Today, there’s much debate over whether or not it’s worth working with a travel agency when planning a trip.
When asked whether or not a client plans to use a travel agent to book their vacation, the answer usually depends on what type of vacation they’re looking to go on. It is more typical for clients to book their once in a lifetime vacations using an agent, then it is for them to book the little weekend getaway.
When chiming in on the debate, there are quite a few myths out there: People just aren't educated about how travel agents operate, and most people believe that the customized service costs more, “I think you’re more apt to find better prices when you don’t use a travel agency,” one client I questioned told me. The Truth couldn't be more contrary. Travel agents are able to find better price structures because they have the ability to search multiple providers, while the average consumer can't look as globally. Agents are also able to get the upgrades that vacationers are looking for, because of their long standing relationships with the vendors.
Another thing to remember is that Agents can almost always price match something that you find online. This gives you the ability to research a vacation yourself, but still have the support and guidance of an Agent.
Still even with that being said, the challenge for agencies in today’s economy, is when consumers are looking for vacations primarily on a price point, how can they be convinced to drop their self proclaimed expert status and use a travel agent?
There are plenty of reasons consumers should use A Travel Agent.
It is easy to plan your vacation on the internet, but do you want to? will you get what you expect, do you have the time to shop around? and most importantly, for the planner, are you getting the lowest price? The Answer to all of those questions is likely no, and here is why:
Agents can find consumers a better deal on their vacation because of their access to vendors and discounted prices offered exclusively through travel agencies. In addition, relationships built with providers over the years give the agents the upper hand when it comes to getting amenities and upgrades, in other words the VIP treatment for their clients.
Working with vendors also lets the travel agent find better values for customers. What makes travel agencies’ services so unique is the customer service that they offer. A Trip tailored to the needs of a client, and based on experience in the location. Most agents take advantage of familiarization tours and specialist classed to become intimate with destinations, this gives Agents the ability to offer insights and advice that a consumer might not find on their own.
For example, lets say you are going to Thailand, if you book the ticket on line, the cheapest available flight lands at midnight local time. having just been there, I can tell you the the latest public transportation from the airport is 11:30pm, you likely wouldn't think to look up the public transportion schedule, or the price of a taxi, and it wouldn't be until you were already in a cab that you would realize you quadrupled the cost of your ticket, by paying for a cab at that time of the night. Advice like that you just don't find on your own.
If all of those reasons were not enough, The one last reason I have to use a Travel Agent is that they take care of you. If you need to change a flight or book a tour, or if you get stuck in an airport over night, a good travel agent will have a 24 hour access number for you to call. They can book you a hotel, change your reservation or hopefully get you on the next flight out a cleveland, all without you dong a thing. Its part of the Agent's Service to you as a customer, and the biggest reason consumers should use an agency to help plan a vacation.
The truth is this is a great selling point for the good and the bad of vacations. When the client does have a problem with their trip, the first person that they blame is often the Travel Agent. While the agency technically sold the package, they are not responsible for the service that you received on the trip. For that reason, Agents are typically the first to jump in and help, not only out of jam on the road, but if something really goes wrong with your trip and you need to make a complaint, the relationships an agent has with a vendor, will better the chances of your end result.
So in the end the answer to the question "should I use a travel agent" is a simple YES, because if you don't like i said you are on your own.
Elissa Fallo, is the President of Luxury Travel and Vacations. A child of a Travel Agent she has traveled extensively from a young age.
She holds countless Specialist Designations and is an expert in the logistics of both planning and taking vacations that will leave lasting memories.
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