There are a myriad of ways to search for and book your own travel. So why would you even think about using a travel agent? After all, doesn’t that cost more? The answer is: Sometimes, but that should not deter you from considering it. Here are 10 reasons that you should use an agent instead of doing it yourself:
Travel agents know the market and, if they listen to what you want, will be able to match you with a better product than you can find on the Internet.
If something goes wrong on your trip, a good travel agent will go to bat for you — no matter who is at fault — and try to get your vacation back on track. The person at the online booking site, assuming you can get in touch with one, is not so motivated.
Travel agents have access to a variety of tools that the average consumer is not able to use or doesn’t know about. They can sometimes get you a better seat on an airplane, added amenities at hotels, room upgrades, event tickets, and plan activities for you.
Your time is valuable and you shouldn’t have to spend it searching for the right vacation. A travel agent can do that for you. They can match you with the vacation that you actually want, not the one that you saw on television. There is a difference between travel inspiration and actual travel desires. Destinations may look good on TV but not actually be ideal for you personally. Travel agents can help you define what it is you want to get out of a vacation.
As you develop a relationship with your travel agent, they are able to target the right trips for you without even having a conversation. Ideally, a simple phone call or email could result in your next vacation — already planned.
Often, travel agents can save you money based on their supplier relationships — or at least match the price you find — while saving you time and effort. There are also hidden savings built into trips. A travel agent will likely book transfers for you, included in the price. Sometimes a package that you book yourself won’t include those, making the experience appear cheaper.
There are a lot of value-adds that consumers don’t even know about that can be added by a travel agent. Ever wonder why the couple in the cabin next to yours got champagne and you didn’t? They probably used a travel agent.
Travel agents have inside information on the best times to go to crowded destinations and they sometimes even know what the new “it” destinations are going to be before the masses. Want to get there first? Use a travel agent.
Some tours and experiences are only available through a travel agent. Many companies offer a lot of components and simply want to make sure a customer is right for their experience — exotic tours, treks, private jet products are often only available through an agent.
They are Awesome
Travel agents are some of the most well-rounded, funny, personable and knowledgeable people you’ll meet
OK, I made the last one up, but you get the picture. When you book that “cheap” trip online, do you know the class of service you’ll be getting? Do you know what to do and who to call when something goes awry (and it will at some point)?
But how do you get paid? Do you just mark up the trip and pass the cost on?
No, actually we work on commission from the suppliers. They pay us to bring them customers, so the cost is borne by the vendors and not the clients. Sometimes an agency will charge a “planning fee” up front when they are working with a client. This is to help cover the costs of doing a lot of legwork and then the client deciding to book the trip themselves based on that work, and the agent never gets paid. Many times this fee is credited back to the client on their booked trip, so it is really a deposit of sorts. Sometimes a small markup is added to airline-only bookings because there is actually no commission at all on those. But generally a trip will cost you the same or less than if you booked the same trip online, but with the added convenience and security of having someone on your side.