Why should I use a travel agency?


In today's day in age of information at your figure tips and SO many travel related websites on the internet; you may be asking yourself why should I use a travel counselor ("agent")? Or, Travel Agents have no relevance today. Unfortunately that statement is not factual. The travel industry like all industries continues to change and evolve. New technologies emerge, and ways of doing things change over time. However, one very important thing to understand is consumer travel websites are only able to present you with "published rates and speicals". Airlines, Cruise Lines, Hotels and Resorts, umong many other travel providers have many types of rate codes and packages. Your consumer travel sites only are allowed to display the rate codes for their codes classified as "published". Travel Agencies have access to private codes, rates and packages. Some of these rates are offered ONLY to agents to offer to their clients. Other rates may have restrictions such as requiring the client belong to a trade group such as AAA or AARP, or are only available to people booking as a group typically a party of 8 or more. Another advantage is personal relationships agents develop over time with certian suppliers and have the ability to offer rates or packages that no one else can offer. The bottom line is travel supplies and operators have a unique relationship with travel agencies because they bring them business and they know they are knowledgable about the products, and best to advise their consumers about their offerings.

BUT, it's not JUST about the price. So let's take a quick look at some of the reasons a travel professional can help you:

A Humorous Side

Here's some humorous or perhaps some not so humorous if its actually happened to you reaons from Ruthanne Terrero:

Here's an open letter to your prospective clients who are debating whether to use a live travel agent to book their vacation or to go it alone by using the Internet.

1. You've Googled "Mexico vacation," and come up with 17.8 million responses. Need a little help editing those choices?

2. Remember when you used that obscure website to book your hotel, and when you got there you spent your beach vacation overlooking a parking lot?

3. How many hours were you on hold with the airline when your flight was canceled because of a snowstorm?

4. Did you really mean to spend your honeymoon at that resort whose one tiny pool was filled all day with 12 screaming children?

5. Who knew that when you booked that "villa" in Tuscany, it would be a small room with a kitchenette and no air conditioning? Funny, it looked much better on your computer screen.

6. No one explained to you that in July, it's winter time in Rio, and so you showed up there with nothing but five Hawaiian shirts and three pairs of swimming trunks.

7. How about the time you really needed a restful vacation, and you ended up in New Orleans during Mardi Gras and someone threw up on your shoes?

8. Yes, I guess that hotel must have used a telephoto lens when they took a picture of those guest rooms that you saw on their website.

9. I suppose contacting the Attorney General to resolve the fact that that Internet site has billed your credit card three times instead of once is the only route to take at this point.

10. It was definitely odd that there were no cab drivers at the airport at 3 o'clock in the morning when you finally landed in Costa Rica, but booking a transfer to your very remote hotel would have been a good thing to remember when you purchased your airline ticket and hotel online.

Key Points

  1. Advocacy - Did you know that trade organizations like ASTA (American Society for Travel Agents) has a long-standing record of fighting for consumer rights and it's member travel agents are required to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics.

  2. Save Time - The choices out there today can be overwhelming, why spend hours and hours trying to find the best deal or best this or best that. Let someone else do the work for you, who already knows where to look and where to go to meet your needs.

  3. Convenience - A Travel Counselor can take care of everything for you, and be your one stop shop for your travel needs. For example taking a cruise? A Counselor can naturally book the cruise, or book that flight, but what about setting up that transfer from the airport to the ship? Or what about during your trip, they can take care of setting up your spa treatment or shore excursions too or even setting up a special meal.

  4. Service - A Travel Professional is not going to win you over with losey service. They want to win your business and will go out of their way to do everything within their power to ensure you have a most enjoyable experience. Of course there are some things we simply can control, such as weather or a supplier making an itinerary change or even a cancelation. A Travel Professional can many times be a big help when something goes wrong too, find availability, make booking changes on your behalf, or find you the right phone number to call, etc.

  5. Knowledge - To win the accolades of the industry, be it the trade organizations or suppliers; Travel Professionals are required to go through a lot of training. To receive the prestigous "Certified" or "Specialist" or whatever title they have to do some serious work to get those pretty pieces of paper that hang on the wall or can be displayed on their website. Of course, no one can know everything and Travel Professionals are generally a part of various networks and can quickly get help from other professionals on a supplier or destination that might be outside of their primary area of expertise.

For some other interesting reading check out Tripology's 101 Reasons to use a travel agent.

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