Should I use a travel agent or book online myself?
The common thought is I can book a hotel, airline ticket, car rental etc. online myself so why do I need a travel agent?
Mention the phrase “travel agent” and most people can’t imagine why they would ever use one.
Let’s start with some facts.
Did you know?
“In the 45 days prior to booking travel—from beginning research to final purchase—the traveling American visited a whopping 140 travel websites. No seriously, that is a not a typo.”
“How much time does this add up to? Well the report indicates that in the six weeks prior to booking, Americans consume 22.95 hours of digital travel media.”
Recent data published by Expedia documented that American travelers spend of 8.7 BILLION minutes of travel planning and booking time per year!
Not only do they save time, a travel agent takes the stress out of travel planning and dealing with any issues that may arise while you’re on the road. If you get stranded because of a canceled flight, it’s way easier and much nicer to be able to call your travel agent and have them handle it than you having to deal with an airline.
Let’s talk about price.
I know what you are thinking… “I can get it cheaper prices online and travel agents just book with the places where they get the highest commission not what’s cheapest or best for me.”
- Many times, online booking engine prices do not include taxes and fees until checkout. So, if you see a room at $100 per night, it usually is the lowest room price category. Then when you go to check out even that lowest room there are additional taxes and fees. Sometimes there are even fees additional fees not collected until you check out of the hotel too. Travel agents provide a full price quote for their services and fees and full travel costs before the final payment is made.
- Online travel engines also know when a traveler is booking. Thank you, Mr. Technology! If you are attempting to book a hotel on your home computer or your phone there are those wonderful things called algorithms. They will sniff you out and BAM prices change quickly and usually not for the benefit of the traveler. Agents have a constant price because they log directly into a non-fluctuating system.
- Travel agents can also open doors to reservations, experiences, and activities that you might otherwise not be able to find on your own. A good agent is often able to get a hotel room with the hotel website or front desk says they are “full”.
- As far as, booking you in places with on the highest commissions… well, if they did that they wouldn’t have any clients. An agents goal is to get you the best possible trip, so you tell all your friends and still feed their family in the process.
Did you know?
All the online booking engines, or hotels have a built in travel agent fee anyway? So, if you don’t use an agent then that extra money is just going in the company’s pocket… why not give it to a person who has a family just like you? Think supporting a small business.
A few other ways a travel agent can benefit you.
- You can pay a deposit and pay in installments.
When you book online, you have to pay in full at the time of booking. Most of the time when you book with an agent you can book my just putting down a deposit. Depending on the destination it could be as little as $100 down. That’s a perk you can only get from booking with an agent.
- Travel agents tend to have many early booking incentives from vendors.
This way you can also book way in advance instead of hunting for specials at the last minute and hoping to find a good one.
- A travel agent can put trips on hold usually free of charge for at least 24hrs.
This locks your price in and reserves your spot before the inventory sells out. Online booking engines do not offer that.
- Travel agents create and overall better travel experience,
Travelers save time and money, but also peace of mind. A recent poll states “63% of travelers are happier when using an agent and it makes their overall trip better”
One last note, cause I know you wanna know.
If I don’t have to pay a travel agent, then how do they get paid?
How much travel agents get paid varies from agent to agent.
-For the most part, agents make the majority of their money on commissions paid to them by hotels, airlines, tour operators, and cruise ships. agents access to special deals and discounts that you normally can’t find yourself by searching on Expedia, Priceline, Booking.com, or any of the other online travel agencies and meta-search sites.
-Additionally, some companies, especially within the cruising industry, offer agents special incentives — such as free trips — because travel agents typically drive more than 60 percent of their business.
-Many agents also charge clients a fee that’s separate from trip expenses, and that may range from $100 to $500 and up. That fee can be charged up front as a security deposit and can either be returned to you at the end of the planning process or, more commonly, applied to the cost of the trip itself.
-In other cases, an agent may charge a special fee for a la-cart services, such as booking airline tickets, making hard-to-get restaurant reservations, or securing rooms in smaller independent hotels. Unlike large international chains, don’t pay commissions to agents.
All of that is up to the agent.
We know you don’t work for free and we can’t either. Putting together an itinerary can take several hours and work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Expedia along with the Travel Market Report having a travel agent saves you an average of $1050 in time and money on a family trip!
Here at Enchanted Woods Travel
We do not charge for the first quote. If there are several quotes going back and forth then we ask for a small deposit down which goes towards the final cost of the trip. We also charge a small cancellation fee if you book, then cancel.
Enchanted Woods Travel works very hard for our clients, the goal is to gain your trust and provide you with an affordable vacation, business trip, or getaway no matter what your reason for traveling is.
I hope I have answered questions on why using an agent is beneficial to you. If not, please send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org, comment below, or call 817-233-8157.
Looking to plan a trip soon? Contact us above and we will do our best to provide a great stress free affordable travel experience