Should I use a travel agent or book online myself?
The common thought is I can book a hotel, airline ticket, car rental etc. online myself so why do I need a travel agent? Mention the phrase “travel agent” and most people can’t imagine why they would ever use one. Let’s start with some facts.
Did you know?“In the 45 days prior to booking travel—from beginning research to final purchase—the traveling American visited a whopping 140 travel websites. No seriously, that is a not a typo.” “How much time does this add up to? Well the report indicates that in the six weeks prior to booking, Americans consume 22.95 hours of digital travel media.” Recent data published by Expedia documented that American travelers spend of 8.7 BILLION minutes of travel planning and booking time per year! Not only do they save time, a travel agent takes the stress out of travel planning and dealing with any issues that may arise while you’re on the road. If you get stranded because of a canceled flight, it’s way easier and much nicer to be able to call your travel agent and have them handle it than you having to deal with an airline.
Let’s talk about price.I know what you are thinking… “I can get it cheaper prices online and travel agents just book with the places where they get the highest commission not what’s cheapest or best for me.”
- Many times, online booking engine prices do not include taxes and fees until checkout. So, if you see a room at $100 per night, it usually is the lowest room price category. Then when you go to check out even that lowest room there are additional taxes and fees. Sometimes there are even fees additional fees not collected until you check out of the hotel too. Travel agents provide a full price quote for their services and fees and full travel costs before the final payment is made.
- Online travel engines also know when a traveler is booking. Thank you, Mr. Technology! If you are attempting to book a hotel on your home computer or your phone there are those wonderful things called algorithms. They will sniff you out and BAM prices change quickly and usually not for the benefit of the traveler. Agents have a constant price because they log directly into a non-fluctuating system.
- Travel agents can also open doors to reservations, experiences, and activities that you might otherwise not be able to find on your own. A good agent is often able to get a hotel room with the hotel website or front desk says they are “full”.
- As far as, booking you in places with on the highest commissions… well, if they did that they wouldn’t have any clients. An agents goal is to get you the best possible trip, so you tell all your friends and still feed their family in the process.
Did you know?All the online booking engines, or hotels have a built in travel agent fee anyway? So, if you don’t use an agent then that extra money is just going in the company’s pocket… why not give it to a person who has a family just like you? Think supporting a small business.
A few other ways a travel agent can benefit you.
- You can pay a deposit and pay in installments.
- Travel agents tend to have many early booking incentives from vendors.
- A travel agent can put trips on hold usually free of charge for at least 24hrs.
- Travel agents create and overall better travel experience,