Why you should book your next holiday with a Travel Agent
Booking a holiday with a travel agent can give you many added benefits you may not have thought of…
With so many research avenues, booking options, and special offers available (especially on the web), many travellers have turned to booking directly. Our recent survey of over 100 respondents indicated a clear divide between those who preferred to book themselves, and those who preferred to use a travel agent.
Most surprising is the stigma associated with the cost benefits of booking online by ‘cutting out the middle man’. While this may be true in some circumstances, it is certainly not the case overall, and can mean missing out on upgrades and other perks. Booking with a travel agent can heed a number of benefits you may not have considered, and at no extra cost! We’ve listed a few below…
First Hand Knowledge
If you want to go somewhere, chances are your travel agent has been there and will be a wealth of knowledge and resources. Many agents experience educational trips, called a ‘Famil’, which enable them to experience particular tours and travel companies first hand. In fact, agents are required to participate in a level of training on products and destinations, and are generally avid travellers themselves, so they really are the experts when it comes to your planning your ideal holiday.
Touring locations and gaining knowledge on the places you visit can be some of the most interesting parts of your holiday. All too often, those who book from the comfort of their own home tend to skip the touring, visiting famous sites and never gaining a true understanding of their historical importance. A travel agent will always be able to point you in the direction of a good local tour guide, or a tour company that services the area.
Along with this first-hand experience is the agent’s local knowledge that could make a huge difference to the sites you visit. For example, agents are familiar with airports and will be able to advise you on the limitations of travelling between particular destinations – this may include the knowledge that particular airports are domestic vs international, regularity of flights, or even the ability to fly between two selected locations. Similarly, their local knowledge can include the important sightseeing information such as opening hours (e.g. museums in Florence, Italy are closed on Mondays), best times to visit sites (e.g. sunrise/sunset or after-hours tours), or less travelled paths that may provide a unique experience.
An agent can be a useful if any issues or emergencies are to occur during your travel and you cannot, or are unable to, get in contact with an airline or company yourself. This can include simple day to day communication, such as missing a connecting flight and needing to reschedule airport transfers, to aiding in more complicated issues. s
Value for Money
One common misperception about booking with an agent is that you will end up paying more. This is not true. In fact, an agent is able to get better discounted rates through the relationships they have developed with various tour operators, hotels, and airlines. Buying ‘in bulk’ means that agents are able to access better rates whilst still achieving their commission, that will not impact on the price that you receive. The added benefit to this is that, especially for hotels, you may be able to get additional upgrades and perks that you would miss out on when booking directly or online.
When booking online, take note – you get what you pay for… Booking a ‘great’ deal online may not always be such a great idea. Many rooms may be non-refundable and not include breakfast. Make sure you know what you are paying for! If you are comparing on price, remember that agents and tour operators will always get the better rooms as they have a personal relationship with hotels. Websites like booking.com may show a lower rate, however as the system determines your room based on your booking method and price paid, you will almost always end up with the worst room available.
For some tips about how to get the most out of booking with a Travel Agent, stay tuned for our upcoming blog.