“Why would I need a travel agent when I can book everything online?”
If I had a dollar for every time I heard that or read that, I could quit selling travel and wander the world full time. With the plethora of online information at your fingertips, it would seem that booking that dream trip to Hawaii or all-inclusive getaway to Mexico is easy as pie. But before you jump on those rock-bottom cheap travel deals, or entrust some random booking engine with your credit card, find out why travel agents are still relevant in 2018.
REASON #7 We Save You Precious Time
There are those who love to hunt for a good bargain, but ask yourself, do you really have the time to properly research your holiday? The latest Google travel study found that when it came to planning their own holiday, the average user visited some 380 websites, typed in 34 different searches, watched 5 videos and took just under two months to book a single trip. You could spend that kind of time online shopping for a new vacay wardrobe, playing with the kids or focusing on work. Travel agents are trained researchers. It’s what we live and breathe. Leave the heavy lifting to us; We’ve got this.
REASON #6 The Best Valued Fares Are Not Always Found Online
It’s no mystery that travel agencies book in bulk, which means we often have access to negotiated rates and fares that aren’t necessarily offered to the public. The other important factor to consider is value. Sure, you could book that 42-hour, double-connection flight to Bali for $850, or we can find you an 11 hour, single-connection option for $925. We see value, where you may just focus on price. See a tour you like, or a cruise you’re desperate to take your family on? Consulting a travel agent could mean the difference between having some extra spending money in your pocket or pushing your budget to its limit by not focusing on the bigger picture.
REASON #5 Get the VIP Experience
When clients ask me why travel agents are still relevant I always ask them in return: When is the last time an online travel company gave you a VIP experience? As a travel agent, the focus is always service. If my client is trying to make a decision about a flight, I offer them a complimentary seat-hold to buy them some time. Because I belong to one of the largest travel consortiums in the world (Ensemble), for clients who book certain hotels within my extensive international portfolio, they benefit from extra amenities and goodies like included breakfasts, complimentary spa credits and late-checkouts at no extra charge. Travel agents provide end-to-end service, you won’t get that from an online booking engine.
REASON #4 We’ve Been There…Literally!
Most travel agents are not only research experts, we’re experts in the art of travel. You can supplement your own research with a guide book or blog post or two, but if you’re planning to take a safari in southern Africa, there’s nothing quite like talking to someone who’s already done it and can tell you the difference between a good safari company and a superb one. Travel agents are destination specialists. We’re constantly training, attending conferences, meeting with tourism and destination reps, and reading travel news publications – The world of travel is constantly changing (ex. travel bans) and it’s our job to stay ahead of the curve.
REASON #3 You’ve Got Problems – We’ve Got Solutions
Travel agents are problem solvers. We sort out complicated routings, maximize budget requests, coordinate large groups, and when things go wrong, we are the calm voice on the other end of the phone, an email or text. Whether you’ve lost your luggage, need to re-route because of winter storms in your connecting airport, need help starting an insurance claim while in destination, or need a decent list of restaurants to impress clients, we’ll do the dirty work so you can get back to enjoying your holiday.
REASON #2 Group Travel is Easier With a Travel Agent
Do you know how many things can go wrong with the planning of a group trip, a wedding or family holiday? I could list them out, but we don’t have all day! I once had a bride plan her own Costa Rican wedding online. She and her forty-five guests arrived at the resort in Papagayo only to discover the resort was partially closed, only half of her guests had confirmed rooms, and the wedding planner double booked her wedding day. The website she booked through made the initial deposit for the wedding but forgot to process final payment. Because I work outside of traditional agency ours, the bride caught me on the phone. I had some blocked rooms at a neighboring property, was able to transfer her and all of her guests and snag the services of a fabulous wedding planner to salvage her day. The devil is in the details – Always entrust your special group trip to a seasoned travel agent.
REASON #1 Travel Agents Think Outside the Box (We can customize anything!)
Not everyone is interested in a pre-packaged all-inclusive in Mexico, nor do they necessarily want to be bussed around Europe with 40 strangers. Travel agents are relevant because they closely follow the ever-changing travel trends in order to meet the varying needs of their clients. Whether it’s organizing a villa in the south of Spain for that multi-generational family reunion, creating a customized itinerary through Southeast Asia for a group of college students, or brainstorming up an unforgettable bespoke tour through wine country in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley for the gals, travel agents take great care to ensure your experience is everything you dreamed it would be.