What About Those Online Travel Reviews?

There are multiple reasons why using a Travel Agent can be beneficial to your planning of your next vacation. I am going to only touch on one of them. This is regarding Online Travel Reviews. How can consulting with a Travel Agent help you plan your next trip? The answer is:


As a Travel Agent we travel to different destinations, resorts, and experience different tours and excursions. This is what I have done in multiple countries. Since I have become a Jamaica Specialist in 2016, I have had the opportunity to visit 25+ resorts in a 10 day time span in two different years at an extremely great price. My first opportunity was when I was a travel agent under the “LoveShack Vacations” Brand. I visited all 10 Sandals and Beaches Resorts in Jamaica, still great rates.

I was just having a conversation with a client planning their destination wedding. I made suggestions for resort options and one statement that she said is….the resort had “wishy washy reviews.” With this statement being made I wanted to reply back to her about Online Travel Reviews.

I responded by giving some examples.

  1. I stated that some people have traveled more than others.
  2. Some have visited more resorts and have higher expectations.
  3. Everyone does not read the fine print or details about the resort. They see a great vacation package deal and jump on booking it to find out it isn’t what it says it is.
  4. A Resort Brand, my example was Sandals Resorts. Each resort is unique. Just because you visited one Sandals Resort, does not mean you will like your next.

One example I gave to my bride was of the experience I had of visiting 2 resorts located next to each other. When you go on the website it says they are next door to each other. Well I visited the resorts that were “next door” to each other. This is what I found out. You must climb some steps to go to the next resort and take a walk across a bridge to get to the other resort that shares amenities. Most importantly, restaurants and The Spa. What did I do? I video-taped my walk for future potential clients to see. Do you find this helpful?

Prior to visiting these resorts, I assumed they were next to each other, just an easy walk, no climbing stairs and walking across a bridge. Do you think that I would send a person to this resort if they had minor mobility issues? NO, of course not. This is why a Travel Agent visits resorts, Hands on Experience.

I spoke to the bride about a resort brand and my example used was Sandals Resorts. Each resort is different and unique. Some are more active, boutique, and budget friendly, so just because a resort brand is an amazing brand, it may not be the best fit for you. Another example I have is from a Jamaica. This Resort Brand is a 5 Star Resort as that is how it is rated, including the resort I stayed at. However I was not impressed with the service provided. In other cases you cannot assume “The Brand” of the resort, means the resort is in the best condition, be it the property, needing to be updated, accomodations, or service provided. Here is another reason why you cannot believe all those Online Travel Reviews, and perhaps a Travel Agent who has visited or stayed at the resort would be a better person to consult with.

Travel Agents go on FAM (familiarization) trips to visit and stay at different resorts. This is how I visited 35+ resorts in Jamaica and revisit resorts to see the new renovations. We do this because we want to provide you HANDS ON EXPERIENCE. I have been there so I can say I learned about the layout of the resorts. Speaking to a potential client “It is a bit hilly, is that something you can handle? “I’ve stayed there and experienced what the resort offers. I been to this sightseeing excursion and I had an amazing time.

You can do your research online. You can read the good and bad reviews, but wouldn’t you want to talk to someone who you know has been there and experienced the resort, cruiseship and itinerary, or a tour of a destination. Travel agents qualify their clients and ask multiple questions to find out what their interests are, what they want to do, what kind of experience they want, and if there are any food allergies and if there are any handicapped travelers.

To my potential client, I can say, I have been there. I think this resort would be a great option for you because…

I am affiliated with 4,000 agents. No one has visited every destination possible, but what I can say is, if I have not been there before, I know of a travel agent who has been. They can provide me pictures. They will tell me the pros and cons of the resort. I know the questions to ask my potential client and find the best option possible whether it is a resort, cruise, excursion, or one of The Top 5 Ways of Touring the World.

This is just 1 Reason why a Travel Agent can be Valuable to you regarding those Online Travel Reviews. If you are interested in finding out what it is like to work with a travel agent Contact Me!

Laura Gibson
Destination & Tour Specialist

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