Myths about travel agents

Over the years, a number of myths about travel agents. In this article we’ll debunk some of the myths and understand the facts of why using a travel agent is worth your money.

Myth 1: Agents can only book flights and hotels

Fact: Apart from the basics, travel agents can also arrange transfers, car rentals, personalized tours and activities, travel insurance, event tickets, visa assistance and much more. They are also excellent sources of information concerning good restaurants, interesting sites and activities not to be missed, and tips on what to pack.

Myth 2:  I can get cheaper prices online

Fact: Online booking websites are often labelled as the cheapest options for booking travel, but while sometimes you can find limited-time promotional rates, often they are neither  cheaper nor offer a better value than the rates offered by travel agentsThis is because:
– Travel agents have access to several databases that allow for price comparison in order to find you the best deal.
– Most of the fares that are published on websites can be matched by agents when booking directly through a central reservations system.
– Travel agents offer added value with their industry knowledge, allowing them to suggest the best airlines, connections and fare conditions depending on your plans.
– Most travel agencies have direct contracts with airlines, hotels and other tourism services, giving access to fares that are even cheaper what is published online.

Myth 3: All Travel Agents are created equal

Fact: Each travel agency has its own area of specialisation. Choose your travel agent depending on what type of trip you are looking to take, as the agents’ level of expertise is built over years of experience in the business.

Myth 4: Travel Agents are taking advantage if they do not quote the cheapest price

Fact: Travel agents know the travel industry inside out and it is also in their best interest to offer the best solution, which might not necessarily be the cheapest. While cheaper options might exist, they might involve longer waits at the airport, inconvenient travel times or multiple connections. A travel agent will look at the best value for money, which means the most direct and time-efficient itinerary they can find.

Myth 5: It is Expensive to Use a Travel Agent

Fact: No, not really. While some people suppose that travel agents are expensive because they take commissions, others even go as far to think that travel agents will only offer deals that get them the best commissions, but that is far from the truth. The commissions that agents earn come from the service suppliers (hotels, airlines, car rental companies, etc.) not from you, and for the travel agent is important to help you plan a flawless trip so that you’re satisfied with their services and use them again!

Also, it is worth noting that a lot of online booking sites are actually travel agents and have exactly the same business model as your brick-and-mortar travel agent, taking identical commissions, but without giving you the personalised service.

Myth 6: I can easily book the same trip on my own.

Fact: Although from home you can easily access many travel websites to book your flights, hotels and car rentals, travel agents also have access to exclusive pricing and package deals that are normally not available to the public. Your travel agent also has more leverage in helping out in more complicated situations such as: overbookings or amending a booking, when everyone is saying “No”, your travel agent can help turning it into a “Yes.”

Myth 7: Travel Agents are not as updated as the internet.

Fact: Very often travel agents obtain their information from the same sources as online booking sites. Apart from having access to a wide array of databases and travel booking tools, agents are the first to know about new airlines serving a particular destination, new hotels around the world and special offers on tourism services, most of which are not published online.

Myth 8: Travel Agents are a Waste of Time.

Fact: Although it is possible to obtain similar information to that of the travel agent on your own, you will spend a lot of valuable time doing so. A travel agent can help you avoid hours of painstaking research and comparing prices. They have up to date prices, they are aware of flight and hotel conditions, and know all about the best attractions and activities. In short, their knowledge and experience gives agents the upper hand in trip planning.

Myth 9: We don’t need Travel Agents, we have the internet.

Fact: Although we are big fans of technology, we know what it cannot do, and personal touch is one essential aspect. The Internet is a valuable resource, but it cannot replace the expertise, guidance and personal service of a travel agent. At a time when travellers are stressed out with hectic schedules, travel agents have all of the information at their fingertips, saving valuable hours of surfing on the web. Agents can offer insider tips (such as what to do in the country you’re visiting, what to eat, and things to keep you comfortable and safe) based on personal experience and can also contact tourism services directly to work out special deals and requests; something that an online portal definitely cannot do.

Myth 9: Travel agents are as likely to be victims of online scams as we are

Fact:The abundance of so travel websites brings about questions of reputability resulting in travellers needing further research to determine which hotels or tours are what they proclaim to be. Travel agents only book with reputable, well vouched for suppliersthat are usually researched first hand and experienced personally. At Planit Travel we work mostly with operators that our staff have experienced first-hand. While online booking websites are sometimes not even legally registered, traditional travel agencies are regulated and licensed by a central authority and are bound by several consumer protection laws. This means that if something goes wrong, you can be assured that your travel agent will sort out the problem and deal with the suppliers on your behalf – saving you time and reducing stress.

To summarise:

We have seen that most myths about travel agents are actually not true. Travel agents have experience and expertise to make your travels more convenient, advise you to experience something unique and ensure your peace of mind. With their connections, agents can also provide for your special requests and more importantly, assist you throughout in the unfortunate case that something goes wrong.