The better question to ask may be WHY NOT?
It's easy to book travel on your own………Right????
The booking part is easy, but a Travel Agent will save you time and frustration in the research part. A Travel Agent can also save you money!
- By the knowledge we have spent years accumulating. We know where to look.
- By using a vast network of other Travel Agents
- By relationships with suppliers our network of Travel Agents do lots of business with
- By the value adds a Travel Agent often gets, things you usually have to pay extra for.
So, you want to go to Hawaii, how easy is it to get these answers?
- When is the best time to go? (Hint: It really depends on what you want, there is no "Best" that fits everyone!)
- Which island should I go to? (See above Hint)
- What are the best activities I should do? (See above Hint……..seeing a theme?)
- I want to stay at a ________________ type of resort ( fill in the blank……luxury, family, quaint, cheap, quiet) Which one is the best?
- Will I need a car?
When you use a Travel Agent it is simple to call, email, text or messenger these questions and many more and quickly get a knowledgable answer!
Does Your OTA Do That?
Did you know that Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline etc. are OTA's? An OTA is an Online Travel Agency, meaning you are still using a Travel Agency when you book with them, they are just letting you do all the work yourself and they don't even have to answer the phone if something goes wrong while you are traveling.
This is a really great business model! They don't have to deal directly with clients, they don't have to be available if something goes wrong with your vacation and because you are saving a few bucks you are happy with flights that have 5 hour layovers and being the first one to get booted to another hotel when your hotel of choice is overbooked!
People have gotten so used to booking with OTA's that they don't even realize they can have
- A 1 hour layover instead of 5 and a 1 stop flight instead of 2 or 3
- Be the last to get booted from the hotel
- Get extra amenities like early check-in/late check-out or room upgrades when available
- Someone who will pick up the phone and actually help them if their flight gets cancelled
- Advice…….about the area, about the hotel and even about the activities
Now don't get me wrong. If you want to save a few bucks by going hopscotch on your flights a Travel Agent can do that for you too, but it's always nice to have a choice.
Bottom Line……….What's the Cost of Using a Travel Agent?
Many times, the same as an OTA. You know, the ones that let you do all the work yourself?
Travel Agents, OTA, homebased or brick and mortar, earn their living by making a commission on the products they sell. When we fill up hotels, cruise ships or activities we earn a portion of that. That is our basic business model, nothing mysterious about it. FYI, airlines don't pay commissions to Travel Agents, if we want to earn money by providing this service to our clients we either try to bundle it with a hotel or car so we do earn commission, or we charge a fee for providing that stand alone service.
Sometimes, a deposit will be required to start the planning process. This is a way we have of trying to determine if a client is really going to book with us (so we can earn a living). This deposit is then applied to the cost of a trip when a booking is made. Other times a planning fee will be charged.
The best way to know is to ask "What will you charge and what will it include?" I promise I won't be offended!
If you are happy with the charges I quote for what you get, great! If not, thats great too! Because not everyone is a good fit for working with a Travel Agent, but if you think you might be, contact me and lets see if we can work together to Make Vacations Happen!