Why use a travel agent, can’t I book it myself?

In this age of technology and easy online booking engines why would I want to use a travel specialist? Well let me give you some of my favorite reasons why you should NOT!

1.      The time it takes to do the research and the stress of booking it on your own. I think this is a biggie. If you don’t know anything about the destination that you wish to travel to, the time that it takes to research the best hotels, activities and transportation usually creates ….stress. Your travel specialist will do everything for you. They handle all of the details such as: hotel, flights, activities, transportation. In this busy world do you really need another job? Travel professionals do this full-time and have the expertise to make your trip seamless.

2.     Did I get the best price? Can a Travel specialist get better pricing? A travel specialist sometimes can get better pricing or maybe some added goodie that you may not get on your own due to the relationship they have with the various suppliers. But again price isn’t everything. The price may be the same that you can book online but you will have their expertise and support behind you as an added security. Travel specialist also have access to hotels and airlines that you may not even have access to. They also can recommend cost saving strategies and will give you a trip for the best value not just the cheapest trip available.

3.     Does a Travel specialist charge for their services? I love this one!! In most cases NO! Travel professionals are actually paid by the hotels and tour companies. If you book yourself you are still paying for a service that you aren’t getting! The hotels and tour companies have that built-in to their price structure. Some may if you require a very complicated itinerary or requests multiple price quotes.

4.     What happens if I run into delays or cancellations, who will help me?

If you booked on your own, then there is no support if you run into trouble, delays or cancellations. Losing you as a guest is no big deal, your just one person. A travel professional takes the time to build a relationship with suppliers and from a business perspective they are dealing with someone who can provide many more dollars in their pockets, so the hotels and suppliers want the travel specialist to be satisfied.

Travel specialists have a vast support system so that if you do have problems on your trip, you won’t have to spend your valuable vacation time making multiple phone calls. You make just one and the rest is handled for you. A reputable travel professional will also recommend travel insurance and this will protect you as well. Hotels and individual suppliers don’t usually offer this added service.

Now a little Antidote: (if you have this happen to you I apologize 🙂

Most people want a great vacation at a fantastic price and Mr. Travelalot was not different. He considered himself travel and technologically savvy so he decide to do his own travel package.

After spending hours, researching hotels, car rentals, day trips and airline prices he called his travel specialist to see what price she could get for the trip.

We went to work putting together a great travel itinerary and Mr. Travelalot was presented with a great value with all the details taken care of. All he had to do was pack! However, Mr. Travelalot was convinced he could book everything on his own and do it cheaper. And he did indeed find his price was $100 dollars cheaper! So he booked the trip on his own.

He booked the airline but in order to save $50 he had to leave on the first flight of the morning and that required him to get to the airport at 3:30am. The flight that he booked online looked like it was fine but since he only had a short connection time he missed his connecting flight. After multiple delays he arrived at the airport in the middle of the night and the car rental was closed. His bags were also delayed leaving him with no clothes or personal belongings.

On the way home:

His flight again left first thing in the morning. He had to leave the resort at 4:00 am to make his flight. The car rental again was not open to do the return on the car.

Bill didn’t realize:

  1. Due his flight times he would need to stay close to the airport and had to book hotels at the last-minute.
  2. He had to rent a car at the last-minute though a different company and pay more.
  3. He did not get travel insurance. So he had no reimbursement for his delays and missed hotel nights.
  4. His 7 night stay at the beautiful vacation resort turned out to be only 5 nights.
  5. He was frustrated and disappointed that he had to spend more to make his trip work. And his vacation turned into a stress-cation!

The $100 that Mr. Travelalot saved actually cost him over $400 more it would have been if he had left his travel professional book the trip for him. Not to mention the stress and frustration that would have been avoided.

Travel professionals know what it takes to coordinate a seamless, stress free trip and they understand that “you get what you pay for”. So bottom line, do you want to spend a bit more for a GREAT trip or waste a couple thousand dollars on the cheap option.

What experiences have you had in booking yourself?

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