I often get questions about why I charge a planning fee. I even did a post on this awhile back. You can read that here. But I felt it would be great to answer the common questions I hear about working with a travel advisor who charges a fee. So here are some FAQs that should help you understand why DWD (and other travel agencies) charge a planning fee.
“DO TRAVEL ADVISORS STILL EXIST?”
Travel advisors still play a crucial role in the travel industry, and their expertise and services continue to be highly valuable to clients. While technology has made it easier for travelers to book certain aspects of their trips online, travel advisors bring first-hand knowledge, a high-touch experience, unmatched connections around the world, and in-destination support.
As a travel advisor, I stay up-to-date with the latest travel trends, destination information, and insider tips that can enhance your travel experience. I personal invest in traveling to visit hotels and trade shows to develop supplier relationships, and industry connections that allow me to offer you unique opportunities and benefits. Moreover, I can save you time and effort by handling all the research, bookings, and logistics, ensuring a stress-free and well-coordinated trip. In addition, sometimes you don’t realize what you don’t know until it’s too late. We work to remedy that by working with partners that are intimately knowledgeable on the destination that our clients are visiting.
Whether it’s providing personalized recommendations, troubleshooting issues, or offering peace of mind, travel advisors are dedicated to delivering exceptional service and creating memorable travel experiences.
“I CAN FIND BETTER DEALS ONLINE/AT COSTCO.”
I understand your concern about finding the best deals online. As a travel advisor, my goal isn’t to compete with online travel agencies or discount sites. My goal is to ensure that you have the best experience possible that is perfectly matched to your vision and interests!
There are many times that I do have access to negotiated rates, but the real value is in how I can save you time, stress and frustration either prior to traveling or while actually in the destination.
If you’re looking for the lowest rate, I absolutely understand and respect your decision to book elsewhere. However, if you’re looking for a custom experience, then you’re in the right place! Schedule a call with DWD here.
“I PREFER TO BOOK EVERYTHING ON MY OWN.”
I completely understand! A lot of the fun is researching and creating anticipation for the destination before traveling. As a travel agent, my goal is to enhance your travel experience and provide you with expert advice, personalized recommendations, and insider knowledge that you may not find on your own.
I consider this a collaborative experience. You’re welcome to share anything that you’ve found as a “must have” and I will work to enhance that idea through my knowledge and the connections that I have with in-destination partners. I can also handle any unexpected issues or changes that may arise during your trip.
This is your trip—not mine. I am happy to work together with you to make it everything you want it to be!
“I DON’T HAVE THE BUDGET FOR A TRAVEL AGENT.”
I understand budget concerns are important- in fact, respecting your budget is a primary concern for me. I do require a fee, but I am happy to factor that into your total budget and discuss what is realistic for your destination. I also will be candid prior to invoicing you for that fee if I believe your budget is realistic and if I believe that your travel style is the right fit for our business. My goal is to help you maximize your travel budget by prioritizing spend on the items that are important to you, finding the best value for your money, and preventing costly mistakes. Sometimes the most expensive items on the itinerary aren’t anticipated, and I work to try and prevent those situations before they arise, as well as help you navigate them if and when they do.
Working with a Travel Advisor Who Charges a Fee
“IF WE PAY YOUR FEE, CAN YOU GUARANTEE THAT WE WILL GET A TRIP WITHIN OUR BUDGET?”
I understand your concern about staying within your budget, and I appreciate that it’s an important aspect of your travel planning. As a travel advisor, I can assure you that my goal is to work within your budget and find the best possible options for you. While I cannot provide a guarantee on specific
prices or total costs (especially when it comes to souvenirs, dining, and circumstances beyond our control), I can leverage my industry expertise, relationships with suppliers, and access to exclusive deals to maximize the value of your trip.
My focus is on creating an itinerary that meets your preferences, offers exceptional experiences, and provides the best value for your investment. By working together and discussing your budgetary requirements, I can curate a customized trip that balances your desires with financial considerations. Transparency and open communication about your budget will enable me to optimize your travel plans accordingly. On our initial call, we will discuss your budget in more detail so that I can ensure we create an itinerary that aligns with your financial goals.
“I HAVE ALREADY PLANNED MY ITINERARY.”
It’s great that you have already started planning your itinerary. As a travel agent, my role is not to replace your ideas but to enhance and optimize them. If you haven’t secured your accommodations yet, I’d love to discuss how I can provide valuable insights, recommend hidden gems, suggest time-saving routes, and ensure that all your arrangements are well-coordinated. With my expertise and knowledge, I feel confident that I can help elevate your itinerary to the next level and help avoid common pitfalls when planning.
“I HAD A BAD EXPERIENCE WITH A PREVIOUS TRAVEL AGENT.”
I’m sorry to hear about your previous negative experience. I strive to provide exceptional service and ensure that all my clients have a positive experience throughout their journey. I take the time to listen to your needs, understand your preferences, and address any concerns you may have. I will work
diligently to make sure your travel plans go smoothly and that your expectations are
met or exceeded.
“WHY SHOULD I WORK WITH A TRAVEL ADVISOR WHO CHARGES A FEE WHEN I CAN DO THE RESEARCH AND PLANNING MYSELF?”
I understand your concern about working with a travel advisor who charges a fee. While you can certainly do the research and planning yourself, working with a travel advisor brings added value and expertise.
I have access to industry knowledge, insider connections, and exclusive perks that can enhance your travel experience. By charging a planning fee, I can dedicate the necessary time and attention to detail to curate a personalized itinerary tailored to your preferences.
My goal is to save you time, provide you with peace of mind, and ensure a seamless trip from start to finish. If you’re open to hearing more, I’d love to see if we are a good fit.
“I’M ALREADY PAYING FOR THE TRIP, SO WHY SHOULD I PAY AN ADDITIONAL FEE?”
I understand your concern about additional fees, especially if you’ve never worked with a travel advisor previously. The planning fee covers the time, expertise, and personalized service I provide as a travel advisor. Not only does it compensate for all the prior travel that I have invested in, but it also allows me to thoroughly research and curate the best options for you, ensuring every detail is taken care of. I work on your behalf to secure the best deals, make reservations, coordinate logistics, and provide ongoing support.
By investing in my services, you’re gaining a dedicated travel professional who will go above and beyond to create a memorable trip for you.
DON’T TAKE IT FROM ME, HERE IS WHAT A RECENT DWD CLIENT HAD TO SAY ABOUT HER ITALY HONEYMOON…
“I was lucky enough to find Dana on theknot.com when I was searching for help with honeymoon planning and I don’t know what I would have done without her! I was completely overwhelmed when it came to choosing which cities to travel to in Italy (so many to choose from!) and in what order to do it. And I knew I would then need to pick hotels, figure out tours and restaurants, book transportation etc and I didn’t even know where to start. Dana took the time to get to know my husband and I with a personal video chat where she learned about us and figured out what we wanted out of our vacation. She really listened to our must haves and delivered a seamless proposal. She included things we asked for and kept us within budget. But she was also knowledgeable and honest about things we should probably forego- which I appreciated. She kept us well informed as we had to make some changes to certain hotels and tours as the trip got closer and always kept in close communication with us via email – even when she was moving and traveling herself- her communication was on point. She really goes the extra mile to make it a full concierge vacation planning experience. I had already stressed so much about the wedding- and with Dana’s help- I was able to be excited and focus on the fun parts of honeymoon planning. 10/10 would recommend!”—Sabrina • Gilbert, AZ
“OTHER TRAVEL ADVISORS DON’T CHARGE A PLANNING FEE. WHY DO YOU?”
I understand that some travel advisors may not charge, and you have questions about working with a travel advisor who charges a planning fee. The reality is that everyone operates their business differently, and I have taken time to travel the destinations within my specialty, meet with vetted partners, and educate myself on products and experiences available.
By charging a fee, I am being compensated for my education and it allows me to prioritize your proposal and dedicate the necessary time and attention to detail for each client.
While there may be no upfront fee with other advisors, they may be promoting certain products with the highest commission rates. By charging a planning fee, this allows me to remain impartial and solely work in your best interest.
And to be quite frank, no one deserves to work for free!
“MY FRIEND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED A SPECIFIC HOTEL. I WANT TO STAY THERE BECAUSE THEY HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE.”
I appreciate your friend’s recommendation and their positive experience at that hotel. It’s wonderful to hear about firsthand experiences.
As a travel advisor, my goal is to ensure your trip is tailored specifically to your preferences and needs. While your friend had a great time at that hotel, I can provide additional insights and suggest alternative options that may align better with your travel style, budget, and desired amenities.
I can also leverage my relationships with various properties to ensure that your stay is personally tended to. I’m happy to provide the proposal with your friend’s recommendation, but I’ll also make sure it is a good fit based on our conversation and your specific trip.
“WHY CAN’T YOU PROVIDE ME WITH COMPONENT PRICING?”
I understand your desire for component pricing, and I appreciate your interest in understanding the breakdown of costs.
As a travel advisor, my focus is on curating comprehensive travel experiences rather than just providing individual component prices. I take a holistic approach to trip planning, considering various factors such as accommodations, transportation, activities, and additional services to create a seamless itinerary tailored to your preferences.
By bundling these components together, I can leverage my industry relationships to secure the best overall value for your trip. This approach allows me to negotiate exclusive discounts, access special promotions, and provide a level of personalized service that goes beyond simply quoting individual prices. Our in-destination partners, many times, are contractually unable to release the component pricing to us in order to protect those negotiated rates and their contracts.
I understand that this is a new concept for someone who may not have worked with a travel advisor previously, but I assure you that this is standard within the industry. My goal is to ensure you have a hassle-free and exceptional travel experience while optimizing your budget.
If you have specific cost-related concerns or budget constraints, I’m more than happy to work with you and provide insight on how we can adjust the trip in ways that would impact overall pricing.
Does this help you understand working with a travel advisor who charges a planning fee?
Hopefully the answers to these FAQs give you a better understanding of how we work, why we do what we do, and how the investment is worth it! DWD doesn’t charge a fee to con you out of more money, we aren’t used car salesmen. Working with a travel advisor that charges a fee is a benefit to YOU! We charge a planning fee to help you get the most out of your trip, help you know we have your interests top of mind, and to ensure you that you are getting the service and care you deserve!