The days of the ‘brick and mortar’ travel agencies have given way to ‘point and click’ travel searches. Many people, especially those under 35, don’t even think of a travel agent when it comes to scheduling a vacation, family reunion or other travel.
In the ‘age of the internet’ everyone assumes that they can find the best deals by shopping online. While that might be true for household or personal items, electronics, clothes, etc. it is not the case with travel. Let me explain.
Use Them, Don’t Hire Them
In most cases you don’t hire a travel agent, you use them. It will not cost any more to use a travel agent than it would to book online. In fact, as you will see later in the article, you will often pay less.
There are some travel agents who will charge a small fee to do work in preparation for booking, usually $50 depending on the amount of work needed to be done. This is done because there are times when a travel agent is asked to help, they spend hours making the necessary preparations and then the person either decides not to go. It is almost like an insurance policy to weed out the inquisitors from the serious client.
Do you know who Barry Diller is? He is the multi-billionaire that people pay commission to every time they book with Expedia. When someone books a hotel, cruise, all-inclusive resort or other vacation and travel item with Expedia Barry profits from the purchase.
What? Did you think there wasn’t a profit motive for Barry?
When you use a travel agent it will not cost you any more, and often times they can find you a better deal or get you some perk. The client will save time and the same commission that Barry would have received stays in the local economy.
Travel agents are usually in the business because they love travel. They enjoy reading about it, watching programs on it, taking courses offered by destinations and suppliers and, most of all, experiencing it themselves. And how better to serve the needs of their clients.
They are constantly receiving training from providers so that they can better serve client needs. In this way they can ‘qualify’ a client (find out what they really want) and make educated suggestions regarding where to stay, what to do, what to avoid, and, generally, add value across the board for their clients.
If a travel agent does not have personal knowledge or training for a desired trip, they do have access to other agents through professional organizations who will gladly provide input and assist in maximizing the client experience.
Time is money
If someone knew they werer not going to pay a penny more for their vacation, would it make sense for them to ‘use’ someone else to do the leg work for them? How much is their time worth? Would your time be better spent letting someone else spend the time to research and book their trip and provide their documents?
Estimates are that people spend 23 hours planning their vacations. That is half a work week that is basically wasted. Couldn’t that time be spent more productively?
Pricing, Pricing, Pricing
Did you know that resorts and cruise lines will not post a price on their website that is better than a travel agent can get? A travel agent can get the exact price that is listed on any cruise line or resort, BUT they may be able to get a better price in the travel agent portal once they login with their exclusive credentials.
They also may be able to negotiate a spa credit, cabin credit or some other perks that would not have been available online. The potential to get these intangible addons is reason enough to make it worthwhile to talk to a travel agent and they may be able to get a better price for you once they login to the travel agent portal with a vendor than you can get online.
Knowing that using a travel agent won’t will save you time, won’t cost you any more, will expand your options and help the local economy, doesn’t it make sense to use them?
Next time you are planning a getaway to a sandy beach, a mountain resort or a cruise, allow us to make it hassle free.