Never Worked with a Travel Agent?
A lot of times when people call us they’ll say “I’ve never worked with a travel agent before…” Wondering what it’s like, and if it’s right for you? Here are some comments some of our newest clients made recently:
“I started trying to find a place for my family and I to go to this summer, and I spent hours searching and searching. I became overwhelmed and then thought about how you really can’t believe everything you see on the internet these days anyway. The last thing I want to do is spend thousands of dollars and pick a terrible place.”
“I was going to spend some time researching my trip to Spain, but my husband and I both own businesses and don’t have time. When I realized you would take care of everything for me, that was a huge weight off my shoulders.”
“My friend told me that it would cost me more to book through a travel agent. I’m glad I didn’t listen to her because I’m saving $200 over what it’s costing her to go on the same trip. Now she’s sorry she didn’t book with you.”
“My friends booked through [an online discounter] and needed to ask some questions about the travel restrictions in the ports we’re visiting on our cruise. They’ve tried to call customer service several times and, after waiting for more than an hour for someone to answer each time, they gave up and try to search on the internet. I told them all I had to do was email you, and I had the answers almost immediately. They’ll be calling you for their next trip.”
Is there a time when working with a travel agent wouldn’t make sense? Here are a few scenarios that are better to handle our your own:
- Air only. If your air isn’t part of a package that includes other travel components (3+ nights hotels or a car rental of at least 5 nights), you are much better off booking direct through the airlines. However, you are likely to save quite a bit on air if you allow your agent to package it with the rest of your travel.
- Price shopping. If you don’t have any intention of working with a travel agent and are only calling to make sure the price you found online is a good one, just book online. Travel agents aren’t the same as online booking tools, so it’s not a fair comparison. And that leads to the next point…
- Research. Travel agents don’t get paid until you travel. If they spend a lot of time researching a trip for you, and you use their work so that you can book on your own, the agent just worked for free. This is why many agents have started charging planning fees. That’s like expecting an attorney to draw up a will and not wanting to pay them for it. Or asking a mechanic to diagnose what’s wrong with your car and telling you exactly how to fix it, and then taking your car and leaving.
Travel agents are valuable assets during the planning and travel phases of your trip. If you’re not familiar with an area, why not rely on someone who has the knowledge, experience and expansive network to help you not have to make your “best guess”? Typically all goes well during a trip, but agents are also an added insurance policy should you need assistance during travel as well.