Travel Agents

6 reasons to love your travel agent

Hannah Edensor

Hannah Edensor

Travel agents are an invaluable resource and an integral part of the travel industry, but sometimes travellers can forget just why they need one.

In the overwhelming world of OTAs and Google, many think they’re fine going it alone, but when everyone from Intrepid CEO James Thornton to travel giant Condé Nast, keeps telling us agents are essential, it’s time people pay attention.

So we’ve done some rounding up of the top 6 reasons an agent is your lifeline when travelling. See if you agree, and let us know your own reasons:

1. You’re not an expert

Not only do agents come with more knowledge and experience than you can poke a stick at, they’re doing this job every day. You might only travel once a year. That’s a big gap in wisdom.

According to Forbes, “Good travel advisers can offer you options you might not have considered.

“If you book a cruise through an agent, he or she is likely to be familiar with various lines, sailings, cabins and excursions. Some agents even have subspecialties, such as riverboat cruising.”

2. They get deals you can’t

According to Smart Traveller, you shouldn’t be stressing out that you’re missing a ‘hot’ deal on the internet, because agents have their own deals to offer.

“Not only do agents have access to services that consumers don’t, such as consortiums (groups of suppliers that offer incentives to travel agencies), group rates (in which agents buy blocks of space at a lower price), and GDSs (computerised reservation systems), more and more agents are gaining access to cut-rate prices available online.”

They use the example of cruise lines like Carnival keeping the playing field even by introducing uniform pricing across the board, so whether you’re online or off, agent or not, the price tag stays the same.

3. They go the extra mile

In a bit of a research experiment, Business Insider investigated why you should use an agent by asking a handful of travel agents to quote prices for an imaginary trip, and comparing them to prices they found online.

And agents won by a country mile, all because of personal service. See for yourself:

BI said, “Travel agent Andrea Holtman of Travel Leaders took it upon herself to not only search for the flights we had requested, but to build an entire itinerary for the hypothetical trip we had planned.

“Along with the flights, she sent us prices for various hotels she recommended in each city, both with varying locations and prices, as well as tours, museum tickets, private transfer to and from the airports, and potential rail passes. Even better, she gave a few personal recommendations, like cafes and restaurants.”

4. They’re Speedy Gonzalez 

You can pour over Skyscanner, Webjet and any other search engine or comparison site you like, but if you want a trip booked fast in order to save and get going quicker, an agent is your lifeline.

Stuff.co.nz recently wrote in an article, “You can spend ages in front of a computer fretting over flights, hotel bookings, and tours. Why not let someone else do it for you?

“If you need to speak to an airline, do you really want to spend 30 minutes on hold listening to the Vivaldi synth track?”

5. They’ve got your back

Things go wrong when travelling, and often there’s nothing you can do about it. But having an accountable and dependable agent back home to swoop in and save the day is nothing to scoff at.

Per Travel Market Report“A travel agent can offer insurance in a number of ways, from guaranteeing that the hotel is safe and the company running the excursion won’t rob a traveller, to actually advising on which insurance policies are needed, from trip cancellation to medical emergencies.

“And when things do go wrong, travel agents have the resources and the contacts to get travellers to the head of the line.”

6. They make it all about you

A website won’t call you by your name, tailor things to your personal needs or offer one of a kind service, but an agent will. According to Travel Market Report, “We all want to be a little bit different.

“A travel agent knows the new destinations and the new places in them —and often they can get their client in.

“Travel agents have leverage with most hotel companies and resorts, and they are more likely to get what they want than a single consumer.”

What other reasons did we leave out?


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