Here are six reasons I believe travel agents are still necessary.
- Travel agents are skilled professionals.
Although anyone can search the internet for information and find “better deals”. An experienced travel professional can help with things such as excursions, and even provide information regarding the weather. My suggestion is before you book with a dot com, solicit the help of a professional. Why? Because it just might save you more than a few dollars….it could save you a headache of arriving at your dream destination only to find out it is your dream horror story.
- Travel agents can often get you a better rate.
Because agents routinely work with cruise lines, airline, hotels, resorts, and the like, they receive a special rate from these suppliers due to the volume in which they purchase travel. Travel Agents usually have access to deals that ordinary people do not. Therefore, they can offer better deals, leaving the traveler with more of their budget for souvenirs.
- Travel agents have established connections and better access.
Because agents also have access to a variety of vendors, agents can often have access to things like concert tickets, sporting events, etc. For example: Venues reserve premium tickets for agencies—when the average user sees that an event is sold out, an agent could still get you in.
- Travel agents could score you pricey perks . . . for free.
Often, travelers pay extra for things like airport member’s clubs and/or to get better seats on a plan. Why not allow a travel agent to assist you and get you those VIP goodies at no charge as part of your package?
- Travel agents have the inside scoop on your destination.
More than likely, your agent will have vast travel experience. Most agents have a repository for their customers’ experiences, so even if they don’t have first-hand experience with your trip, they likely have heard feedback from someone who does. So, if you want to avoid the tourist traps and the possibility of steering off into the wrong places, allow an agent to steer you towards the places that will make your trip truly memorable. Yes, you could visit the destination site and read reviews, but why do that when there is the possibility that some destinations pay for positive responses. Allow an agent to assist you to vet the satisfaction rate of your destination.
- Travel agents are problem solvers.
Travel agents serve as emergency contacts to their customers, especially those who may be traveling halfway around the world surrounded by strangers and you miss your connection, lose your itinerary, or have to cut your trip short due to an emergency. The benefit of having your agent just a phone call away is often overlooked. Example: If you are in Jamaica and a problem arise with your flight, you simply pick up the phone and contact your agent for assistance. With an online booking from a dot com company, you would not be able to contact the company to speak to someone to assist you.
One tip, though before booking through an agent: Because there are many home-based travel agencies around, make sure that you are choosing an agency based on a trusted recommendation. If they have a traditional travel business, check that they are bonded and certified by the state. If the agent is home-based, make sure they have a “Host Agency” who provides policies and procedures for booking travel, especially when there’s an exchange of money prior to your trip.