Why use a travel agent?
Many people think they can book travel cheaper themselves online…. after a few years in the travel industry, I can tell you, this is not always the case!
I’ll tell you why.
When you book online, you are paying commission, even if there are “No Booking fees”, the commission is part of the total price. The website will still be making good money off your booking, without really doing much for it.
Now, when you book with a travel agent, that same commission is still there, except now, that commission goes to a person, the same person who is there to help you when things go wrong and who can be reached with just one phone call (not a call centre located overseas!) This travel consultant will also be able to recommend other things to do, places to eat, and perhaps give you ideas on things you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. You will even be able to meet your travel agent face to face to collect documents and run through any last-minute questions or add in various requests (window seat, interconnecting rooms etc)
If *ahem* something goes wrong, your flight is delayed, or worse cancelled, the first passengers to get helped with new flights and/or a free hotel room, are clients who have booked with a travel agent. Why? Because travel agents collectively book hundreds of thousands of seats on the airline, and the bond between the airline and agency is strong. If you booked directly online, you better hope you have a high-ranking frequent fliers account!
I had a client recently who was on a cancelled flight. She was due to fly out at 10am the next morning, I was out for dinner the night before, with 3 missed calls from head office. I call back to find out my client had been uplifted to another airline (dare I say it, but a better one too!) to travel on the same day. I rang the client to let her know- it’s around 10pm mind you and she was stoked. The other 200 hundred or so passengers were made to wait until the next scheduled flight with the ticketed airline. Some of these people waited 2 additional days to fly. My client was not charged anything extra, in fact when she booked, she had bought me the price she had found online, and I had beaten it for her!
Your travel agent will also be affiliated with AFTA http://www.afta.com.au/WhyUseanAFTATravelAgent if they are based in Australia this means they are accredited and are bonded with the Travel Compensation Fund http://www.tcf.org.au/ Which basically means, your money is safe, and your holiday is being looked after by someone competent!
Now, let’s get back to price. How can your travel agent save you money?
When you find the hotel you like online, take a screenshot and send it to your awesome friendly travel agent. They will be able to search their wholesalers and check if they can get any added extras such as free breakfast, day trips, or welcome packs. At worst, they won’t have anything different and will only be able to match the price, at best, their contracted wholesale rates may be hundreds of dollars cheaper!
So, if you know what you want, why not take the best price you have found online, and chat to a travel agent?! You actually have nothing to lose!!