Happy #WeddingWednesday, Planner Friends! Today on The Bridal Society‘s blog, we have another guest post from destination wedding expert Will Medina of Destination Weddings Expert. If you’ve ever dreamed of dipping your toes into the destination wedding market, this blog post is for you!
Benefits of Having a Professional Travel Agent as a Preferred Vendor
- What is a Travel Agent anyway?
- Aren’t Travel Agents a thing of the past?
- Why do I need a Travel Agent if I can just do it myself online?
Do any of these questions sound familiar to you? These are all common questions I get as a Travel Agent, and I am certain that you get similar objections as a Certified Wedding Planner.
I would like to start with the traditional dictionary definition of a Travel Agent/Agency.
“A Travel Agency is a private retailer or public service that provides travel- and tourism-related services to the public on behalf of suppliers, such as activities, airlines, car rentals, cruise lines, hotels, railways, travel insurance, and package tours.”
As a Professional Travel Agent, I do so much more than that. We will cover that shortly. According to a Google search, the roles and responsibilities of a Travel Agent are:
- arranging flights, insurance, and accommodation
- using a booking system to secure holidays/vacations
- collecting and processing payments
- advising clients on travel arrangements, e.g. visas and passports
- sending out tickets to clients
- keeping clients updated on any changes
Well, those ‘Travel Agents’ are a thing of the past for the most part. I would like to introduce you to the ‘Millennial Travel Agent.’
In my experience over the last nine years, a relevant Travel Agent is able to perform a job well done and thrive by offering the services above, but most importantly by selling from personal experience. In the ‘old days’ before the Internet, people used to rely on local Travel Agents to hand them a brochure and give them information about their next destination. Today, travelers are educated and oftentimes overwhelmed by all the information available at their fingertips. (Have you ever googled ‘Destination Weddings’? Try it; you will get hundreds of thousands of results.) This very access to information overwhelm has propelled a new breed of Travel Agents: smart, tech-savvy world travelers who act as a filter to all the nonsense available on the Internet.
So, why is adding a Travel Agent to your Preferred Vendors list a smart idea for your wedding planning business? Simply put, a professional and experienced Travel Agent becomes your entire Preferred Vendors list abroad. As an established wedding planner in your community, you are well-connected and have invested time and money to curate your ‘dream team.’ This allows you to shine and deliver a perfect wedding to the clients in your area. However, wouldn’t you agree that once you travel outside of a 100- to 200-mile radius from your central location, you start to lose the superpowers of your trusted vendors?
On top of that, add an international destination with passport/visa requirements, legal wedding requirements in a foreign country, seasonal challenges such as hurricanes, and hundreds of hotel brands to choose from. And, in addition to keeping your wedding couple happy, you are now responsible for guiding, booking, and preparing every wedding guest to travel to the chosen destination. This is what a professional Travel Agent can do for you as a Preferred Wedding Vendor, whether it is for your client’s dream honeymoon–which is just as important as the wedding day itself–or for a destination wedding.
Is it easy to find a trustworthy Travel Agent? Well, it’s just about as ‘easy’ as finding the best DJs, Photographers, Venues, and other vendors in your area. It takes time and research to find an agent that will deliver. The travel industry, much like the events industry, is not well-regulated; it is easy for anyone to enter the industry with only a batch of business cards and a free website. So choose wisely, and find someone that specializes in the destination and/or niche you are looking to refer to your couples. Travel + Wedding Planning can be a complex combination, even for experienced Travel Agents who specialize in this niche.
Helping you and your wedding couples choose a destination is just the beginning of the equation; there are thousands of well-trained, experienced, and passionate Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Experts out there as well. Find yourself a good one, build a Preferred Vendor relationship, and continue to shine in your couple’s eyes even after the wedding day is over as they experience their dream honeymoon.
You may want to expand the services you offer by having a Destination Wedding Travel Specialist support you with the travel portion of every destination wedding you plan. Let us handle the travel details while you focus on being the rockstar wedding planner that you are.
As your Destination Weddings Expert, we specialize in All-Inclusive Weddings to Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean by traveling twice a month and building those important relationships with our vendors and suppliers in these locations so we can better serve and support you. For more information, tips, and recommendations on finding a qualified Travel Agent in your area, please email us at email@example.com.