In this age of technology, you may find it quick and easy to book a trip online. You may be saying why should I use a travel agent. Booking online is fine when things go as planned, but what happens when you have a problem? Who will you call?
What would you do if the hotel has lost your reservation? What would you do if the car rental agency has run out of cars? Specifically, who are you going to call? Who is going to help you? The hotel? The car rental company? They don’t care. You’re just one person. Losing you as a guest or a customer is no big deal. Basically, you’re on your own. About all you can do is hit the streets and hope that something comes up…
If you book through a travel agent, all you have to do is make one simple phone call and everything will be taken care of. Will the hotel assist your agent? Will the car rental company assist your agent? Of course they will, because now they’re dealing with someone who has the potential to send either hundreds of guests, or no guests at all. From a purely business perspective, a travel agency can send thousands of dollars, or even tens of thousands of dollars, or no dollars at all. Suppliers support travel agencies because they send them business.
And remember, it is not just about price. You look to travel agents to provide the best match for your individual travel needs. By asking a lot of questions up front, an agent can determine your needs. This can include dates, quality or location of the resort, info on your stateroom, cancellation policy, things to do at your destination, the ease of doing business, etc. All customers are different. So you will be treated as an individual. What works for one client many not work for another.
Saving money is not just about price. It is more about value. If the hotel was not the right location, if the cruise line was not the right cruise line, if the golf course was not the right golf course, it does not matter how much you saved. You can save a lot of money and be miserable or spend a little more to have the perfect vacation. A travel agent can recommend different resorts and provide cost saving strategies. Moving a date, changing the location of a room/cabin, being open to flight options, etc., all can save money. Nobody wants to pay more than necessary so an agent will help you find the best value without the sacrifices of booking a cheap trip.
If you work a fulltime job, why do you want to spend hours on the internet trying to book a trip. If you have an agent that you trust, then you don’t need to spend what little free time you have, searching the web, trying to piece everything together– flights, cars, rooms, etc. In addition, your agent might be working with transfer and car rental companies that you simply don’t have access to, and in many cases, even hotels and airlines that you don’t have access to. An agent is someone who has taken the time and made the commitment to learn the travel business so you don’t have to spend your valuable time planning your vacation.
Let’s finish with a little story that I found interesting
No different than most of the rest of us, Joel wanted a great vacation at a great price. Joel is pretty good on the internet so he spent hours searching for the perfect vacation. Joel also contacted a travel agent who coordinated his entire trip: Airfare, rental car, the resort, and all the excursions. When everything was prepared, the travel agent presented the quote to Joel.
However, Joel felt he could get a better price so he searched the internet for a better deal. He found the package $20 per seat lower so he booked the trip over the internet.
Here is a list of problems that Joel encountered:
On the way to his vacation
• Joel’s flight arrived at the airport in the middle of the night. He booked a cheap flight with several connections and inconvenient arrival and departure times.
• By the time he landed, the car rental company was closed for the night
• Joel’s bags didn’t make it to his destination
On the way home…
• His flight left very early in the morning – because this was cheap flight, he had to leave early and miss a day on the beach.
• Due to the distance from the airport, he had to leave the resort at 3:00 am
• The car rental company was not open yet
This is what happened to Joel because he wanted to save money by booking the vacation on his own:
• Joel had to spend the first night near the airport
• Joel had to spend the last night near the airport
• Joel had to rent his car from a more expensive company
• The website that Joel booked his travel through didn’t offer travel insurance to pay for replacing his missing items
• Joel’s 7-night stay at the resort was now a 5-night stay
This is what happened to Joel’s savings
Joel saved $40 on the airfare by booking it himself
Joel spent an additional $300 on:
• The two nights near the airport
• The rental car
• Replacing clothes and other personal items that never made it to his destination
Joel’s vacation was $260 more than it would have been if he had just booked the package that the travel agent had coordinated.
Travel agents know what it takes to book and coordinate a great vacation. They have the expertise and resources to make a great cost effective vacation. As you now “you get what you pay for”. So do you want to spend a little more for a great trip or waste a couple thousand on the least expensive option? Don’t leave your precious vacation time to the internet. Call your travel agent. It’s your decision.
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