That’s right. Your travel agents intentions might not be clear when it comes to the resorts he or she is recommending. But seriously, it is not always what you think. We are usually not evil scam artists looking for the resort with the most travel agent perks. I am so passionate about educating people on the industry and a destination wedding planning. I see your misconceptions and decided to lay everything out here for if you start to feel pressured by our travel agent to choose a certain resort.
Can I be honest?
In the last couple weeks I have spent way too many times and bridal Facebook groups. It’s honestly scary how much information out there is just wrong. Please don’t trust a past bride over your travel agent. I actually usually don’t spend too much time in wedding Facebook groups anymore but lately it seems I’m getting more and more tags by people recommending me in posts by brides looking for a Destination wedding travel agent or planner. Thank you for the tags by the way!! I could not run my business without past and current couples referring me so passionately and I appreciate you so much.
Because I have been tagged more (and therefore I’m showing up more), Facebook has been showing me more and more posts that are happening in the group thinking that it’s something I’m interested in. But honestly, it’s kind of scary. Which has prompted my new set of blog posts focussed on examining some misconceptions about the industry.
The complaint I hear most often about other Travel Agents
Today’s topic actually comes more from Couples that contact me even though they are already working with a travel agent. I always ask why they are reaching out if they’re already working with a travel agent to see what they’re looking for and if I can help. If they are just looking for a cheaper price, I just take a few minute to explain that travel agents usually all get the same price. Assuming they are happy with the service, they really should continue working with their current travel agent.
Side note: if you do go “price shopping” and a travel agent is significantly cheaper, it might not be because they are a hidden gem. Travel agents all usually get the same price from suppliers so it might be that they are either sacrificing commission to get your booking (in which case they likely value quantity>quality) or they might not be giving you the exact same package (beware of what you don’t know).
Quite often though, I hear complaints like “I don’t think my current travel agent really understands what I am looking for” or worse “I feel like my travel agent is pushing certain resorts on me”. This breaks my heart. And remember how I used to be a destination bride? I get it. I remember feeling the exact same way.
So here are the facts/misconceptions I want to address
Yes, travel agents do often have their favourite resorts they love to work with.
Guilty as charged! Depending on my clients budget and destination of choice, I usually have the top three-four resorts that I recommend first. Always only if it matches what they are looking for and I never try to be “pushy” about it. But I do choose them as a starting point most of the time. I think most travel agents have their “go to” resorts.
BUT (and this is the part that usually isn’t clearly communicated) usually a travel agents’ “favourites” are the resorts they have HAPPY clients coming back from consistently. Happy clients are ALWAYS the top priority. The more familiar a travel agent is with a resort, the more comfortable they likely are recommending it to you and this might come off as “pushy”. You might ask about one resort, and if your travel agent has had a bad experience or no experience with the resort, they might be hesitant to recommend it. They know who you will ultimately be unhappy with if you have a bad experience.
As well, travel agents are hesitant to say something negative about a resort that they’ve had a bad experience with. We all know when you speak bad about someone it ends up making you look bad too. We don’t want to sound like that gossipy girl you went to high school with.
Different travel agents have different resorts they feel comfortable with. They also have preferences just like you. For example, I usually shy away from suggesting HUGE resorts because they aren’t personally for me, so even though I try my best to stay impartial and listen to what my clients want, I admit sometimes catching my own preferences sneaking in.
Yes, often resorts have programs for travel agents and some resorts offer significantly better incentives than others.
I know you think this is the main intention. I think I speak for 95% of travel agents when I say this is BARELY even a factor. Hopefully by your interactions, you can tell if your travel agent is genuine, caring and overall knowledgeable about her industry. Any good travel agent knows that a happy client is worth MORE than ANY possible incentive a resort could offer them.
Seriously, we want your bridesmaids to come back to us when they get engaged and want their own destination wedding.
We want you to send everyone you know our way because you LOVED the resort we helped you choose. Do you really think we would chose a free night at their hotel or a $50 bonus gift card over a lifetime of referrals? Of course not! So while a great incentive program might encourage us to learn more about the resort and see what kind of clients might be a good fit for it, I don’t know too many agents who would actually choose better incentives over a happy wedding couple.
If you really are feeling pushed, ask yourself if you feel like your travel agent TRULY gets what you are looking for?
This is a WHOLE other issue and may mean you need to find another travel agent who truly gets you. If they are pushing you toward resorts that are not what you are looking for than they might be part of the small percentage of bad travel agents (less likely) or it could be they really are not understanding what your top priorities are and what you’re looking for out of your Destination wedding experience (more likely).
Regardless of intentions, this probably means you’re not working with the right travel agent. Thee best course of action is to thank them for their time and find a travel agent who is a better fit. Please let the other travel agent know you decided to move on though! Don’t ghost them. They aren’t an ex boyfriend, they are a professional. We’re all adults we can all handle if we are not the right fit for you.
I don’t want you to be too savage (one resort recommendation you don’t like and your on to the next one), but I would encourage you to find out sooner rather than later into the process if someone is going to be the right fit. You are going to be working with this person for 10-18+ MONTHS. You are going to want to like them. But please, don’t ghost them. Trust me, I know you don’t want to waste their time keeping your file open and following up with you if you have decided they are not the right fit!
Do you have other questions you are wondering about?
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