In today’s time and age one might say that I have lost it. Writing an article as to why an old model of going to a travel agent is better than an online travel agent. Well being in the industry for more than two decades and seeing it evolve the realisation has come that they are in fact far better, more effective and more efficient than what is used today to make ones travel/holiday choices. A research done states that a consumer typically spends about 11 hours researching before setting out on a holiday. This essentially is a list he/she has put together. A travel agent does the same in about 4 hours. It makes no sense because if one were to add up all the small points that goes into a travel or a holiday it will be the same at least as far as the cost is concerned. Add to this, the many unanswered questions, when you make your travel/holiday plans online because you have put these plans up, the itinerary and the works. It’s very much like trying to fight a legal case after reading up online rather than have a lawyer do it for you.
Here are a list of 5 reasons why travel agents are better.
a) Trust- With a travel agent you have trust. Trust that he would not leave you high and dry in the middle of nowhere stranded and helpless. There is a number you can call and take out your frustration in the distant eventuality that Something untoward was to happen. With a travel agent what one has is a relationship. It’s called a human
relationship. It’s better than having one with a computer. No, I am not against technology, but am of the opinion that when the computer starts taking over the human aspects of certain relationships then there is bound to be trouble. Watch this English movie “Her” you would know what I am talking about. In today’s COVID world does it make more sense to talk to someone you trust rather than read something online and believe it. This I am referring to when it comes to the hygiene standards that need to be maintained by properties where you might be checking into. What’s at stake here is your health and also the health of your family and dear ones.
b) Experience- A travel agent gets into the profession that he is in, mainly because he is passionate about it. Very rarely would you find one who is there due to compulsions. His passion drives him to various stages of his business. What he likes and does is so that the end consumer that is you are happy. That makes his day. He loves to travel. He/she gets to know the very nuances of destinations that he is promoting. Get to speak to one and ask him or her about say a certain destination. Compare those notes online. Chances are
what the agent would have told you is a lot more. This basically comes out of experience and passion. This is what you pay for.
c) Knowledge- This basically is a sort of subset of the previous point. Their knowledge is un-paralleled. On-line knowledge as I see it is a function of a a number of factors. Third party contributions mainly and also information corroborated from a number of sources like journals, magazines, travel books and yes back to online. There is bound to be a conflict. Most of this content I have noticed are written by people who haven’t even visited the said destination. They imagine themselves there after having corroborated this information and put it up online for your consumption. This is half baked knowledge and is dangerous. Information from a travel agent is first hand. He/she has been there, travelled to that place and the information that is delivered at that level is not only believable but also fit for consumption. Many a time we keep meeting people who go on the net and do a certain amount of self medication in case they aren’t feeling well. Then the Doctor comes into the pictures only when things get really complicated. Point being, the knowledge a doctor has cannot be replaced by an article/articles on the internet. Ditto.
d) Choices- We are spoilt today for choices. Brands, prices, deals, destinations, things to do, where to go etc. etc. This again is a function of number of things. Guest/consumer opinions of a destination help us make that one choice and proceed with it. With a travel agent
the choices he gives you are more. Why? Again because he’s been there and done that. Properties from across the world invite travel agents for something known as a FAM or better known as a Familiarisation Tour. Here the agent gets to not only experience the property but the destination too. Starting from where to stay, good places I mean, here you get what you see or presented to you by the agent. The price points without any hidden costs, things that you can do or see. He will even go one step ahead and might even book you into an activity, experience rather than you going there and taking the trouble and the headache.
e) Helping the local economy- Working with the travel agent means that directly or indirectly help the local economy of the place that you are visiting, rather than large corporate or entities.
It will start with the travel agent itself, then the taxi that you engage there, the people that you interact with, the places that you visit etc. Let’s say for instance you are travelling to a historical place a monument for discussions sake. You would be a lot better informed with. guide. Now, a travel agent with his network can fix that for you an online portal cannot. This in essence is the benefit of tourism.
Conclusion Every time we step out of our homes setting out to another place we are travelling either on work or on a holiday. We come back with stories of where we went, what we saw, what we ate etc. etc. We then are essentially storytellers. We at theolta.com refer to out travel agents as Destination Storytellers. They are the best in the world. And they will narrate stories to you of places that they have been to, things that they have seen, where they have stayed and what they have done. Listen to them. And then set out to write your own story