How do I find a good travel agent?
Make sure that you are interviewing the travel agent. Not a salesman. Those that you see, especially from some larger Travel Management Companies (TMC) are skilled in selling. They may have been travel agents at one time, but they are salesmen.
Any travel agent - big or small - is only as good as the person who answers your call and deals with your request. It is this person that you need to see. What experience they have - and travel is one of those businesses where experience of years counts much more than anything else. You are not looking for bright young ideas, you need a wily old fox who knows all the wrinkles. You need a holistic thinker, who can look at what you are trying to do and think of the best way of tackling a problem - not an order taker.
If you have to call your agent and tell them exactly what flights to book, where and when - then you do not have a travel agent. If you can call your agent and say "Next week I need to go to Paris, New York and Los Angeles and the meetings are at 11:00, 15:00 and 09:00 on such and such a day - fix it for me" you have a travel agent.
You must have confidence in your agent, having told them what you like (and dislike) they should be able to take these points into consideration, they should have already considered visas; if, say a train is better than a flight - or even a car and considered a hotel. You must feel you have the confidence that the arrangements will work. Finally, you must be able to get hold of your agent when you need to, not some call centre - *your* agent.