“Travel agents still exist??!!” Yes! We do.
I know. In this age of unlimited information available to us at the immediate click of a button, we have the ability to access absolutely every piece of information possible including travel deals, specials, prices and availability all with a couple of clicks on a website.
So then why do travel professionals exist and why would you even think about using one?
Many people prefer to go it alone. They take their time and search various websites, compare prices and availability and save a few bucks. They research what to do, how to get there and where to stay. Some enjoy the process and spend countless hours to plan the best trip for themselves and their families. That is the glory of the Internet!
- If you are looking for airfare, or a nearby hotel to where you need to go, then it is easy to go it alone. Especially on trips within Canada or to the US.
- If you are planning on using airline loyalty points to book your air, hotel or car rental, you can go it alone and book your travel with the loyalty points provider. But read the fine print! Often discounted services booked with loyalty points carry higher than normal fees to change or cancel, if they allow it at all.
- If you are planning on staying in private rental home accommodations, you can go it alone and book directly with the owner as many do not work with travel professionals for booking
- If you are looking for the best price available for every part of your travel without concerns for quality of experience, you can easily go it alone to find the best deal available online.
- If you have never been to the city you are travelling to, it might be helpful to consult a travel professional for some advice, but it may not be necessary. You can easily and the best flight and hotel options online and research things to do in the area for your own personal trip.
This is when you want to use a travel professional.
Time is money. There is a lot of information available on the Internet. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s reliable or the best source of information. Avoid spending countless hours searching useless information that is not suitable for your family. Work with a travel professional to help you weed through the plethora of information available to you on the Internet so you have the information you need to know to make appropriate vacation decisions for your family. Options you find online initially may not be ideal for your family but a travel professional will be able to provide personalized service to ensure you have the most perfect vacation available to you.
Travelling with family and friends to celebrate a monumental occasion is a great way to spend quality time together. The idea of a large group travelling together sounds fantastic initially, but then who wants to be in charge of coordinating travel details? A travel professional will be able to obtain discounted group rates, block off rooms and air space, coordinate travel dates with the group, and work with each individual family to ensure all specific travel details are managed. Everyone can have a great vacation and no one person is stuck figuring out all the logistical details.
Planning a destination wedding? Work with a travel professional! Let the travel agent handle all the travel booking details for guests so the bride and groom can focus on planning the dreamy wedding details with the resort. A travel professional can work with the bride and groom to find the right resort, obtain group rates and block off space, and provide group special details including free rooms, upgrades and other perks for the happy couple! A travel professional can assist with setting up honeymoon registry services so guests can contribute to the dream honeymoon too!
Thinking about travelling internationally? Work with a travel professional. A travel agent can find you the best flight options based on your preferences and advise which airlines, routes and airports are better for travelling and which ones to avoid. They will be able to caution if your stopover includes sufficient time to make your connecting flight. If your first flight is delayed and you know you may miss your connecting flight, your travel agent will be able to work on finding you the next available flight while you are in the air so you could be rebooked before you even land.
First time cruising? Work with a travel professional. With so many cruise line options and itineraries, where do you begin to research? A travel professional can advise which cruise lines will suit your personality and travel preferences and match your vacation type to the appropriate cruise line and itinerary. Many agencies will be able to offer bonus amenities, onboard credits or extra perks for booking with the agency.
Going on a multi-city vacation requiring several cities and stopovers? Work with a travel professional to find the right flight options if you are stopping at several cities, with hotel recommendations in each city. A travel professional works with reputable travel suppliers to give provide you with quality hotel recommendations and organize transportation upon arrival so you don’t have to worry about those details.
Travel professionals offer affordable payment plans. When you book with a travel professional, many agencies will accept deposits to secure your reservation and can provide flexible payment plan options. Full payment is not required until about 45 to 60 days before date of departure thereby allowing you to save up for your vacation as opposed to paying interest on your credit card. When you go it alone and book on an online booking website, payment in full is required at time of booking and usually is 100% non-refundable. If you do need to make a change or cancel, you are required to contact the website to facilitate changes.
Book with confidence. Found a great deal online?? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But even with a travel deal online, check in with a travel professional for their opinion. In many cases, the agency may be able to price match the exact same vacation package if it is a valid promotion. Or if they cannot, they will advise exactly why that deal is so cheap, if the travel deal or source is trustworthy and be able to advise an educated opinion about the deal.
No matter how organized in planning you may be, there is always something that can go wrong on your vacation. Many things can happen that are out of your control and wreak havoc on your vacation plans. Work with a travel agent who can also be your advocate any time before, during and after your trip.
A travel professional will always advise the important of travel insurance for any issues that may result in the possibility of a trip delay, cancellation or medical insurance while on vacation. Even the with the best laid plans and intentions to travel no matter what, unforeseen circumstances can derail your plans quickly and suddenly. Most recently, Hurricane Matthew impacted many travellers in the Caribbean and Florida area, where the closure of the cruise ports and several major theme parks, and the cancellation of many flights into the Orlando area, guests travelling during this time were scrambling to find alternate plans. Travel professionals are watching advisories closely and waiting to hear official notices from airlines and cruise lines to help their clients decide the next appropriate steps in these types of situations. When you are in the middle of a travel emergency, please know that your travel agent is working to find the best options to minimize the impact on your travel plans.
Still want to go it alone? Proceed with Caution!
Online booking engines can be a great research tool for information gathering and price comparison. There is nothing like a great deal you find online to spur the travel opportunity! Sometimes those opportunities turn into fantastic travel adventures. But you need to be aware when booking your vacation with an online booking engine. There is a huge difference between receiving great value and obtaining the cheapest rate.
Booking the cheapest rate often means that you are among the first to be bumped by overbooked hotels and airlines. If you booked with an online booking engine, you must contact them to help resolve your travel concerns, often at a fee. If you book with a travel professional, we work as your advocate to find the resolution to your situation, to get you on the next available flight, to find you a hotel room so you have a place to stay and to ensure that you have the transportation available if you need it.
When you go it alone to book your vacation, you are also left on your own to deal with any issues with airlines, hotels and other travel suppliers. Don’t know who to call? You are left alone to try to find some answers. Book with a travel professional and let us handle your concerns and find you the resolutions you need to get you to your destination.
Sometimes it is easy to go it alone and can be a lot of fun planning your next travel adventure! But for a little bit extra piece of mind, you can book with confidence with a travel professional who will be able to find you the best value for your dollar without compromising quality and experience.