Our Villages

It takes a village to raise a child is a proverb that we’ve all heard. It means that it takes an entire community to interact with a child so they can experience and grow in a safe, healthy and enriching environment.

What I’ve learned over the years that this does not apply to just raising a child. I have witnessed and experienced a village of people come together for EVERYONE. When one was in need, they all jump in and provide. It’s a family extended and there’s no limit to have far they can reach.

How does this relate to travel and being a travel agent? The travel agent community, believe it or not, works in a similar way. I still hear almost weekly “You’re a travel agent?! I didn’t think they existed anymore.” Well, the reason we are able to exist and thrive is because we have a village. We network, make friends and connections throughout the industry and support each other.

Having a village of our own gives us an advantage that most people aren’t aware of.

Discovery Travel belongs to a host agency consisting of over 5,000 agents. That host agency belongs to a consortia, Travel Leaders Network, which has nearly 7,000 other agencies. This is only one consortia. That ends up representing about $17B in sales. The resorts, cruise lines, tour operators and destination management companies do NOT want to risk losing that business.

So, what happens is bookings and reservations that are made by people within the village have the backing of others in the village that work at these resorts, cruise lines and such.

In the case of resorts, there is a term “getting walked” which means that the resort may “walk” (move) a guest from one resort to another if they are at or near capacity. The resorts, knowing how much value the village brings to them, will do everything they can not to move a guest booked by a village member (travel agent). So, who is left to move? It’s the guests that have less representation. Those that book using an online Travel Agency. You know, the Dot Coms. Or, worse yet, those who book direct on their own.

You spend One day traveling TO your destination and getting settled in, and one day traveling home. Do you want to spend the better part of a day, or more, on the phone trying to get a problem corrected? Even if you booked with an online travel agency, you’re going to be calling a call center and speaking with someone that doesn’t know you AT ALL. You may end up explaining the situation over and over again.

Not every situation can be prevented and, just like the rest of life, things happen. It’s when these things happen that it’s good to have a village.


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