If you are not already using a broker, the process of booking your next, or your first, tour or river cruise usually starts with research. You will usually start by researching destinations to find one that inspires you to travel. Once you find a destination, you begin researching what parts of that destination you would like to see. After that, you start thinking about your budget, and researching travel companies that would fit your budget while also taking you to see all of these amazing places. Many times you will find that your destination doesn’t fit your budget, and then you might find yourself needing to start all over.
If you do find a destination and an itinerary, you start to plan… and plan… and plan. If you are like most travelers you will begin to second guess your decision and think about all of the other choices that you could have made. You will have have mixture of doubt and excitement as your departure date slowly arrives. Until then you can only hope for the best.
On the other hand, you might find yourself in a rut where you are booking all of your vacations with the same travel company regardless of the destination or the experience because you know the company and you feel comfortable with them. That is a good way to travel, but that is not a GREAT way to travel. All tour operators and river cruise companies do great things, but not a single one does EVERYTHING great. You are forced to make concessions if your travel company doesn’t travel to a particular destination, or they do not have the experiences you are looking for. You can get comfortable and, because of this, you will be selling yourself short of the many amazing experiences that you can have.
If you are planning your upcoming bucket list trip, here are the reasons you need a tour broker.
1. Professional Unbiased Advice
When you book your trip directly with a travel company, the information that you receive from them is biased in their favor. When you ask them questions it will be human nature for them to give you answers that make their products seem better than their competitions. It is not necessarily done on purpose, but since they are financially invested in their own tours they will inherently be biased to their own itineraries and trips. They want you to make the best decision for you, but they will help you to understand that they are that “best decision.”
When you work with a Tour Broker you have someone who is working for you, not for the travel companies. They will help you with everything from picking a destination, to making sure that you have the right flight schedule and information to make the most out of your tour. When you ask them questions, since they do not have any affiliation with the travel companies, you can trust the answer that they give you. They can provide you information and help you with comparing that information to ensure that you are making the right decisions every step of the way. You are able to leverage their experience and knowledge to have a great trip every time. If, heaven forbid, you have a bad experience you have someone on your side to get you the compensation that you deserve.
2. It’s All About the Budget
There is a myth in the travel industry that when you work directly with the travel companies you are able to get a better deal and save money. This myth is untrue, and actually the complete opposite is often true. The right Tour Broker will be able to work with their travel partners, and often leverage their relationship to help you get the best deal that the market offers. They can also stay on top of the market to ensure that you continue to have the best price.
If you have a strict budget they can point you to the destinations, and companies, where your dollar will go further, and where you will have a better value. That way, you can make sure that you are making the right decisions at every step of the way regarding your budget. You do not want to end up over budget, and the right Tour Broker will set your expectations so that you know which destinations and what kind of experience you can expect from your budget.
3. You Need to Look Beyond the Itinerary
There is so much more to a trip than just an itinerary. Sure, that is where it all starts, but that is far from where the decisions need to end. Someone who is just reading the itinerary can read two itineraries that are seemingly the same and they will not take the time to look just below the surface, or even deeper, to find all of the ways that the trips truly differ.
Looking at how many one night stays there are during the tour, and why this matters in certain cities and not so much with other cities are some of the things that can make a big difference in a tour. You need to know how many optional excursions there are in each itinerary and what the cost of these excursions are. You need to know how many meals there are during the itinerary, and why it is important where the meals take place. There is so much that you need to know. The itinerary can be just the tip of the iceberg, and that is why a Tour Broker can make all of the difference.
4. More Destinations and Itineraries to Choose From
There are literally thousands of itineraries in the market that you can research and learn about. If you work directly with only one travel company than you limit yourself to a very small fraction of those itineraries. So if continue to work on your own to plan your tours and river cruises than you really have two choices. You can either spend all of your time researching the many itineraries that are available, or you can settle on one travel company and close yourself off to all of the options that are at your disposable.
The third choice you have however is to use a Tour Broker. With a Tour Broker you can talk with them about the destinations that you are interested in and when you decide on what you want to see, they will help you find an itinerary among the thousands that are out there. They will not focus on one itinerary or one company and talk you into it. If what they bring you is still not what you are looking for they can go back out to the tour market and find one that will meets your needs. Rather than 10 tours to Italy, they have hundreds of tours and itineraries to work with. They will ensure that you will find something that you like without having to make any concessions.
In the end you will be happy that you used a Tour Broker. They will be there while you plan, while you travel, and when you get back home. You will have a partner and someone on your side during the entire travel experience. They will be there when it comes time for the next trip with the knowledge to make that one even better.
Michael Ziegler has been in the guided travel industry for the last 5 years. His experience in the industry spans river cruising, guided tours and leisure travel. Currently he is the owner of Touring International. A national Tour Broker specializing in affinity group travel.
Call them at (800) 975-1761 to talk about your next Vacation.