You’ve been waiting for the chance to again have an overseas holiday, visit friends and relatives, or lock in that important business meeting. You are finally ready to turn those plans into reality – however, you are asking yourself questions like: “How do I pull it all together to make sure I haven’t overlooked anything?”, “Have I found the best prices?”, “Is this airline reputable?”, “When am I going to have the time to book this”, or “Are there still any Covid-19 regulations I need to follow?”.
Although you’ve travelled before, concerns about whether you can find the best value for money, whether it will tick all your boxes and a lack of time are hindering you. On top of this, there are so many options (that always look great online!), it can be hard to know who to trust, let alone what to include or exclude.
While there are hundreds of travel websites at your fingertips, making travel agents seem unnecessary, this couldn’t be further from the truth. As Travel agents we offer a range of services, and have the practical day-to-day experience and tools to manage travel logistics. We also have access to specialist wholesalers with in-depth and unbiased knowledge of destinations and activities. In this article, we discuss the benefits of working with a travel agent.
The benefits of using a Boutique Travel Agent
Even an experienced traveller can benefit from sharing their plans with a travel agent. Think of that feeling of excitement when you bump into someone at a BBQ that has just come back from the place you are planning to visit – now imagine if that person could plan and book your holiday too. There may be no feeling worse than booking a holiday only to find out you have missed out on great information, advice and deals.
- Simplify your inbox by dealing with just one person (your travel agent). Save time (and free up some headspace) by letting your travel agent coordinate with different providers and present a consolidated solution to you.
- Over time your Travel Agent becomes familiar with your travel style and expectations – be surprised when you are pre-seated on the aircraft and your gluten-free meal is already ordered.
- You’ll get access to your travel agent’s specialist wholesale partners who (like your Travel Agent) are just as enthusiastic as you are about the destination you are heading to.
When you book with your travel agent, you have peace of mind they are available if something unexpected comes up. Avoid the frustration of being on hold with an overseas call centre.
Booking your airfares with Fine Travel
You may be aware that from December 2021, the airlines that service New Zealand progressively announced that due to the impact of Covid-19 on airline profits, they would be cutting costs by significantly reducing the commissions paid to all travel agents.
This reduction in commission raises the question of who the travel agent provides services to, and who should pay for it. Even though it was the airline paying us commission, at Fine Travel we see ourselves as independent advocates for our clients’ best interests – not the airline’s. The itineraries we prepare were not influenced by the commission and our primary obligations are based on our clients’ needs.
We’ve reflected on the services we provide our clients, the value these services add to the process of booking airfares and how our services differ from other options for booking airfares (such as directly with the airline). The feedback we have received is that we save our clients time, reduce stress when things go wrong, and provide reassurance, particularly at a time when international travel is complex.
While many of our services are obvious, there are things we do behind the scenes to ensure your travel affairs run smoothly. For a typical airfare booking our services include:
- Personal consultation service with your dedicated Fine Travel Consultant / Broker with at least 10 years industry experience. Your relationship is with one person who builds up a history of your travel preferences rather than waiting on hold for an overseas call centre or navigating a website chat service.
- Researching and presenting options with one or more airlines (including prices and routes) using our direct access to airline reservations systems. This can include holding seats while you consider the itinerary.
- Once an option is chosen, the following is arranged with / provided to the airline:
- Tickets are issued with names as per passports and required client contact information submitted to airline
- Seat pre-selection (where available)
- Frequent flyer program details loaded
- Special meal requests made
- Add-ons like requesting a wheelchair, the Emirates’ chauffeur service or Singapore Airlines Book the Cook.
- We provide you a consolidated itinerary including:
- Flight details (departure / arrival times, stopovers, flight numbers etc).
- Confirmed details (seats, meals etc)
- Stopover information
- Baggage allowances
- Important travel information (e.g. Safe Travel registration, check-in requirements)
- Any accommodation, cruises and transfers booked through Fine Travel
- Airline cancellation / change policy
- Ongoing monitoring of airline schedule changes and updating tickets / itinerary where required.
- Hard copy of documents on request
- Covid regulations
- Passport validity advice
- Vaccination requirements
To continue providing these services we have introduced a Professional Travel Services Fee. The fee varies depending on the complexity of the itinerary and the services required. It is generally no more than 3.5% of a Business Class airfare to the UK / Europe.
Our point of difference
Fine Travel is a full-service travel agency that provides bespoke travel services to leisure and business clients in New Zealand. Located across the country, Fine Travel Consultants love sharing their industry and personal knowledge to provide you with the best itinerary, tailored-to-you travel experience. Covered by the International Air Transport Association’s bonding regime and a member of the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand, we take the stress out of planning and booking travel, giving you precious time to pack for your trip, rather than dealing with all of the logistics details.
Forget managing your bookings alone. Instead, choose to work with a Fine Travel Agent who will save you time, money and stress, ensuring your holiday experience is of the highest quality.