We live in an era when more and more industries and services are going online or automating their customer service. At the same time, though, customers are increasingly demanding more and more personal options and service. However, while automation might be fine in certain industries, and even be able to deliver what customers expect, this doesn’t hold true in the travel industry.
For example, if you book a trip using trusted travel agents and there is a hiccup while you’re away, you’ve got a person who knows you who can work on your behalf to sort things out. If you’ve done your own bookings using an online booking engine, then that sort of help-at-hand is seldom available. Sure, there’s usually a help desk you can call, but often the response is standardised and slow at best. After a long wait in a call queue, you’ll likely get to speak to someone who doesn’t know you and possibly isn’t even really interested in your plight.
Having a real-life travel agent in your court, someone who is just a text, call or email away and who, because they know you personally, will move mountains to get your issue sorted is worth their weight in gold.
Need further convincing?
Here are 6 reasons why it pays to book your travel with a travel agent that you have met and can reach anytime.
Get what you want
Something that people tend to forget is that most online booking engines are merely aggregators, pulling stock standard information from tour operators, wholesalers and airlines. Often this information is inflexible. By tidying up and repackaging all the data according to their own assumptions about travel purchasing, online booking engines show us what they think we want to see, but not necessarily what we really want to see.
Try, for example, to book a multi-stop trip with the timings and routes that you want using an online booking engine, and see what you get. And if you want to make changes to your tickets later it will either cost you heaps or simply not be possible.
However, when you decide to take a holiday you usually have a vision in mind. Your trip is something you’ve been thinking about for a while. How do you explain your desires to the internet? A real-life travel agent, on the other hand, can offer insights that a website won’t be able to. A personal travel agent, with whom you have a good relationship, will listen to what you have to say about what you want, then go look for exactly that.
Save time – let your travel agent take charge
Planning a trip really can be time consuming. If your trip is a complex one, it will take you even longer. Your travel agent has made a career out of travel planning.
Part of the point of having a travel agent book your trip is that you are free to get on with your busy life while the itinerary research is taking place. Putting together the pieces of the travel puzzle is something they do all day long. They know the airlines and the destinations and all the intricacies in between. They are specialised in taking away the stress of vetting the countless options out there to ensure you get the very best out of your trip – and that includes your holiday budget.
Contrary to popular belief, online booking engines don’t enable you to get the lowest prices across the board. A website cannot guarantee the best deal because the price of hotel rooms, airfares and other tickets fluctuate all the time. At best, the online booking engine will only show you the current price. To get the best deal online you often have to keep checking daily with multiple outlets.
In fact, it’s possible you will even pay less by booking through a travel agent than booking a vacation yourself. The reason for this is that agents are often aware of upcoming promotional offers or have access to exclusive deals with the myriad of travel vendors.
Also, don’t forget the cost of the time you will save by getting an agent to sort your bookings upfront or the cost in time, frustration and money associated with sorting out any issues as a result of flight delays, missed connections or unforeseen events.
Whatever you book online will likely always include less than what you will get when you book through an agent. Most times when you use an online booking engine you have to take the non-refundable option to get the best pricing. Often, this is not the case for travel agents.
In addition to weigh more flexibility in terms of price and booking conditions, vendors often offer extras to travellers who book through an agent, for example, a welcome bottle of wine in your room or free breakfast to free room upgrades and special events or activities, because they want the agent to continue recommending their product to other travellers.
Travel agents have first-hand expert knowledge
A major part of the personal touch travel agents offer is their experience. The more complex your trip, the greater the benefit of having an experienced travel agent working on your behalf.
A travel agent may also be familiar with niche markets and can tailor a trip specifically for you. A website on the other hand can, at best, only approximate this personal experience through customer feedback forums and visitor rankings. And when you book on the Internet there is no real way to know exactly what you’ll get. Descriptions are often vague and undesirable aspects are often simply omitted.
Often your travel agent will have been to the places they are recommending and have built trusted relationships with the vendors they book for you. In addition to visiting places, travel agents are constantly learning about destinations – they know how to get there, when to go, where to stay and what to do.
Remember, a travel agent is someone who has chosen their career because they love the business. They’re staking their reputation and any future business on what they book for you. So, they take getting you to the destination of your dreams in the best possible way very seriously.
Direct access to help
Life is full of unforeseen happenings – even on the best planned trip. However, when something does change or go wrong with a trip you’ve booked through a good travel agent, you know you have someone you can call direct. In turn, your agent has direct access to the travel vendor, who is very motivated to keep your agent happy because of the potential for repeat business.
So, while your agent works behind the scenes to solve your problem, you can simply get on with enjoying your vacation. On the other hand, if you’ve done all your own bookings online using various travel search engines and websites, you’re on your own
We’re waiting to hear from you
Every good travel agent knows that to deserve your loyalty and money, they must provide a service that is better, faster and more affordable than you can do yourself.
At The Luxury Holiday Company we understand the importance of taking care of even the smallest detail to ensure you get the vacation experience you’ve been dreaming about. We pride ourselves on our ability to tailor your escape to perfectly match your needs so you can relax and enjoy every moment of your holiday. Our expertise is only a phone call away.
Contact Carolyn now to start your holiday conversation.
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