Virginia Beach area travel agents give a tour of their business
Why should people plan a trip through a travel agency?
Eason: "You get to talk one-on-one with a person. If you book online and there's a problem, it's very hard to get someone on the phone. And online won't give you all the personal attention and details that an agent would."
Who we talked to
Dawn Eason, manager
634 Hilltop West Shopping Center
Virginia Beach, Va.
Sudha Agarwal, agent
Guardian Travel, Inc.
813 A Professional Place Ste. 107
Bonnie Nelson, agent
1201 Laskin Road
Virginia Beach, Va.
Agarwal: "They can get on the Internet, but sometimes they make a mistake. And sometimes there are penalties that are impossible to fix if they use the Internet."
Nelson: "Agents are experienced and can help find the best deal. They may bring up items of consideration they haven't thought of before."
How do you charge?
Eason: "It depends. If they're just booking an airline ticket, there's a service fee. If we book a package for them, then the tour company pays us."
Agarwal: "If we do the whole package, we're paid by the companies. If the companies charge too much, we'll separate the airline tickets and charge a small fee."
Nelson: "If we sell a package trip, then the wholesalers pay our fees. Working with wholesalers gives us the best deals available."
How do you help customers narrow down their travel destination?
Eason: "It's decided by what they want to get out of their vacation, then we go from there. We see what locations might fit their needs. If they tell us the type of activities they're looking for, we can give them specific brochures."
Agarwal: "First I ask them their budget. Then I can give them brochures and I take time to explain the different companies and options."
Nelson: "I find out how much time they have and how much money they want to spend. We also offer brochures and travel guides."
How far in advance do people need to get their passport?
Eason: "If you know you're going to travel anytime this year, I'd apply for it now."
Agarwal: "Three months."
Nelson: "If you have any intention of leaving the country, just get it."
What's the one travel tip you always give customers?
Eason: "Make sure you have your proper identification."
Agarwal: "Travel light - don't take too much stuff."
Nelson: "Take everything you're going to need for 24 hours in your carry-on."
What's one place you recommend everyone should visit and why?
Eason: "The Caribbean, because the weather is nice and the water is blue."
Agarwal: "Cancun - it's very reasonably priced."
Nelson: "The Grand Canyon because it's one of a kind."