TRAVEL AGENT 101: FAQ
What is Alpaca Your Bags Travel?
Hi! I’m Ashley Morris and I’m the owner of Alpaca Your Bags Travel, a full service travel agency. Our name is funny but our service isn't: We plan amazing family vacations, destination weddings and honeymoons primarily in Mexico, the Caribbean in Hawaii. In 2016, my team and I created vacations for over 150 families at a sales value of over $600,000.
How will a travel agent help me after I book?
Unlike a big box store or online site, we don't abandon you after you pay! We're here along the way to answer questions, help book excursions or day trips, help you with packing and travel questions and take special requests for celebratory surprises, pre-booking dinners or spa appointments and more.
When you depart for your trip, we track your flights and help resolve any problems or delays you may have. Finally, we are your advocate when you arrive on property and after you return home. Don't like your room or view? Message us and we will try to fix it. Not happy with service from the staff? Let us know and we are on it!.
Will a travel agent save me money?
Have you ever bought something only to find that it wasn’t what you needed? Didn’t it stink to feel like you wasted money? This is what we want to avoid. We help our clients avoid costly mistakes and get the exact dream vacation they’re looking for.
Why Use a Travel Agent When I can do it myself?
My simple answer is this: You probably don’t cut your own hair, fix your own car, represent yourself in court (ha!) or treat your own illnesses. You visit a hair stylist, an auto repair expert, a lawyer or a doctor.
Travel agents are experts in their fields.
While you may spend hours researching online, they know the answers in minutes. We invest thousands of hours of training and complete lengthy certification programs to become experts in our niche. We travel and inspect properties several times a year to make sure they are exactly as they should be.
There’s no need to waste time and stress yourself out with the overwhelming options.
Travel agents also have partnerships to negotiate special deals, secure extra values like room upgrades, resort credit and more.
Finally, agents are skilled problem solvers and consumer advocates. We reroute flights when there are delays, we get clients moved to new rooms if there are problems, and we help get money back if there are major crises. We can also work with you to insure your trip and help protect your vacation investment. Travel insurance is one of the most misunderstood consumer protections. You need it, trust us!
Is it expensive to use a travel agent?
NO! In fact, you’re probably already paying for one and not getting the benefits.
If you book a trip online, your rate actually already has the travel agent commission built in. If you book direct, that commission goes back to the giant corporation, not a local business.
When you book with a travel agent, you pay the *exact same* rates for your cruise, hotel or resort, but you probably get a LOT more for your money. Your family benefits from our years of expertise, our access to the industry, our ability to fix problems and advocate on your behalf. Since you’re paying anyway, why wouldn’t you book with an agent and get the service you’ve already paid for?
Finally, when you book with a travel agent, you’re supporting a local business, putting dollars into our community and for us, supporting a military family.
Why Should I Use Alpaca Your Bags Travel?
We are a local, client focused, community minded company. We dedicate our lives to finding the perfect vacation for YOU. We appreciate our loyal clients and love that they keep coming back!
What are your certifications?
I graduated from the Travel Leaders of Tomorrow program, one of the premiere travel schools in the United States. I’m also a member of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association (DWHSA) and more.
Becoming a travel agent is a career, not a hobby. Don’t be fooled by multi-level marketing organizations that offer “Free trips and perks!” with very little training. A true, qualified agent has invested years to make themselves the best agent they can be. They have also invested in trade memberships, certifications, professional insurance and the property business licensing.
Read More About our Team Here!
How do travel agents get paid?
Travel agents are paid by supplier commissions, not by the client. This means that we are paid by the hotel, cruise line, tour operator or resort. There is no incremental charge to use Alpaca Your Bags Travel for planning individual solo, couple or family vacations.
One note: Travel agents are only compensated for their work when the client books through that agent. If you take our work and book through a competitor or an online agency, we are not compensated. This is a huge bummer after we spend dozens of hours working on your personalized recommendation.
Due to the specialization of Destination Weddings, we do charge a small planning fee. Please contact us for more details
What will I get when I work with Alpaca Your Bags?
We work in many ways, depending on the client's needs. For quick and last minute trips, we can be nimble and send recommendations within just a couple of days. For larger trips and Destination Weddings, you will most likely receive a personalized recommendation package that looks something like this. Click here to see more!
Do you have payment plans?
Yes! We know that a vacation, honeymoon, wedding or romantic getaway is an investment. In most cases, we can help you place a deposit for as little as $149 per person, depending on the destination and dates of travel. After the deposit is made, our clients make monthly payments until the balance is paid off, typically 45 days before travel.
Compare that to an OTA (Online Travel Agency)... most OTAs require FULL payment at booking! This is just another way that working with a travel agent adds value.
I'm traveling with a group but I think I've found a better deal elsewhere. Will you honor it?
Great question! We are asked this question a lot. Group rates are a great way for a large number of people to travel together and get more for their money. Destination Weddings, Vow Renewals, Birthday Celebrations and Family Reunions are all examples of groups that can benefit from a group contract.
At Alpaca Your Bags, we always want to get you the most bang for your buck. That's why we are happy to price check and potentially price match a promotion if its within the terms of your group agreement.
However, we will caution you that most deals are not always what they seem.
It's important to understand how online travel agencies (OTAs) work. Online travel sites make their money by re-selling remnant inventory at a lower price. These are rooms that the resort property cannot sell on their own, because their own clients do not want them.
After all, someone has to get the crappy room in the back of the property, 20 minutes from the beach and facing the dumpster. When a resort knows they cannot sell a room, they will re-sell it to a wholesaler who then flips it to an unsuspecting client. If you're not careful, that client is you.
When you see a "great deal" online, check the following:
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