Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,
There is a big difference between helping your clients or prospective ones, and having your time and kindness taken advantage of.
I keep telling the travel agents I mentor that the way I see them paying for my time and service is when they are doing well and feeling stronger in their businesses, to please pay it forward. Mentor others and/or help people with very low budgets to find a way to travel.
Basically, what I am doing, modeling, and saying is to put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Then, and only then, help others.
I’ve seen too many travel agents/advisors try to help clients create amazing vacations when the budget is so minimal that not even a miracle could help. In the end, one party gets hurt and it is usually the travel agent.
I have seen too many TAs booking airline tickets for clients for no fee, spending hours looking for the best price, then the client tries to upgrade the ticket with mileage – but not all airline tickets (especially the very cheap ones) are upgradeable. Who would be blamed for that? The TA for sure, but he/she didn’t even know the client’s intentions.
Another example is the TA booking a whole package for the client including hotels, tours, meals and entrance fees. Once the client gets to the hotel, they want to upgrade the room because they are members or have a rewards program for that particular hotel chain. Even worse, they want to deduct the price of the hotel from the tour package and pay with points, but they are not upfront with the travel agent about their intentions
My advice to Travel Agents/Advisors: Set boundaries with kindness. It is much better than feeling frustrated with the client; both physically and mentally. If they ask you to book airfare tell them you charge a fee, and ask them if they will want to use mileage to upgrade at any time. If they are booking a package including a hotel, explain that the price of the room is a non-negotiable price that cannot be changed, nor paid or modified with any membership or reward program.
The clearer you are, the more control you will have over the amount of time you spend on the booking, and the client will thank you for being upfront because time is precious to all parties.
Cheers to good health and happy times!