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Friday, August 19, 2016

Three Reasons To Book A Cruise Through A Travel Agent

A common question I hear is, "Why should I book with a travel agent when all travel is booked online?" There is no doubt that the surge of online travel booking services has broadened the horizons of many Canadians.

The ability to not only research and review destinations and regions, but also book flights and hotels, has sparked a wanderlust that is fueling the travel economy. When it comes to personal travel and leisure, the options and information available can often become an overwhelming and stressful barrier to planning a relaxing and enjoyable vacation; especially if you will be investing large amounts of money into booking a luxury getaway.

Cruise vacationers in particular overwhelmingly leverage the expertise of a travel professional with 75 percent of cruisers choosing to book through a travel agent according to Cruise Lines International Association. Unlike with other types of travel, selecting the right cruise line and ship is a crucial decision when booking a cruise because the onboard experience becomes a major part of the overall vacation, compared with spending one or two nights in a hotel room or resort.

There is more at stake when choosing a cruise; once you are onboard, there is no turning back. According to Cruise Lines International Association, 75% of cruisers choose to book with a travel agent.Image courtesy of Expedia CruiseShipCentres.

According to Cruise Lines International Association, 75% of cruisers choose to book with a travel agent. Image courtesy of Expedia CruiseShipCentres.

Along with the increasing availability of travel information and booking services on the Internet, there has been a boom in the growth of more traditional brick-and-mortar travel locations. While it might sound like a blast from the past, physical travel agencies, like the Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Tecumseh, continue to thrive and grow.

As experts in booking highly personalized and tailored travel experiences, travel agents provide a unique benefit for vacation planners.

There are three main reasons why travel agents are still in demand, especially when booking cruise vacations. 1. Save Time and Money

With 65 new ocean ships debuting between now and 2020, the exciting options for cruisers to choose from has never been greater. Although more selection means a greater chance of finding exactly what you want, the sheer volume of options can quickly become overwhelming.

Cutting out the middle man and booking cruises on your own may seem like the most time and cost efficient way to travel, but working with a travel consultant adds a much greater value to your vacation. Not only are travel agents able to secure the best possible rates, but they eliminate the stress that comes along with vacation planning and research.

With carefully curated knowledge of the cruise itinerary destinations and packages, travel agents are in themselves an interactive research tool. Because consultants do the majority of the leg work in the booking process, they absorb the expense of guess work and research, and are able to guide you through a personal vacation building experience by asking a few simple questions and speaking with you.

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters for example, local Vacation Consultants are able to provide clients every cruise option from contemporary to luxury, ocean and river; all at Expedia prices. Access to the greater Expedia network gives local agents access to massive buying power, often earning clients exclusive extras like bonus onboard cash credits, stateroom upgrades, reduced deposits and more.

Working with a travel agent that is associated with a big brand gives you access to the best of both worlds: Exceptional pricing and extras, as well as the peace of mind you get when booking a highly personalized itinerary through an expert you trust. 2. Take the Guesswork Out of Planning

Travel agents bring highly specialized knowledge and resources to the table when planning a vacation. Agents often specialize in specific destinations or products they are passionate about and have visited many times.

Their personal experiences and recommendations can have a huge impact on what your vacation will be like. At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, our Vacation Consultants are of course passionate cruisers who have been through in-depth training to become a certified Vacation Consultant.

As navigators of spectacular vacation experiences, they are not just booking travel, they are crafting personalized travel experiences that are unique to each and every customer's needs.

A good travel agent's true expertise will show in the types of questions they ask a client to get to the heart of what kind of vacation they are looking for. The best travel agents do a lot of listening before they make any recommendations. 3. Benefit From an Ongoing Relationship

Working with a travel agent brings back the human component of sales that is few and far between in this day and age. Just like your hairdresser or your neighborhood butcher, it is reassuring to buy from someone who understands your needs and expectations without having to explain them.

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, our Vacation Consultants get to know their customers and build a relationship where they can provide them with the best service for their needs. No matter where you inquire from, you will always be connected back to the same agent.

From detailed itineraries that keep track of your time from embarkation to debarkation, a good travel agent will ensure you have all the information you need to enjoy a worry-free trip. Plus, in the event that something does not go as planned during your vacation, you will know exactly who to call to resolve the issue immediately.

You are in good hands as our location and travel agents are certified and registered with the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO).

As travel is considered a highly prized purchase by most consumers, they want to know they are booking a trip that is right for them, at the best possible price. Vacation Consultants at Expedia CruiseShipCenters take pride in making dream vacations come true for travelers in their community and the retail space provided by the franchise model allows them to connect with clients on a more personal level.

Customers return with photos and stories to share with their Consultant who cannot wait to hear all about how it all went. A website simply cannot offer that kind of experience.

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