5 Signs You’ve Found A Great Corporate Travel Agent

The term ‘travel agent’ is regarded by some as a part of the past, as though the idea is somewhat passé. This, of course, is the furthest thing from the truth, and nothing brings home this point more than the role of the corporate travel agent. This person/entity is pivotal in working with a very different client that needs to top-notch amenities and facilities. For businesses looking to have the upper hand in their industry, having the right corporate travel agent can make all the difference.

Here are five ways to tell that you’ve got not only a good, but a great corporate travel agent:

1. The agent is connected in, and to, your industry. Your agent should have a deep understanding of your business. By knowing how your industry works, your agent has a better way finding venues that work best, what services are essential, and above all else, what makes your company be unique.

2. Your bottom dollar is also their bottom dollar. A great travel agent not only understands your budgetary demands, but he/she tries to find all value available when booking for your company. Their flexibility extends to everything from last-minute travel to relaxing getaways and finding the right price.

3. Your agent reminds calm, composed, and rational regardless of the situation. No matter the chaos, he/she handles the smallest details with ease. Even in the midst of any number of travel scenarios, a great corporate travel agent keeps his/her cool and has a solution at the ready.

4. The right agent operates under your company’s travel policy. Much in the same way that travel experts advise would-be travelers to set a budget and make a plan, great travel agents at the corporate level are able to navigate all necessary travel request while maintaining the integrity of your company’s budget and policies.

5. The agent is able to readily handle every size of client. This day and age requires companies of all sizes to travel so as to make the right connections. Unfortunately, small companies tend to be ignored because they don’t have the larger budgets other companies do. No company wants to feel ignored. At the same time, bigger companies need to know that even though the travel agent accommodates small accounts, their larger needs won’t send the agent into a tailspin. Great agents and agencies do both without dropping the ball.

Bonus Point: A great agent/agency understands your company’s need to maintain privacy. When seeking the right travel agent for your company, always be sure to inquire about their policy and procedure regarding private data. It’s important to keep in mind that not only are you depending on your agent to work with sensitive information with the utmost respect, but your employees are trusting you to do the same in all facets of the business.

Finding the right corporate travel agent takes work and an exhaustive desire to find the best agency for your company’s needs. Ultimately, your hard work will be rewarded with stress-free travel planning.

Find Good Travel Agents – 7 Qualities Of A Good Agent

Traveling to Japan is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some people, while for others it is a regular occurrence due to having business or family ties in Japan. Either way, when traveling to Japan on business or for personal reasons you want your Japanese trip to be the best it can be.

Experienced world travelers know that finding a good travel agent to help you plan your trip is a smart way to ensure that it will be a success. No matter how many Japan guidebooks you have read or Japan tourist brochures you have flipped through, none of these valuable resources can keep up with the ongoing changes in the travel climate of Japan.

With thousands of travel agents to choose from, you will want to find just the right Japan travel agent for your trip. It is important to know which qualities and characteristics for look for as you plan your trip.

To help you choose wisely, here are 7 qualities and characteristics of good Japan travel agents to help you plan your upcoming trip:

1. Belongs to a good network of air carriers, tour operators and hotel partners:

Travel agents these days are connected and networked in a way that they could not have been before the age of the Internet. However, having a computer and an Internet connection are not sufficient qualifications for being a travel agent that can get the best deals. For starters, good agents belong to networks of airlines, tour operators and hotels that offer them (and their clients) the best rates.

2. Speaks both English and Japanese:

It is a huge benefit if your agent can fluently speak your own language, as well as Japanese. This way, they can handle your planning needs while staying in touch with their own network of operators in Japan on a daily basis.

3. Is knowledgeable about your travel insurance options:

You may or may not require travel insurance, but it is a good idea to find an agent who can offer you travel insurance coverage options and who can competently recommend a customized plan if asked.

4. Has offices in your home country and in Japan:

Many of the larger agent networks have offices internationally. Once you have actually arrived in Japan, it would be convenient if your travel agent’s company had offices in Japan that you could call for help or advice in a pinch.

5. Has personally used the services they recommend:

Travel agents who actually have been on the tours and use the carriers they recommend are the ones you can trust. They know from experience what they are talking about.

6. Regularly travels within Japan:

Your agent will be able to give you the best recommendations if he or she actually travels within Japan at least 2-3 times per year him or herself.

7. Keeps themselves up-to-date on the latest Japan travel trends:

Good travel agents specialize travel in certain parts of the world or certain countries. Rather than finding a jack-of-all-trades travel agent, find one who has the time to study, connect and stay up-to-date with what is going on in Japan.

Look for these 7 qualities and characteristics in a Japan travel agent. Be bold and ask the agents you interview their qualifications and background before agreeing to work with them.

How to Tell a Good Travel Agent When You See One

You and your spouse have decided to go on a vacation. You’ve always wanted to get really away, and a trip to the relatives just doesn’t cut it any more. How do you plan your trip?

You could go online and dig around for travel tips (which you’re doing right now, unless this article is in a physical magazine). You will find more information online than you can possibly use–and some will be contradictory. How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Every place will say it’s the best place to visit. Everyone will claim to have the best discount. No one will tell you the gotchas. (Some places do have negative comments, but how do you know if the comments aren’t just sour grapes?) What if price X changes while you’re looking at price Y? What about hidden costs, problems you might not think of, secret discounts you don’t know about, and pitfalls in processing your documents? Many dangers lurk in planning travel beyond your usual haunts. And don’t forget–all that research takes time. What’s your time worth?

You might visit a travel agent. Travel agents have a reputation for being expensive. After all, they have offices and all those fancy travel books and posters. As it happens, those ads and brochures are supplied by the cruise lines and travel companies. They pay the agents, too, normally. If an agent needs to charge you for a service, they will tell you up front. if you’re in a travel club, you can expect the agent to reduce or eliminate the commission, and have a ready supply of club discounts, further reducing the price. Ask yourself: What’s a travel agent’s knowledge and experience worth? They know the ropes, the pitfalls, the tricks of the trade; they have access to all the discounts, and they’ll save you time and stress–after you get to know a travel agent, one phone call can take care of everything.

Of course, you have the same problem picking a travel agent as you do making travel decisions online: Who’s good? For that matter, what is good in a travel agent? And how can you tell?

Here are a few ways to take the measure of a travel agent.

Are you connected to the agent? (This rule is good when you consider hiring a realtor or a funeral director, too.) If you know someone in the travel industry, they are more likely to want to give you exceptional service. After all, they see you socially. Maybe you know where they live. Good travel agents can be relatives, acquaintances, friends, and friends of friends.

Is the person well traveled? If they have been to where you want to go, all the better, but travel experience of any sort seasons a person. A travel agent who has personally been around the block a few times is a font of wisdom and advice.

Is the person detail oriented? Not necessarily neat (that is a good thing), but notice whether they find your file immediately. They should know where everything is and not have to hunt for things. You don’t want an absent-minded professor for a travel agent. You never (okay, hardly ever) see a good travel agent surprised by something, and they keep their promises about when they’ll have something for you. They are ready when you show up after that first, introductory meeting.

Is the agent you’re working with responsive? Do they answer phone calls and emails promptly? This is a must. Even if all they can say is that they need more time, they don’t make you wait for a reply.

Are they cost efficient? You can tell this by the number of choices they present you with. A lazy travel agent won’t research multiple options, won’t hunt for the best price, won’t spend any more time than necessary working up your vacation. You see them look up one thing and give you a price. A good agent will hunt down good deals, think of options (a nearby nice location that costs less, for example) that you didn’t consider, check with several wholesalers. Good agents give you a lot to choose from.
A good travel agent can handle a lot of that before-vacation hassle, and make your next trip more enjoyable while it’s happening.