“I’ll just book it online.” Those words were once thought to be the kiss of death for the travel industry. And in all fairness, there isn’t much you can’t book online yourself these days. From hotels, to luxury yachts to a Disney Parkhopper, with the click of a mouse, your trusty credit card and some simple planning, you can throw together a fun getaway. So why bother with a travel agent? Well, it’s not always so simple and the savings aren’t always there – Here are a few ways a travel agent can save you money!
When Sh*t hits the fan, you want us in your corner!
When I was an agent, I can’t tell you how many times I had individuals call me in distress because they had booked something online, something went wrong, and now they were facing the Great Wall of “Sorry, it’s non-refundable.” Online booking engines are not in the business of great customer service, they’re in the business of selling travel in bulk! What happens when you book that amazing Caribbean holiday, and you arrive at the resort not to welcome drinks and someone to grab your bags, but instead, a set of doors, criss-crossed with “closed for renovation” signs? This is a true story! It happened to a family of 8 who were going down to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate a wedding anniversary! They phoned the website it was booked on, and they were told there was nothing that could be done!
A travel agent will not only go to bat for you, they will work to find you an alternative immediately, and work to get you a refund. It’s their job and their livelihood depends on it.
Yes, they can actually save you money!
There is a misconception out there that travel agencies are more expensive, but that just isn’t the case. Many agencies offer price matching policies, better flight routings, highly competitive contracted airline rates, negotiated accommodation rates, the list is endless. And remember, just because that last minute all-inclusive to Cancun is advertised at $599, that doesn’t mean it’s the whole story – always read the fine print!
Knowledge Doesn’t Have a Price Tag
Travel agents are treasure troves of destination knowledge. They may not have necessarily travelled to all 7 continents, or over 100 different countries, but think about all those clients they’ve booked before you, and all the research that went into orchestrating those trips. My clients would come back to me time and time again because I could tell them exactly how long the line up for the Louvre is in the middle of August, or where that amazing Italian restaurant is in southern Bali. Good travel agents are walking, talking guidebooks, tap into that!
We actually love what we do!
I don’t know about you, but sitting down in front of someone or chatting with someone over the phone about an upcoming trip is a million times better than interacting with an emotionless computer screen. A travel agent will listen to your needs, consider your travel style, think of things that you won’t, anticipate your needs and listen to what it is you really want to get out of your holiday, because at the end of the day, your satisfaction is what feeds them the most. We all have something in common with our clients, we love to travel!
Worry free planning
Complicated itinerary? Can’t decide on whether to spend five days in Paris or seven days in London? Leave the dilemma up to them, and they will help you decide. I would get a number of clients who will call in on a rainy day and say, “I just want to escape somewhere hot, for x amount of dollars.” Sure, you can sit around perusing websites (and we’ve all been there), or leave it in the hands of your trusty travel agent to show you creative options.
Do you have a great story to share about a travel agent that went the extra mile?