Booking Travel Online?
or With a Real Person(an Agent)?
Time will tell what any negotiations between the companies might mean to the consumer, but one travel executive argues it shouldn’t matter because the old-fashioned way of booking vacations trumps today’s popular one-stop-shops that you access at your fingertips. But where do consumers really get the best value for their time and money?
Kathy Gerhardt, Sr. Specialist, Public Relations at Travel Leaders in Eden Prairie, Minn., offered the following three reasons that you should use a travel agent, rather than web site, to plan trips, even if it isn’t always the cheapest option.
No. 1: The Human Touch. Citing catastrophies that do happen (more frequently of late) such as cruiseship breakdowns, blizzard’s and other weather problems, volcanoes, airline strikes, and even civil unrests as an example, Gerhardt said those who booked with agents rather than online had a live person working on their behalf to turn to, rather than a 1-800 number (that may or may not get answered) to a call from a stranded traveler. Many do it yourselfers spent days in the airports and were delayed for up to a week being able to get flights out to get back home.
“With a travel professional you have access to a real, live person from beginning to end,” she said. “Someone is there that has your back. If you book it on your own, you are really on your own.” Agents were working in advance to prevent the frustrating situations many travelers faced, Gerhardt said.
No. 2: The Internet can be overwhelming. Having a world of travel destinations, hotel accommodations and endless flights at your fingertips can be convenient, but can overwhelm those trying to book on their own. Gerhardt said travel agents are true experts and know the ins-and-outs of what a traveler needs to make that trip even better.
“What will make it a great trip for you, as well as a great value?” she said. “How do you know what you see on the Internet is what you are actually looking for?”
No. 3: Save time and Money. “If you’re spending a lot of time on the Internet sifting through information and still not getting what you want, you are wasting valuable time and money,” Gerhardt said. “Time is money.” The best price for your buck is not necessarily always found on the Internet, she said, and agents often have special relationships with travel partners that may take prices down, or add amenities to a trip that the average traveler can’t get on their own.
Another Benefit is money saved. Experienced agents can often recommend money saving tips and suggestions that you may have never thought about. If you find an agent who does not charge a service fee, then you get all the above benefits for free. How is that you say. Simple the resort property or cruise line pays “your” agent a commission for them booking your travel with them. So you enjoy the best of both worlds while letting someone else pay for their expertise!
For more information as to the Benefits of Booking your travel through a Professional Agent or Planner, you can contact Mike via email firstname.lastname@example.org . You can tweet (or follow) Mike at http://www.twitter.com/cruisewithmike . You can “Join” our Travel Club at http://meetup.com/Sun-Cities-Travelers-Group/ Mikes web site can be found at www.mberryhill.cruiseholidays.com . You can follow this blog (or subscribe to it) at http://www.cruisewithmike.com (or merely click on the subscribe button above to have daily delivery to your email). View all of Mikes uploaded Flickr Photo Galleries at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cruisewithmike/ . Mike also is editor of his own twice daily e-newspapaer called “The Compass Headings” you can see (or subscribe to) it free! at http://paper.li/CruisewithMike
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