The situation is very ordinary: you have decided to go on a trip, but you do not feel to shop your destination yourself. No one around you is competent to help you, so you decide to go through a travel agency and call on a travel counselor. It is a great idea, these travel professionals are there to help you find the best holiday product, at the best price, according to YOUR parameters.
But be careful, before pushing the door of the first agency come, it is advisable to take a closer look. If word-of-mouth and recommendations from those around you are the most common way to find an advisor, you can also investigate yourself.
The reflex ACTA
One of the first things to do is check out the Canadian Association of Travel Agents (ACTA) website and check if the agency you are interested in is a member. To do this go to the database of the site. In the other direction, you can search for an agency according to the destination you have chosen, your travel mode. Some agencies are indeed specialized in holidays in the south or in Africa for example. In the agency you should see the ACTA logo if it is part of it. Do not hesitate to ask the question, it is a token of seriousness.
The experience of others
Word-of-mouth and recommendations from family circle and friends are one of the most used ways to find an agency. Ask them about their experience, and again, ask questions based on your criteria. Is the agency good in counseling, accompanying once the trip is purchased, were there any things that were wrong, do counselors quickly answer questions? Choosing an agent is also a story of trust, but confidence is acquired over time. Hence the interest of multiplying the information with your entourage.
The Office of Consumer Protection
When you are dealing with a travel advisor, make sure that you have a valid certificate from the Consumer Protection Agency . This check is especially important if you make a purchase from an advisor who does not work on the agency premises. The Travel Counselor Certificate is an official document issued by the Agency which certifies that the Councilors are aware of their obligations and responsibilities with respect to the sale of travel. To achieve this, the advisors must pass a review of the laws and regulations applicable to the travel industry. By doing business with a board certified advisor, you ensure that you work for a licensed travel agency.
To see if your advisor is competent, let him / her know your choices / desires and see what he or she is saying. Do you want an active ecotourism trip? Or stay in a cozy all included? Tell her your criteria. Paradoxically, a good advisor will not necessarily answer everything, if that is the case it may be that he will seek to sell you a trip at all costs. Some advisers are indeed specialized on certain niche products. Their expertise will be sharp but selective. Others will be more competent on more traditional destinations. As in the medical profession, there are general practitioners and specialists.
Ask the Advisor
Once the agency chooses, do not hesitate before signing for the trip, to ask any questions you want the advisor. Find out if he has visited the destination himself, ask him about his experience, how long he has been doing this job, the countries he knows best, has he visited recently, or ten years ago ? Counselors are there to help you choose, but are also there to sell trips. Do not let yourself be seduced by beautiful words and answers too vague.
It is not only the price of travel that will tip the scales. Ask your advisor what fees will be related to your file opening, what fees and service charges are expected.