Having a father who was skilled at building and repair, I certainly understand the value of doing things yourself. However, for most, organizing vacations is not one of those things. Online “do-it-yourself” booking engines have revolutionized the industry over the last 15 years but the trend towards using travel agents is on the rise again. This is driven by a desire to speak with someone experienced about travel and also the complexity of booking complete and increasingly complex travel experiences. This isn’t just about staying in your comfort zone, though. Here are 4 reasons why you would be better off booking through a travel agency.
- Travel agencies offer cheaper rates
- Doing things yourself saves you money right? Not necessarily. Travel agencies buy “group space” which is a lot like the way retail stores buy product in bulk. This group space allows the agency to get additional perks such as on board spending credits and most of the time the cost of the cabin will be less as well. Larger agencies that do volume business with the cruise lines also get special discounted pricing outside of the groups. This can also be passed onto the end consumer.
- Travel Agents help minimize the amount of planning involved in a trip
- Vacations require enough preparation on your end without having to organize the finer details of the actual trip. You need to deal with pet and house care arrangements, taking time off of work, budgeting, packing, organizing everyone if its a group trip, and who knows what else! Keeping track of flight changes, scheduling airport pickup, and trying to book hotels to stay at can easily slip your mind. (A mistake booking airline tickets to the wrong airports forced a family friend to have to drive to Mexico for a wedding not too long ago and the $900 that she spent on the tickets was gone as well!) Having someone else keep track of these things gives you more time to sort out your personal responsibilities and make for a smoother running vacation.
- Travel Agents can act as a “middle man/organizer” for group trips
- Like I mentioned before, making sure everyone on a group trip is on the same page is difficult, kind of like organizing cats! If you have people in different states for example. Travel agents know the information needed from each person and can keep track to be sure everyone is accounted for and will arrive when needed. Instead of spending hours trying to coordinate family and friends you can literally dump this thankless job on your agent. They are well equipped to deal with everyone and make sure that people are near each other and dining together.
- Travel Agents have insider information
- Well, perhaps insider information makes it sound a bit like the Society of the Crossed Keys from The Grand Budapest Hotel. What I truly mean is that, as someone who specializes in booking vacations, a travel agent accumulates knowledge about different places through their own customer reviews and experiences. This allows them to build a stable of properties and tour companies/cruise lines around the world that they have first hand knowledge of. It also allows you to avoid mistakes when looking at the pretty pictures on hotels.com etc that were taken 15 years ago when the hotel was new. There is a lot of misleading information out there on the web and the TA’s job is to filter this for you so that you don’t have to.
Save yourself the hassles and probably some money as well and use an experienced travel agent!