Travel agents can make life a lot easier, whether you are planning a short trip or going around the world. They have knowledge, insight and connections that can help save you money and time. Not all travel agents are created equal however. There is limited oversight in the travel industry when it comes to agents, meaning that just about anyone can claim to be a travel agent. Here are some things to look for in a professional travel agent.
1. Travel Agency Association Membership
In order to belong to a Travel Agency Association, a travel agent has to adhere to a certain level of standards, practices and ethics. This ensures that their clients are treated fairly and with integrity. Two travel agency associations to look for are the Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA) and the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).
2. Certified Travel Counselor Certification
The CTC or Certified Travel Counselor Certification is the travel industry’s highest level of achievement. To achieve this certification a travel agent has to have worked in the industry for at least 5 years and undergone an intensive educational program.
3. Airline Ticket Accreditation
Airline Ticket Accreditation programs allow travel agents to directly issue airline tickets, which can save you both time and money. Airline ticket accreditation programs are available through the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This form of accreditation is 100% necessary for a good travel agent, but it can certainly help.