Why should I use a travel agent to book my trip instead of booking it myself on the internet? This is a question I had to answer recently for a potential client with whom I was speaking to for the first time. As a travel professional, I get this type of question a lot.
In this article I will reveal to you how I answered this question and how you can benefit from using the services of a professional travel agent versus booking your own travel online using a travel search engine.
1. Save time.
Sure you can spend hours, days, even months researching destinations and going from website to website in order to plan your own travel itinerary, but why would you want to do that? Time is a precious commodity that we can never get back. While you are spending all this time doing research and going from website to website to see if you can get a better deal, you could have more easily picked up the phone to have a travel agent do this research for you.
Professional travel agents are trained to do this because it’s their job. A travel professional can do all the research, coordinate all the logistics, and put together a complete itinerary for your trip in a fraction of the time you can do it for yourself.
2. Use the agent’s knowledge and resources.
Travel agents are trained travel professionals. It’s their job to know the ins and outs of popular travel destinations. Although there is a ton of information on the internet readily available to the public, travel professionals have first-hand knowledge of many or most of the destinations you may choose to visit.
Secondly, travel professionals often have resources to inventory, special offers, and discounts available only to travel professionals to offer their clients. By using an agent, you’ll be able to take advantage of these resources.
3. The travel agent advocates for you should something go wrong on your trip.
Let’s say you have booked a flight and hotel online on one of the highly-advertised travel sites. Bingo! You’re all set. Or are you?
You check your confirmation and realize that you booked the wrong date. So you call customer service and you wait and wait; then finally you get a customer service representative who then tells you that there’s a fee to change your reservation. Okay so you pay the fee, after all you don’t have much of a choice.
The day comes for you to catch your flight. You get to your destination, but your luggage does not. The airline has lost one of your bags. So you’re stuck again with a problem, and call customer service again. You get to your hotel to rest from your long day, and find that your hotel room isn’t ready. Here you go again.
Now I’m not implying that a travel agent could have prevented all of this, but as a member of the travel industry, travel agents have special relationships with travel vendors. A complaint call or letter from a travel agent is more likely to get an expedited response than a letter from you, because of the agent’s relationship with the travel vendor.
I know what you’re thinking. You think that you’ll pay more to use a travel agent. It’s an incorrect assumption to think that using the services of a travel agent will be more expensive than booking your own travel online. Although some agents charge a service, the benefits of using a professional travel agent far outweigh the risks of not using an agent.