Why Use a Travel Agent?
There are many people that ask the question, why use a travel agent? This is a good question when there are so many online travel sites. Booking is easy online if you know how but that’s where the simplicity ends. Simple travel booking from point A to point B can usually be done online certainly, but that’s where the simplicity and service ends. Booking with a travel agent is simple and you’ll be able to know all the best, latest travel deals available. Just what exactly are the benefits of using a travel agent versus booking online?
1) Wealth of material available, all under one roof.
Travel agents are kept abreast of the latest deals in flights, hotels, tours, cruises, all inclusive vacations, travel by coach and train. You can’t find all that information on one website. They are also aware of price saving last minute deals you won’t find on a website.
2) Travel agents provide a personalized service for free or for a small fee
Nobody works for free these days and most travel agents will charge a nominal service fee for their services like any other professional. However, what you get for that fee is hours of personalized service and research for your next vacation. You’ll also have someone to call when something goes wrong such as the airline or hotel overbooks. A travel agent will be at your service to find you another hotel or flight or deal with the airline directly.
3) A travel professional will spend the time to research the perfect vacation for you.
You may already have an idea of where you want to go. Next stop should be your local travel professional. They can save you hours of travel research on what flights to take, what hotels to stay in close to the area you want to be, what tours you might like to take.
4) Who do you call when something goes wrong?
Good luck trying to call an online travel booking website when something goes wrong. If you find a contact number on the website, it’s usually to a web designer, not a travel professional. Online travel websites do not generally have a customer support line available.
5) Travel professionals have an education in travel and they are usually licensed and definitely insured as a business professional.
One of the nice things about using a travel professional is that they are trained in the travel industry and, depending on where your travel agent is located, they are usually licensed. This means they pay a fee, they are covered by insurance and they are responsible for the travel they provide you. You don’t get this by booking online.
6) Getting the route right.
There was once a man who flew to Turkey and his route was complicated enough because his destination was not the usual Istanbul or Ankara. His father fell ill during his visit and had to go into hospital. This traveler wished to change his return flight. He had booked online with one of the big online booking sites. In order to change his flight, he had to call someone at the online booking website. It was difficult enough to find a telephone number on the site. When he did, he was told to call somewhere else and then somewhere else again. When he finally got through to a human being, he was put on hold again and again. The result of his eight hours on the phone trying to contact customer support at a travel website? He lost the full fare of his return flight, had to pay another $1000. What was worse, instead of flying through Europe, the online travel website booked him from Turkey with an 8 hour stopover in Moscow and then more stopovers in Europe – just to get back to his home in Toronto Canada. Perhaps the online flight booking system thought Moscow was near Canada. You would never get this kind of confusion and extra charges with a travel professional.
7) Best to use a travel agent. You never know when you will need to change your flight or hotel enroute.
Again, this is a common occurrence and problem when using an online travel site. There’s no one to telephone and online bookings are non-refundable. You’ll lose what you’ve paid and have to pay for the change and the new booking. If you book with a travel professional and you need to make changes – they can do it for you although the airline will charge a penalty fee. Hotel bookings are refundable when made through a travel agent, if you cancel or change your booking within the required time (usually 24 -48 hours ahead of the reservation.
8) All the deals in ONE PLACE.
Travel agents are updated daily on travel deals by all airlines, resorts, all-inclusive vacations, hotels, tours. You’ll find the best deals from a travel professional as well as last minute specials.
9) Do you have special needs?
If you have special needs and need to make sure all your travel arrangements are accessible, take my advice and use a travel agent. A travel professional will know whether a travel provider or hotel has accessible facilities and can contact them personally for you.
10) Group travel, corporate travel, weddings and your entire family travel are best done through a travel professional. Organizing group travel or corporate travel is an exercise in logistics. Attempting to do this on your own is not only difficult, but it needs massive organization and the ability to book for many people. If each person is paying their own way, travel agents book through secure credit card systems.