Travel Advisors Share Their Top Testimonials

Clients Write why they love travel advisors

All too often, travel advisors are unsung heroes, working behind the scenes to help create many travellers’ memories of a lifetime.

Within the industry, we know how valuable travel advisors are and we tout the value of working with travel professionals. But sometimes it feels like we are in an echo chamber. We hear it over and over again, but it is hard to know if the outside world is listening. Do travellers value their travel advisors’ contributions to these cherished moments of their lives?

We asked travel advisors to share with us their favourite client testimonial, and we heard some powerful stories.

The praise is clustered in themes that strike a chord for many travel advisors, like new friendships, saving the day, going above and beyond, and making a difference for clients.

On Travel Agent Appreciation Day in the most difficult era for travel, we hope these testimonials remind Open Jaw readers why they are in this business… and that clients do value their hard work.

Some testimonials have been edited for length and clarity.

WHAT’S YOUR TOP TESTIMONIAL? PLEASE SHARE IT WITH US IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

Travel Agent Testimonies
Clockwise from top left: Natasha Rhodes, Valerie Balderson, Kristina Tovell, Robert Townsend, Simone McKinney, Gena Ray, Danuela Freel, John Skelton, Katherine Poon, Maria Viviana Urso

“Like a Rockstar”

Krista Tovell of Tovell Travel in London, ON, says, “This is my best review because not only has Rosemary become a close friend and recommended several people to me and has also become a repeat client and for this booking there was a little bit of everything to showcase my services. This specific booking, although air only, made me look like a Rockstar based on all the services I had to provide…and it shows in Rosemary’s review:”

“Krista is absolutely amazing to work with. She booked the flights for our then 12-year-old daughter when she traveled to The Netherlands by herself and helped us with the forms we needed to fill out. She also booked the flight for myself, I traveled 2.5 weeks later than my daughter to surprise my brother on his wedding day. The company I booked with went out of business, and Krista was right there to help me book the flight with another company to make sure I arrived on time. Where it would have been extremely stressful, she took care of everything and my stress was non-existent. Highly recommended!”

“She became a great friend… laughing in the back of the bus”

Maria Viviana Urso at Voyages Concierge Deluxe Travel in Lachine and Westmount, QC, provided this testimonials, one that many travel advisors can identify with:

“When I had learned that my church was organizing a trip to Israel, I was very intrigued. However, I had never been on a trip with an organized tour before. I was pleasantly surprised during my stay in Israel with everything already planned out for me. The sheer volume of places visited, the ease of all the traveling from one point to another, as the constant communication that Maria provided was definitely appreciated! Not only she was an awesome organizer, but she was professional, personal, and approachable throughout the entire process. Not to mention that she became a great friend laughing with me in the back of the bus.”

“My travel ‘angel’”

Natasha Rhodes, of Rhodes Less Travelled in Calgary, sent Open Jaw two treasured testimonials:

“From my longtime client, Mary: Natasha is my travel angel as she is so innovative and knowledgeable. She knows my favorite travel companies but offers me ideas as to what else is available for the area that I wish to travel to. Travelling is a breeze as I know that all the details have been taken care of with Natasha taking care of everything. I am so lucky to have her as my advisor.”

And a 14-year old sent to Africa by his grandparents wrote this about Natasha, which they shared with her:
“Thanks for the Africa trip that you arranged for us with Natasha. Despite my many, many, maaaany concerns, it turned out to be really fun and a trip that I’ll never forget. I’m pretty sure that I was the most afraid (and I’ll admit, amazed) when there was a lion within three feet of me. I don’t think that many people are going to fully believe that. The food was great, the same with the accommodations, and the animals came close to trumping it all. I rode a freaking elephant. Like, a real, full sized, terrifying, take you down elephant. It could have eaten me. The lion could have too. Despite all the ways I COULD have died, at the end of this endeavor; I honestly think I can say I’m glad we didn’t go on the British river tour. Oh, and grandma: you can FINALLY have a picture of me smiling normally to prove to your friends I am a real person. – Seth”

“Stepped up”

Gena Ray is with Direct Travel in Montreal. She got this powerful praise after she saved the day in March last year, when the pandemic was causing cancellations and many advisors spent countless unpaid hours repatriating clients like these:

“On March 17, 2020 , after securing our own flights to get out of Valenica, we received an email from (one airline) that the Valencia -Geneva leg of our return was cancelled, contrary to (another carrier) who fielded all calls, granted with hours on hold – (two other carriers) simply did not take calls . Since we had booked more than 24 hours prior, a reimbursement was declined despite that they were the ones not providing the service. We were $$$ out of pocket. Our guardian angel aka travel agent, Gena, stepped up, and after many hours worked secured a reimbursement for us. ALWAYS use a travel agent and if you need one I can refer a good one.”

“A new tradition”

Katherine Poon, of Fun in Paradise in Western ON, shared this story with Open Jaw:

“A new client had reached out to book a family vacation for this Fall. When asked if she will be celebrating any special occasion on this vacation, she answered “a new tradition going forward on Oct. 3”. I called her and learned that she had lost her husband on October 3, and would like to take the kids and family where they had last spent their vacation before her husband had passed, to remember the good times and not the sad times.

“I could sense her grief and heartache over the phone and asked myself what I can do to help this family heal and celebrate her husband and their father. Long story short, I have decided to reach out to the resort and confirmed they could plant a tree at the resort to create memories at no cost.

“My client was over the moon with the attention to detail, empathy, and personal touch. After our brief chats and a few email exchanges, she expressed no issue paying a professional fee working with me going forward, as she sees the value of working with a reputable, caring, and knowledgeable travel advisor.”

“This is where she really shines”

“The reason I especially like this testimonial, is because it truly captures the essence of my (undercover) planning resulting in a successful trip for my clients,” Simone McKinney, an advisor with Travel Edge, told Open Jaw, sharing this testimonial:

“Honestly, I never saw the value in travel planners or agents before Simone. I mean how hard is it to book flights and hotels, right? We reached out to her to help plan our Christmas trip (where I planned to propose although my fiancée Kayla didn’t know). This is where she really shines, covert ops with me, while still planning the other parts with Kayla. She made a private international engagement at the top of a mountain during COVID and Christmas happen, then helped me plan every moment of the day from couple massages to private dinner, where we were served by the Chef himself. Everyone at the resort knew what was happening and when, she made sure they were all in on keeping it secret, and making it special. Kayla was an instant celebrity after the engagement. Unreal special.

“It’s rare to find anyone who ‘stands out’ anymore. But if you’re reading this, you have.”

“More than 5 Stars”

“The testimonial that always makes me smile is the one from a client who employed my travel advisory services for the very first time,” says Valerie Balderson at Life Travelled Well, in Ottawa and Toronto.

She told Open Jaw about a client with a series of misadventures that put her into full-on firefighting mode on behalf of her client: picking up their house key from a neighbour to fetch forgotten glasses to attempt to courier to them, rescheduling missed flights to get the client to New Orleans in time for their cruise departure, and even locating a nearby optician where they could get emergency, last-minute eye test and contact lenses.

“They did have an amazing vacation!” Valerie told Open Jaw. “He told me if he could award me more than 5 stars he would. He had always DIY’d his travel…it was his partner who knew of me and my services, and he was reluctant at first; especially as I am fee-based. However the problem solving and rapid rescue services that he experienced using a travel professional cemented his belief in the importance of the service – and that made his testimonial all the more meaningful.”

“Masterful”

Travel Edge advisor John Skelton provided this testimonial from his client Kelly: “John is masterful at learning what the client wants and tailoring the trip to their interests and not his. I’ve worked with several agents and none have John’s firsthand knowledge of just about anywhere you want to go. I’ve yet to name a place—no matter how obscure—that he can’t immediately provide feedback on! Highly recommend!”

“Would recommend him to anyone”

“It really makes you feel extra special when someone says that they would recommend your services to someone else. There is no better compliment in the world!! That’s very important to me as I thrive on referrals,” explains Total Advantage Travel & Tours’ Robert Townsend in Toronto. “I would say that this is the best testimonial I ever received:”

“Robert is the only travel agent I will ever use. Friendly, reliable, knowledgeable and always available to help I have booked with him for a long time and I would recommend him to anyone and have sent friends and family his way. We are never disappointed. Just got back from Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba. Thanks to Total Advantage travel again for a great vacation pick. Beautiful resort, great price.”

“A credit to your profession”

“I am grateful for all my wonderful clients. They truly make me rock!” says Danuela Freel from Four Points Travel in St. Catharines, ON. “What made this testimonial special is that it was a brand new customer. Unfortunately during the pandemic, she was not able to travel with us. Although her trip was not completed her kind words were more than uplifting during this ever so difficult period in my 30-year career:”

“Just wanted you to know that I did get a full refund… I was slow to apply. They were timely with the refund! Thanks again for the honourable way you acted in not collecting final payments for a trip which in all likelihood was going to be in advisable. Sandra and I really want to visit Italy when this amazing trip can be offered again. You are a credit to your profession! I look forward to your help when it becomes safe to travel abroad.”

Lynn Elmhirst

With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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