The Privilege of Being a Travel Agent
The life of a travel agent is built on a set of ideas. Selling tours is just a small part. Countless hours are spent of strategizing, building and promoting a trip. And although the rewards are less, each effort is motivated by passion. Simply because understanding travel and its power to change the world is an overwhelming realization. When we comprehend that the strife that grips the world can be lessened or cured by appreciating the diversity of faiths, cultures and the world in general, creating journeys is an honor; a rare privilege that only a few enjoy. Having considered that greater vision which almost all travel agents live with, we do all we can to perfect this craft, simply because we love the very idea of travel. Travel Agents are restless beings. We constantly look for new ways to develop our approach to tourism and to perfectly adapt to the huge amount of tourist influx all around the world. Sometimes it is a daunting job and endless hours are spent understanding and carving out every detail with precision. This meticulous job gets to most of us sometimes. But the hard work pays off and our understanding of travel and the hard work it commands are overcome by a sense of respite as we see the spark and thrill among our travelers and realize how even by a small measure it has begun to change the world. It is in such times, we often consider what makes a travel agent better to serve the greater purpose of creating journeys and understanding this great privilege more. There are among many trying qualities, a few which are worth dwelling upon.
Knowledge of Local Places
Knowledge of local places cannot be achieved without appreciating what is around you. One must understand the best thing about a destination. It varies with places but a greater understanding of local places is of utmost importance. This will immerse the traveler with sensitivity for different cultures. You haven’t traveled well if you haven’t understood the local culture and it’s enriching essence. That is why a good travel agent must be able to transfer the same sense of appreciation to a traveler. But this is a tedious process which involves research, constant updates and knowledge of cultures, anthropology, history and sometimes architecture too. However hard work pays off and this is evident on the faces of all the travelers who are in your hands. Traveling is all about seeing and learning and it’s a privilege to be the source of that enriching travel experience.
Each traveler is special. He/she deserves that special attention and care. Like all businesses a travel operator must think of a client’s benefits before he can calculate his own profits. One must also understand the amount of planning, the funds, and the continuous desire that a traveler considers before embarking on a journey. And he/she travels miles to be in the place where he/she always wanted to be. Personal attention, a sense of care and an allowance for comfort cannot be undermined during a trip. These are traits of hospitality that says a lot about how much you appreciate travelers and this industry. It is in a profound way, a belief in care, understanding and the entire idea of travel. This is why you receive repeat travelers.
One cannot become a travel agent without some experience. Granted, everyone is a first timer once. But this is a job that requires time, patience and research. More travel agents have spent decades in this industry and know how to conduct tours like the back of their hands. And that is what travelers seek when they book a tour. Sometimes travel agents get a large group of travelers. Providing each one with personal attention and incase of problems during a trek or an expedition could prove to be hazardous. And unexpected occurrences cannot be overlooked. Political turmoil, flight delays, accidents etc could very well be part of travel. During such situations, one can count on nothing other than pure experience.
Proper infrastructure is important to manage and organize holiday packages. Good Infrastructure is beneficial for strenuous tours which are sometimes very demanding especially in the Himalayas. Focus must be made on taking the hassles and tedium out of travelling for a traveler, so that he/she may enjoy everything around with a carefree mind. Right from Airport pickups to hotels, transports and until departures, travelers must be taken care of in a stress free environment. This can happen only when you have the right infrastructure. Developing infrastructure too, takes a lot of time and effort with careful planning. A travel agent is incomplete without proper infrastructure.
Expertise comes from hiring the best staff and it also comes from experience in the field of travel. Expertise helps take out all the hassles of a journey from the mind of a traveler; simply because with expertise by the side of a travel agent, any problem and any hindrance can be solved immediately. Expertise also ensures the safety of a traveler which is imperative. One must have tour leaders who are all trained in first aid and crisis management. Whilst trekking food preparation and hygiene must be given top priority. Right from the initial correspondence, booking, conducting tours and departure, expertise will be appreciated and choosing the right personnel for the right job is key to the success of a travel agent.
Responsible Travel/Tourism comes from loving the idea of Travel and understanding its impact on nature, ecology and local people. It is about appreciating many different cultures and nature itself and how we owe something to the things that give us pleasure. A good travel agent always arranges for travelers to connect in a way with local people and make them understand the economy and the ecology surrounding them. In a way Travel Agents must seek to minimize negative impacts of the environment and society and think of ways to raise the economic benefits of the local communities. Travel agents must be culturally sensitive and respect the impacts of relations between the tourists and the locals.
Guided by Greater Vision
Words like excellence, comfortable, luxury, affordable and exclusive are thrown about by travel agents with reckless abandon. Not a lot of travel agents talk about the other benefits of travel. But a few understand that what one travels for makes all the difference. All travel agents and the work they do must be guided by a greater vision. Visions vary of course but they must be based on a set of principles and ethics. Creating journeys is the best way to bring people closer to each other and that privilege must always be appreciated. Most agents believe in the great, sometimes transformative, always educational value of travel. We must always understand that traveling is the only way to cure the world from the hatred and differences that dominate our relationships.
Travel agents are most passionate about creating journeys and providing more than what a traveler normally expects during a trip. During a trip, the travel agent manages the details so that one can relish all the experience without any hassles or the need to research. Because research and hassles are already considered by the travel agent, trips become easy and pleasurable.
Creative ApproachAlmost all travel agents sell similar trips. Well, because the routes are the same! However there are some trips that are unique to each travel agent. These are the ones that are meticulously planned and researched so that travelers can find something different each time they journey a destination. While some believe in adventure and some in practices that show more of culture, the unique trips are something that is closer to the heart of a travel agent who creates them. This creative approach while crafting journeys take a longer time and much harder work. But while this virtue is rare among travel agents, it ensures quality and passion.
Best Itinerary for You-Not the one we want to sell
A travel agent must sell an Itinerary that is best suited to a traveler and not the one that he wants to desperately sell someone. Understanding the needs and requirements of a traveler are of utmost importance in this business. This is done with research and knowing where a particular travel will enjoy the most. A travel agent must always consider an enquiry with detail and offer the best choices.
We face these challenges because we respect this privilege