Curious about what it would look like to work with a Disney-specialized travel agent?
“I don’t have time to write out a response to this, but here’s a blog post you can read about what I do.”
This was the response I got the first time I ever considered using a travel agent.
Like you, I was confused on how this worked – it seemed like there had to be a catch. This person would plan my trip for me, do the work, and do it all for free? What could she actually do for me? What would I still need to do? How does this process even work?
I had a lot of questions, and instead of answers, all’s I got was a link to a blog post and a paragraph all about how many awards she’d won.
Needless to say, she didn’t get our business.
If you’re like me and are wondering what it’s like working with a Disney-specialized travel agent, this blog post was created for you.
And yes, I do realize the irony of me creating a blog post after being upset that a different travel agent sent me to a blog post. If you’re interested in working with me – you won’t just get sent to a blog post when you have questions, I promise you that. This is merely for those doing research and not wanting to reach out.
No shade to this other agent either – now that I understand how this industry works, I get why she was so frazzled and pressed for time. And now, it’s time to let you in on how this all works as well – so that when it comes time to work with a travel agent, you’ll understand more about how it all works.
Travel Agent Industry Behind the Scenes
Most travel agents advertise that working with them is free to you – and for many it is. But that comes at a different kind of cost.
See, the way the travel industry works is that an agent is paid a commission from the destination. Typically, these commissions are … not large. Let’s be real – the destination doesn’t want to have to pay out a commission to an agent when their customers likely would have booked that trip anyways. And who can blame them?
Let’s do a little math. On average, I make about $200 per client from a destination. (Keep in mind this is an average. Some clients will bring in significantly more, some won’t bring in anything based on commission structures.) In order to make a decent income – let’s say $50,000 for the year – I would need to book 250 trips. That’s 21 clients per month. Can you imagine balancing and planning for 250 clients’ dream trips in one year?!
On top of that, most travel agents have a host agency, meaning that they got their business set up through someone else’s agency. When they do that, their host agency takes a cut of their already small commission … meaning they need even more clients to earn a living.
All of this leads to three things … agents have to take on more clients than they are truly capable of handling (leading to dropped balls), and/or they have to really encourage their clients to book a better package (in order to get a bigger commission), and/or they have to turn away clients whose trip dynamics wouldn’t provide a large enough payout to protect their time.
All of which is why I decided two things when I started my business:
1) I wasn’t going to work with a host agency. Instead, I just started my own.
2) I was going to charge a fee for my services. I can go deeper into my reasoning behind this another time, but my ultimate goal was to be able to not need to take on so many clients to make a living.
What does that mean for you?
Well, if you wanted to work with me, yes there’s a fee. BUT – thanks to my business structure, I don’t have to take on tons of clients. Meaning that I’m here to give my clients all of the attention that their trip deserves — regardless of whether or not I make a commission off of their vacation.
Why Work with an Agent
You might be wondering – why work with an agent? Is it required to go to Disney? Do they have special deals or perks that you couldn’t get for yourself? Do they have insider knowledge?
No, no, and no.
The largest benefit of working with a travel agent is that you don’t have to do the work yourself.
Planning a trip is exciting but can also be a lot.
Do you really have the mental capacity to add one more thing to your plate?
If you’re like most of my clients, the answer is no. You want a vacation, but you just want someone to do it for you.
When you add in a Disney destination on top of all of the other vacation tasks, there is a lot of research you’ll need to do. It’s a complex vacation, and it’s always changing. And lately, it’s changing more rapidly than ever.
Working with a Disney-specialized travel agent means that you don’t have to worry about doing any of that research. You can bring all of your questions right to them for a quick answer -saving you more time and mental energy.
What your agent can do for you
So, you know that a travel agent can help by taking things off your plate. But what exactly can they take off your plate? This list isn’t all-encompassing, but it’ll give you an idea of the kind of things a travel agent can do for you.
- Listen to your wants/needs for your trip and do the research for your best options
- Narrow down the best options so you can choose without overwhelm
- Book your hotel room and park tickets
- Make your dining reservations (saving you from having to be on your computer at 6:00 am Eastern time)
- Make your park reservations
- Make the calls to Disney for you (and deal with the hold times for you)
- Create an itinerary so all of your important trip information is in one place
- Send you a packing list
- Remind you when payments are due
Like I said, this list isn’t an extensive list, but it gives you an idea of just how much a travel agent can take off your plate for you.
Travel agents really don’t get special discounts for their clients?
Sadly, no, but this seems to be a common myth in our industry. The pricing that I see and quote to clients is the same exact pricing that they would see if they were looking it up themselves.
When your job is to book and plan trips for other people, and you’re spending hours every single week on the Disney website, that immersion can pay off. For example, when Disney puts up new discounts, a travel agent is much more likely to see that than you are – and then that discount can be retroactively applied to your already booked vacation.
Just last month I was able to save a client $136 thanks to exactly that. Could she have found the discount and done it herself? Absolutely. But when discounts came out, I automatically tried to apply it to every one of my clients’ trips to see if I could save them any money. And because I’m on that website every day, when new discounts come out, I tend to notice.
All-in-all, it’s definitely not a requirement to work with a travel agent for your Disney vacation. But, if you’re looking to let someone else worry about the details so that you don’t have to – I’d love to help plan your next magical escape! Learn more here about working together.