Thank you Internet! In this day of age everything is at our fingertips and retail is quickly going by the wayside. No more line-ups, no more commissioned agents, and no more chess moves in the parking lot for a parking space. All is great in the digital world… or is it?
I can’t speak for Clothiers, Big Box Malls, or even those annoying Jewellery buyers you see on your local news station but what I do have a voice in is the Travel market. Excess spending is a weird dance partner in that we are told to save and get those much sought after bargains yet, we still love to spend. We all want cheap vacations to the sunniest of destinations to get away from the stress of everyday life. So why are we paying someone to do it? Well, you aren’t, and realistically, you never have. Travel Agents in general get not one cent from the consumer but are paid by airlines, hotels, tour operators and car rental companies. They sit on the phone hours on end trying to knock $30 off of your airfare, $500 off of your all-inclusive package, and even try to throw in an upgrade here and there just to get your business. It is a cut-throat industry that subjects an agent to work upwards of 2 days just to get a $1000 booking of which an agent on commission gets a whopping $30. Don’t worry about them though because as they hunt down the next best deal for you, I’m sure you thought about these 5 reasons not to use a Travel Agent:
1. Customer Service. I’m sure the next time you’re stranded, get checked in to a crappy hotel, or deal with the airline that just lost your luggage you will be able to resolve it with the contacts you have as a tourist as opposed to the Travel Agent with years of experience, contacts and knowledge. Also, if you had a great trip… awesome. If not, good luck with that web page you booked through.
2. Price makes a big difference as to where people travel. Ever wonder how one agency can beat the other? That would be because the Travel Agent you aren’t supposed to be using just gave away all of the commission to give you the best deal. But I’m sure we can all get a better deal from a pre-priced website.
3. Knowledge is everything in the travel industry, but why would you take an agent’s firsthand experience about a resort or destination when you can look at a 1X1 inch thumbnail of the lobby? Seems reasonable to me.
4. Security with passport information and Credit Card numbers are much more secure over the internet than actually dealing with a live person… think about it.
5. Time means nothing as you get to spend days on end comparing prices, flight times, reviews and arranging transfers with a company you have no idea about. If only there was a person or “agent” that knew about this and could have it done from experience before I even called around.