This is honestly a super strange post for me but I wanted to get this out there. I have reallllly tried to keep this as neutral as possible. I don’t think I am the ONLY destination wedding travel agent that does a good job. Of course not. There are so many wonderful travel agents that I have had the privilege of meeting so keep that in mind as you read on! If you decide you would prefer a small business, I would love to work with you! Click here or fill out the contact form at the bottom.
These are just a few key differences! And of course so I don’t have to add a disclaimer after every line, I want to be clear that every single agent is so individual and none of these are set in stone. These are things to CONSIDER, but if I say “Established Corporations are more likely to do this” I want to be really clear that I don’t mean “Every Single Travel Agent working for an Established Corporation does this”.
Of course, in the interest of transparency, I love owning and running my small business. If I preferred to work for a corporation, I would do that.
As always, don’t hesitate to contact me with your thoughts or questions or if you feel I would be a good fit for your destination wedding plans and you want to chat, fill out this form to get started!
Choosing a Travel Agent for your Destination Wedding
Difference #1 You know who you are working with when you choose a small business.
Hi, I am Kara and I am usually awkward in photos. If you work with Love at First Travel, I am your travel agent (at least at the time of writing).
A major online destination wedding travel agency’s process:
1) Fill Out an Intake Form.
2) They match you with a travel agent based on the destination you choose/information your provided and what travel agent is available for the date you want to get married. This is to avoid one agent having someone with twenty destination weddings in November and nothing for the rest of the year.
There may be other factors but that’s all that I could see. There is nothing wrong with that either! But the reality is, you don’t get a chance to talk to the travel agent before your have already hired them. This is very different from a small business. You may have exchanged several emails and possibly had a phone/Skype conversation/consultation with the actual travel agent before you decide to sign a contract. Most of my clients do some SERIOUS (almost FBI type) research before they hire me. Before a couples even reaches out, they have likely read a dozen or more reviews about me, joined my email list/downloaded my 9 step guide, found my Facebook page, followed me on instagram, likely checked out my personal facebook (feel free to add me as a friend by the way 😉 ). You get the idea! When you hire me, you get me! And I am exactly the same on the phone or over email as I am online 🙂
Difference #2 There is more risk when choosing a Small Business.
There, I said it *mic drop*. This is probably the biggest deterrent from choosing a small business. Choosing a corporation might make you feel a little less special (they tend to have very structured processes after all). BUT, you know they will be around in a year. You don’t have that guarantee with a small business.
That being said, here’s a few questions you can ask to make sure your small business is LEGIT.
1) What happens to my wedding booking if something happens to you? They should have a clear answer. Unfortunately, anything can happen so make sure if you are working with a small business you know what will happen if they get hit by the old proverbial bus. Especially with small businesses that are run by one travel agent.
2) Who’s name should show up on my credit card bill? One of my clients mentioned they saw a story on Facebook where a travel agent ran off with everyone’s money and they didn’t have reservations with the supplier like they thought. YIKES! So one major “red flag” (again, just a red flag and not a guarantee they are scamming you), is if the charge is processed by someone other than the supplier. When you book through Love at First Travel into a Sunwing Package, your credit card statement should say Sunwing. Then, you know they got the money (and you are not just funding my next vacation). Again, I am not saying this is foolproof because there may be legit agents who process the funds through their business first (I am not sure!), but it is a red flag.
Difference #3 Corporations Have 24 Hour Help Lines
Most small business owners will give you there personal cell phone number to you to call in case of emergencies. Especially while you are traveling. Most agents make it a priority to be easy to get a hold of. But it is still different than a corporation that can offer you a 1-800 number to call. What if your travel agent is out for groceries and left her phone in the car? You can’t just be “put on hold” for the next available agent.
That being said, in case of a true emergency, most suppliers have 24 hour help lines. So if you do run into an issue and your travel agent doesn’t pick up the phone, you can call the hotel/airline directly and often have access to 24 hour help.
Difference #4 If You End Up Wanting to Switch Agents..
Corporations have someone you can complain to if something happens with your travel agent. Don’t get me wrong, I hope this NEVER happens to you. I hope based on the time you spend working with your travel agent before you have decided on a resort and signed a contract, you get a feel for if you like working with them. But if you do end up not loving the travel agent you were paired up with, you can always call the head office and request someone different. With a small business, it may not be as easy.
Difference #5 Reading reviews of your specific agent
You might be able to read online reviews about the corporation you are considering booking with. They will likely have way more reviews than a small business. But they may not be specific to the travel agent you’ll work with. That being said, a small business reviews are all about the particular agent you will be working with. What compliments is your specific agent getting over and over again? How do they respond if there are negative reviews? This can be a huge help in determining whether or not they are the right fit.
Difference #6: Agents Working for Corporations May Have Resorts They Are Encouraged to Sell
I know this post might be kind of a rough ironic if you read my blog post earlier in the week. I’m going to add a small caveat that if your travel agent works for a large corporation, it’s more likely that they’re going to push you into resorts that have certain promotions.
I would still argue on their behalf, that the corporation is choosing this resort to promote based on happy clients most of the time. But based on my experience, couples who come to me because they feel like the travel agent they were working with before me was pushing them into a certain resort chain, is usually from a travel agent who was working for a corporation. Obviously not always and there are many clients who work with hem who never feel pressured!
Would you like to chat about your destination wedding?
I would LOVE to talk about your destination wedding plans. If you fill out the form below, I will contact you within 24 hours (none of the fields are required right away, but the more specific you are, the more helpful I can be).