You probably consider yourself a nice person. So when it comes to dealing with your travel agent, you can’t imagine pulling a Donald Trump and telling your trusted travel adviser, “You’re fired!”
But sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Your travel agent is a professional, after all. And if the relationship isn’t working out, you have to go your separate ways.
So when do you say enough is enough?
1. He’s not into you. Your agent is exactly that — your agent. For the time you are with him, you deserve his undivided attention. If he misses something, your dream trip could turn into a nightmare. Your agent should be either taking notes, or entering information into his computer so he can get to work planning your trip. If he is interrupting your time for personal phone calls, or seems aloof, consider wielding the axe. Does your agent call you back promptly? Answer your questions thoroughly? Seem genuinely interested in your experience? Travel planning isn’t between places. It’s between people.The travel industry is a relationship business. Make sure you have that relationship.
2. He doesn’t stand behind his product. Face it, Murphy is alive and well in the travel industry and things routinely do go wrong. Usually it is not your agent’s fault, and usually it is beyond the control of most everyone. But your agent should be your advocate to the travel supplier or insurance company when you experience a problem. Your agent should direct you and act as your agent in any dispute. He should be able to tell you what is reasonable and what is not. Again, it is best to trust his judgment here as he has a good idea of how travel companies react to different issues. If your agent leaves you floundering to handle it on your own, consider a pink slip.
3. He’s only interested in a commission. Your agent should not pressure you into choosing his preferred travel supplier unless it also meets with your wishes. All agents have their favorites for many reasons including service, money, and perks. While this may seem a bit unethical, a preferred relationship will also garner benefits for the traveler as well. Upgraded accommodations, additional amenities, VIP treatments are all routine for someone with a preferred relationship. But remember, the customer is always right. If you know what you want, do not be pressured into a travel supplier unless your agent can provide a compelling reason.
4. He’s an amateur. You deserve to be and should demand to be treated professionally by a professional. While it has been said time and time again, check out your agent. While most agents — store, Internet, or home-based are very professional, there are some bad apples out there as well. Ask for referrals. Our office will gladly print out a reference list at the drop of a hat. Check them out with a trade organization or the Better Business Bureau. Scope out their office or workplace. Look at their correspondence. When the carbonized receipt book comes out — run.
5. He gives you the creeps. Perhaps the best reason to fire your travel agent (or any professional, for that matter) is simply because something does not feel right. In life, a lot of problems can be avoided by going on instinct. Your stomach is churning for a reason. Don’t take the chance. Fire him.
Your travel agent is your best advocate for a great travel experience and can almost always offer more than a dot-com agency — especially when things go wrong. Just make sure that he is responsive, reliable, trustworthy, and professional.
Otherwise, cut him loose.