If we were to tell you that travel advisors were the very best way to travel, would you believe us?
If your knee-jerk reaction was to say no, it's okay – we're not judging you. That’s because over the years, travel advisors have been miscategorized and misunderstood.
When you think “travel agent,” you’re probably imagining an old lady shuffling through a three-ring binder of dated, packaged tours, with little concept of new travel trends – like local immersion, slow travel, sustainable tourism and anything personalized. So, if you're a traveler looking for such experiences, you're forced to plan everything yourself through an Online Travel Agency (OTA) like Booking.com, or a travel portal like Amex.
But now, it’s time to forget everything you ever knew: travel advisors are back, and thanks to new tools and tech, Fora Advisors are completely changing the game of travel advising, and winning over even the trickiest travelers.
Here are eight reasons why.
1. You never have to wait on hold.
Swaylah Faroqi, Fora Advisor
Call centers... what? If you’re tired of waiting on hold for your Amex representative to take your call, you’ll love the fact that with a travel advisor, not only do you get to interact with a real person 100% of the time (and never have to listen to muzak or press a button on your keypad), but you get that personal attention that only a favorite customer gets (because that’s what you are).
And this isn't just before your trip either – when you book with a travel advisor, you also get a direct line to your travel cheerleader while you’re actively traveling, and even once you get home. Flight get delayed and need to arrange for a late check-in? Try getting Amex to do that for you (in less than 45 minutes, anyway).
2. You’re working with an expert, not a search result.
Fallon Alexandria, Fora Advisor
Travel advisors, especially Fora Advisors, get into this line of work for one reason and one reason only: they love to travel. Travel is in their blood, and they’ll spend hours – hours – geeking out over the logistics of planning a trip. That’s all to your benefit, because when you work with a travel advisor, you decide to collaborate with an expert. That means you’ll get a great recommendation not just because the search results tell you it’s great, but because you have a real enthusiast who has thought through all of your personal needs, preferences and limitations, and decided that this is the trip that’s right for you. You’ll also get honest feedback and suggestions, be it a place to eat, a favorite activity on site or an insider tip that you can only get from someone who’s tuned in.
3. You get perks, just for being you.
Tori Petry, Fora Advisor
Because travel advisors know the ins and outs of a place, they also come armed with special perks exclusive to their role as a travel planner, that they can offer you just for booking with them. It might be a fruit plate, a bottle of wine or a fresh bouquet of flowers upon your arrival, or it could be money-saving benefits like discounts on spa services or free daily breakfast. When you book with a travel advisor, you’re tapping into their status and benefiting from their connections, meaning you get treated like a VIP even if it’s your first time in a new place. It’s like traveling with that cool, well-traveled aunt who knows everybody (except in this case, auntie stays at home and you get to travel like an insider without her).
4. You’re supporting a small business.
Gaya Vinay, Fora Advisor
Perhaps it goes without saying, but sometimes in an era of auto-everything, we forget the value of supporting and investing in a small business. When you work with a travel advisor, you’re not just helping a cog in a giant booking engine – you’re supporting your neighbor and her dreams of flexible work while raising her three kids (such as advisor Gaya Vinay, pictured above), or your coworker and their side hustle. You’re choosing to invest in the human again, and put your money toward small business. And the best part is, you get a much higher quality interaction without paying a dime extra. Because travel advisors are compensated through the hotel properties and not through their customers, you can rest assured that you’re paying the same prices you would have paid doing the booking yourself, but putting money into the hands of small-scale entrepreneurs at the same time.
5. You’re putting more money in your local hotel, without spending a penny more.
Chitra Stern of Martinhal Family Hotels & Resorts
Did you know that not only does your travel advisor make money when you book with them, but the hotel you’re staying at does, too? The way the travel advisor ecosystem works, booking through an advisor actually costs a hotel property less money than other booking methods like Booking.com or even their own in-house marketing, because travel advisors bring them quality customers again and again at a fraction of the commission or marketing spend. If you’re dedicated to supporting a small business, or staying at a woman-owned or minority-owned property, you can feel confident knowing that you’re putting more money into their pockets so they can keep their business running for years to come.
6. You’re prioritized for better rooms.
Trust us, your hotel loves travel advisors. They make them more money. Travel advisors bring hotels better customers. And they drive repeat service. For a hospitality business, what’s not to love? That’s why travel advisors get all those great perks they can offer you. As a traveler working with a travel advisor, you'll always be the top priority when you check in to the hotel.
Ever wonder why whenever you book on Hotwire, you get the absolute worst room in the hotel? It’s because you’re making the hotel the least amount of money out of every guest booking. And because the travel advisors make the hotel the most amount of money, you can bet that you’re at the top of the list when there’s the opportunity for special treatment or an upgrade.
See? That cool aunt really does know what she’s doing.
7. You’ve got a direct line to the hotel's General Manager.
Many travel advisors know the places they recommend, not just because they’ve done a lot of research on them, but they’ve visited the hotels themselves and have first-hand experience staying there. Hotels and destinations often like to offer what’s called a “familiarization trip” (or “FAM trip” for short) to travel advisors. These are short visits that give travel advisors an inside look at a property so that they know exactly what they’re recommending. On many FAM trips, the travel advisors also get to meet the General Manager and senior hotel staff. Those introductions come in handy later, especially when it’s your turn to stay there. There’s really not much that beats having the GM on speed dial, and when you book with a travel advisor, that’s exactly what you’re getting.
8. It’s free.
Brit Healey, Fora Advisor
One more time for the people in the back!
It would make sense that more perks, better treatment, more intentional pay, a local expert, a direct line to the GM and potential upgrades would mean some sort of special fee, but that’s (one of) the best part about working with a travel advisor: it doesn’t cost you anything. Because travel advisors get compensated from their hotel (and most hotels pay travel advisors, just like most hotels pay Booking.com when you book there), they’re not soliciting extra money.
Want someone to plan your whole trip, including restaurant reservations and flights? That’s where you might see a fee structure come into play. But if it’s finding a great hotel for your next work trip, vacation or special occasion, you can expect the final consulting bill to come to about zero.
Looking for a travel advisor?
There’s no better time to find a travel advisor who matches your own travel goals and preferences. Find a Fora Advisor today.
Want to be a Fora Advisor? Welcome to the best club ever.
There is a lot to love about being a travel advisor, but one of our favorite parts is that it’s easier than ever to become one. Plus, as a Fora Advisor, you get all the support, training and community you need. If you’re the go-to person for travel tips, you’ll love being a Fora Advisor. Take the first steps to become a travel advisor today.