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Travel Agent vs. Travel Designer

Let’s face it- you are fully capable of planning your own vacation. You’re proficient at Google, know how to book your own hotels and surely know how to enter your credit card number into those online forms to guarantee all your reservations. We have full faith in you!

But here’s the catch- you’re also really busy! You lead a full life, and your vacation is supposed to be a reprieve. So do you really want to end up knee deep in a Google rabbit hole about which country has the best beaches? And do you really want to create a second full-time job for yourself, trying to make sure everyone in your group is signed up for all the activities that they’re personally most interested in? We didn’t think so.

This is where a travel professional becomes your saving grace. So, which should you hire- a travel agent or a travel designer?

The easiest way to understand the difference between the two is that travel agents simply book trips while travel designers completely customize every detail of your trip experience. Here are some facts that might help you understand the difference:

An Agent will...

  • Use an impersonal computerized network to facilitate transactions with vendors.

  • Find clients what they say they want.

  • Make hotel reservations indirectly through a computer system.

  • Make bookings through pre-generated computer systems.

  • See clients' preferences in an online profile.

  • Book packages based on price & commission earnings.

  • Book the same experiences for client after client.

  • Book whatever the computer says is available.

  • Take pride in making a successful booking.

  • Ultimately work for their suppliers. (They are paid commission by the vendors, after all!)

A Designer will...

  • Use personal contacts around the world to make reservations.

  • Listen to clients' wants/needs/concerns & collaborate with them to dream up the best possible vacation experience.

  • Work directly with a host or hotel’s team to make reservations with proper amenities & a personalized stay.

  • Rely on personal knowledge, destination experience & detailed research before making bookings directly with vendors.

  • Spend time getting to know clients’ personal travel style, including likes, dislikes, travel history & interests.

  • Seek out the best value for an incredible experience.

  • Plan travel for people with whom they are familiar.

  • Offer amenities, VIP services, customized destination reports, pre-trip guides, trip preparation advice & post-trip debriefings.

  • Take pride in creating a truly memorable experience by going above & beyond expectations.

  • Ultimately work for their clients.

When we think of travel designers, we think of custom curated experiences that turn a vacation into a lifelong treasured memory. Designers won’t provide a copy/pasted version of someone else’s vacation, but a truly unique vacation that is tailored to your personal travel style interests.


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