Are Travel Agents More Expensive and what will I be charged?
Glad you asked! One of the biggest misconception about booking with a travel agent is that it will cost more. So the short answer to that question is…no, not necessarily. The advent of consumer access to online booking has had a dramatic effect on the travel industry which makes booking travel supposedly easier but in the long run can cost you much more.
In the past, travel agents made a lot of their income by tacking on fees and surcharges, keeping in mind that they had a brick-and-mortar agency with considerable overhead. Now, the vast majority of travel agencies are like ours and have eliminated a physical office space and be more competitive and in most case match or beat the prices online.
As a general rule, Small Town Wanderer Travel does not charge service fees, provided that the requested booking meets a minimum income threshold, as our commissions come from the travel suppliers such as the cruiselines, hotels, tour companies, and various suppliers. Our parent company of Travel Leaders and our Host Agency of Nexion have negotiated with these vendors to get preferred rates and extra bonuses.
We are so confident in our ability to provide you with exceptional service and driven by the desire to retain you as a client for life, we NEVER want you to feel that you are being nickeled and dimed and will not charge you any extra commissions!
That said, we have a couple exceptions to this rule:
-If you ask us to book you a flight ON ITS OWN (i.e. not part of a cruise or other vacation package), there will be a $35 flat search fee per domestic ticket and $65 for international flights. Airlines no longer pay commission, and as such, we feel this added expense for our time to secure a flight and providing services along the way is reasonable. If you have a group of 8 or more that extra fee can be negotiated
-If you ask us to plan a fully customized vacation itinerary that includes travel elements from multiple suppliers (air, hotel, train, tickets, dinner reservations, etc, that are not part of a preset vacation package), there will be a service fee that will vary depending on the cost and complexity of the trip, typically between $100-500.
You will be told up front if you will be charged any fees. These fees are consistent with travel industry standards and reflect the additional time and intricacies involved in planning a trip of this nature. In return, we provide you with the EXACT vacation that you desire, including a detailed itinerary with instructions, dining suggestions, and 24/7 assistance to you while you're traveling. All you have to do is show up!
Most of the time we can at least match any rate you can find online. But please understand that we are also providing a valuable service of being with you along the way with our travel expertise, assistance and preferred suppliers to back up your trip.
Bottom line, please give us the opportunity to discuss your travel preferences and goals. If you decide you can do better on your own, all it cost you was a phone call or email. However, we are confident if given the opportunity, we will win you over for life!