According to various speculations, this year is going to be one of the busiest for the travel industry, with a record number of globetrotters taking to the skies (and seas). With endless and exciting deals, many travellers are shifting their attention to online portals like Booking.com, Expedia and Ctrip to book flights, accommodation and even holiday packages.
With an (overwhelming) overload of information and deals online, the experience and expertise a travel agent brings to the table have become more valuable than ever.
The recent collapse of online travel agency BestJet.com raised several questions over the accountability and trustworthiness of travel websites. When a popular online travel agency BestJet.com went into liquidation, it affected thousands of travellers just before Christmas; many of these travellers faced huge financial losses as their trips got cancel at the last minute.
Booking (cheap) flights online is easy and so is hunting for amazing hotel deals, but if you prefer not to sweat the details while travelling, it is worth approaching a travel agent. Here are a few reasons why you should preferably opt for traditional travel agents over the online travel agencies:
1. Save Big on Travel
When planning a vacation, many of us spend innumerable hours researching about the destination(s), looking for great deals on luxurious hotels and thrilling sightseeing excursions. However, what requires hours of net surfing is just a matter of a few minutes for an experienced travel agent. Tell your needs and interests to the travel agents, and they can come up with endless recommendations for suitable destinations. In addition to this, travel agents are well-versed with the usual fluctuations in price, seasonal trends, and more importantly, they have complete knowledge of aggregate airfare and how website algorithm affects the fare. Thus, you can actually get “the best deals” and save big on your travel expenses.
2. (Human) Experience Matters
Reading and researching about your destination is definitely fun - but planning a trip requires practical and impartial human experience. Travel agents are avid globetrotters and have “been there, done that”, so they can tell you where to go and what to do to maximize every minute of your holiday. Additionally, if you’re not a great planner and want to avoid the nuts & blots of planning, a travel agent will help you by working out all the details of your trip based on their personal experience and expertise. Apart from this, since you get a chance to have a personal, one-to-one interaction with your travel agent, they can recommend you additional services based on your particular interests and wants. For example, if you’re a vegetarian and travelling through the Middle East where meat products dominate their staple dishes, your agent can suggest restaurant options where you can easily find vegetarian food. Unlike the website algorithms, your travel agents can add a personal touch to your travel experience.
3. On Their Toes - Always
Last year witnessed a lot of volcanoes erupting, earth-shaking and airlines getting grounded. These are some of the many factors that are beyond anyone’s control and can ruin your dream vacation. It’s here that a trusted and an experienced travel agent can be helpful. Whether your flight got cancelled or you have a problem in reaching your destination or getting back home or fell ill, your travel agent will always be there to get you out of the soup! You can call your travel agent for assistance and personalised attention while resolving your problems. The agents can guide through with next best options rather than leaving you stranded in an unknown place, giving you a sense of relief and security.
While relying on the latest technology to make travel plans is worth a try, one cannot deny that traditional travel agents still play a crucial role in making your holiday a memorable experience.
With a traditional travel agency, you get a sense of security, peace of mind and accountability, so it is important to look beyond the lure of “best deals” offered by online travel agency if you want a fulfilling travel experience.