Travel Agent……. Do I really need one?

Admit it…… it goes through your head every time to start to think about a Walt Disney World vacation. Who needs to work with a travel agent when I can make my reservation right on Disney’s website! I’m going to save my money and do it myself!

OK…… you may be right…… or you may be wrong. Let’s look at a scenario and compare vacation plans. This is a true comparison that I did with a potential client that was traveling to Walt Disney World for her second time. She had been to Walt Disney World as a teenager and now married, with two little ones of her own, she decided she needed to take her kids to experience the magic of Disney.

This lady has seen me posting on Facebook and contacted me with a private message about two months ago. For the sake of this blog post, I’ll give her name as Gwen. Not really her name but easy to type!

Gwen’s message went like this…….  “Hi, I see you are a travel agent that specializes in Disney travel and I’ve been looking and trying to plan a trip for next spring and I wondered if you would be so kind as to give me a few pointers. I don’t really need a travel agent to book it but I want to make sure I am getting the best deal. Is there a resort that is better than the others? Thanks.” (at least she included a cute little smiley face at the end.)

My reply….. “I’d be happy to help you plan your magical trip to Walt Disney World! When would you like to travel…… Who will be traveling…. ages of any children, what is your budget….. will you be flying or driving…… do you have a favorite resort?”

Gwen replied….. “we want to go in the spring time…. me, my husband and two little girls, ages 4 and 6. We want to stay in the cheapest hotel so I’m not sure of our budget but we want to be there, do it all, see it all. We are so excited!. We want to do it as cheaply as possible. We will be flying in from the northeast…… Boston area….. and we’ve heard great things about the Grand Floridian….. is that place expensive….. can we get a good view of Cinderella’s Castle from there? My daughters would love it!”

Several warning bells were ringing in my ear upon reading this. If you are a travel agent reading this, I can tell you are shaking your head. You experienced this same type of client many times.

1)…… she is looking for free advice. While I am a nice guy, I’m not going to tell her everything.

2)…… she does not have a real idea of what she wants or can afford…. just dreams, which is alright. She wants a magical experience for her daughters but doesn’t realize how expensive it is going to be.

I tell Gwen….. “the Grand Floridian is an absolutely beautiful resort and they do offer a view of the Castle but it is very expensive. Can I get you a quote for that resort and maybe suggest some alternative resort?”  She doesn’t reply for a day or two.

She finally messages me back….. “I priced out the Grand Floridian on line…… WOW…. it is expensive! We can’t spend that much money.”

I reply….. ” would you like to look at some alternatives?”

Gwen replies….. “sure…. which one do you suggest I check out?”

I reply…… “If you are going to do this on your own, check them all out…… if you are asking me to work with you in planning your trip and booking it for you when you are satisfied, I’d be glad to do it.”  No reply for two days.

Finally, a new message arrives from Gwen…… “my husband and I talked it over and we would really like to book this trip through you, but……. we would really like to use the money it would cost to maybe pay for a dinner with the characters. Sorry”

I reply…… “my experience and planning services do not cost you any extra. You will pay exactly the same amount through me as you would pay directly to Walt Disney World. Disney pays me for helping you have the most magical trip possible! I can save you time, money and heartache and your daughters will enjoy every minute of this trip. Let me know when you are ready to get started. I’ll send you a planning request form to fill out which will give me the information to find the best deal for you. What email address would you like me to send it to?”

Another day goes by and Gwen says…… “can we do it without the form?”

By now I’m shaking my head. It can be frustrating to work with people but I also know that people are going to be hesitant.

I reply to Gwen…. let me email the form to you……. it will give me the important information I need to give you an exact quote…… complete the form without putting in any of the credit card info and we can get started. Once your satisfied you can complete the credit card information and we will get you booked. If you are not satisfied….. it hasn’t cost you anything.”

An hour later the email arrives and Gwen had completed everything except the credit card info and I begin work. I look at the offers that Disney has announced. I am suggesting something for her that I think is very affordable and I’m sure her daughters will be very happy.

Two offers came together very quickly…. One for Port Orleans Riverside, Royal Guest Room, Garden View, 6 nights with five day Park Hopper Tickets and Memory Maker for under $3,400. The next quote was for Pop Century Resort, same everything for a little over $2,700.

I message Gwen the details of both offers and she doesn’t reply. I wait………… and wait……….. and wait. Two days later she replies…….. “My husband and I looked at both offers. We looked on the Disney website and you are right…… they are the same price. But I think we will book the Royal Rooms through Disney though. Can you help us with our dining reservations though? Thanks.”

I reply…….. “I don’t know why you would book through Disney but thank you for contacting me. I will not be able to help you any further unless you make the reservation through me. I’d be happy to take care of every detail of your trip but I will not do it for free. Once again… the only money I make is when Disney pays me a commission for booking your vacation and seeing that you and your husband have decided to book it directly through Disney, good luck and I hope you have a magical vacation.”

I see Gwen posting in our Facebook group, “We’re going to Disney World”, asking questions about, resorts, dining, buses, fast passes but I stay away from making any comments. As far as I’m concerned, I am done helping her with details.

Several days later……..  Gwen sends me an email with their credit card information and says, “please make our reservations for the Port Orleans Resort and please pay the $200 down for us now.” She also sends me a list of desired dining reservations and fast pass ideas. She says….. “she is sorry that she didn’t realize how much work and knowledge it takes to plan a trip.”

Truly fit for a princess.
Truly fit for a princess.

Port Orleans Riverside, Royal Guest Rooms

I get her reservation done and email her with the confirmation and then help her find the right flight out of Boston. Once they have their flight booked I make sure her Magical Express Bus service is reserved. Her dining reservations are secured and believe it or not, she got every single reservation she desired. I only hope her fast pass list goes as smoothly.

Did Gwen need to use a travel agent for this trip?  Yes she did. Her trip would have been a disaster for her and her family.

But to be honest….. not everybody needs a travel agent. The work can be done by themselves if they have enough experience and keep up with changes at Walt Disney World. If it is your first, second or even third trip within five years, you can benefit greatly by working with an agent.

If you go every year and it’s your sixth trip…… you can do it yourself without enduring too many problems. But isn’t it nice to sit back and let somebody else with training, experience and knowledge make your plans for you, when it cost exactly the same money?

Contact me today and we can get started, no matter how much experience you have. I might surprise you with the best trip to Walt Disney World you’ve ever had!

Contact me today and let me help make your trip to all Disney destinations special!
Contact me today and let me help make your trip to all Disney destinations special!
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