10 Misconceptions about Using a Travel Agent
In an age where we can practically do anything and everything on the internet, why should you use Olsen - O'leary?
The answers might just surprise you!
We are debunking 10 of the biggest misconceptions about using a travel agent and why you should consider using us when planning your next trip.
1. “No one uses travel agents anymore.”
Travel agents still sell:
51% of all flights
87% of all cruises
81% of all tours & packages
45% of all car rentals
47% of all hotels
2. “Travel agents are trying to cheat me if they don’t quote me the cheapest price.”
Travel agents know the ins and outs of different itineraries. While you might find one that is a little
cheaper, that cheaper itinerary might involve a whole slew of headaches. For
example, longer waits at the airport or odd travel times. A travel agent will
be looking to get you the best value for your money spent, which should include
the most direct and time friendly itinerary they can find. Unless you tell
them upfront you would prefer the cheaper options as well, expect value to be a
factor included in the trip they plan.
3. “I can easily book the same trip on my own without using a travel agent.”
Although travel agents have access to most of the same outlets you would use when looking to book, they also
have access to exclusive pricing and package deals that are not available to
the public. Your travel agent also has more leverage in helping out in
situations such as hotels claiming to be booked, when in fact they may still
have rooms available that are on hold for travel agent reservations. So when
everyone else is tell you “no” your travel agent can give you a “yes.”
4. “Travel agents are a waste of time.”
Although you can find a lot of the same information that a travel agent provides for you on your own, you are
going to spend a LOT of valuable time doing so. A travel agent can
actually save you from hours of painful research and price comparison shopping.
They have up to date prices, hotel conditions and interesting new activities.
Their prior knowledge give them the ultimate upper hand in trip planning.
5. “It is expensive to use a travel agent.”
This may be the biggest misconception of all -not every service a travel agent provides has a fee added to it. Most of the booking services are through various hotels and vendors that pay them commission for the business they bring in- so they get paid directly by the vendors, not by charging you fees. Also, they are offered special rates and often obtain VIP status for clients, even if it is your first stay. And the fees they do charge for other services are quite marginal. Often they will even offer a discount or drop the fee once you finalize a trip with them. (Keep in mind that booking sites like Orbitz and Expedia charge booking fees as well.)
6. “Travel agents don’t have information as updated as the internet.”
While travel agents obtain some of their information from the same online booking sites, they also receive daily emails and updates with new specials and prices from hotels and vendors that will not be published on the internet. Travel agents can also call a place directly and see if they can work out other kinds of special deals for you, something the internet cannot do.
7. “The need for travel agents is being replaced by the internet.”
There are things technology can
never replace, and personal touch is one of them. The internet is a valuable
resource, however it cannot replace the expertise, guidance and personal
service of a travel agent. They have hours of research and comparisons at
their fingertips and can also offer insider tips, generally based on personal
8. “Travel agents have lost their clout.”
Travel agents book hotels, cruises, tours and activities every day. The companies that
provide these services know that and want to work to keep that business coming
back. So while one vendor may tell you they are “booked,” they are more
likely to make exceptions for travel agents to insure the agent continues
to send business their way.
9. “Travel agents can only book hotels and flights.”
Travel agents can arrange carservice, personalized tours, activities, destination weddings, honeymoons, vow renewals, and travel insurance, in addition to the other basic travel services they provide. They are also excellent sources
of information concerning good restaurants, good sites to see and what to pack.
10. “The hotel you book online is the same hotel your travel agent will book for you.”
As the availability of rooms in a hotel diminishes, the prices go up. A travel agent is usually afforded those
rooms at locked in rates, saving you from the inflated price. They are
also able to negotiate perks and VIP services that you would not be able
to get from an internet booking site.