prevents me from working for free and the customer running off with my hours of work and years of research.
If you already know what you want and you have chosen a specific trip on my website, then you don’t pay anything for it, just the trip itself and I handle all bookings and communication with your chosen company. Does that sound fair? If you wanted a normal, average trip like everyone else does, you can go to any agency around the corner and get those. If you want to have a once in a life-time experience and be sure your holiday will be unforgettable, then you come to me and I make sure this will happen.
Due to my experience travelling the world since 8 years now, solo, working in the industry since 9 years, having ran a tour company myself in London and heaving dealt with all sorts of cultures, nationalities and companies, I can comfortably say I will be the best travel agent you will ever speak to. I am independent and don’t work for any company.
Collect experiences – not things. In the end, that’s all there is.
Now, are you ready for your next trip?