I work as a Travel Consultant. And I’ve heard all the jokes. Trust me.
I’ve heard the one about being a dinosaur. The one about booking online. The one about how my time in this career is limited. The one about how I must not make any money.
But more than that, I hear that people are happy to have called us, glad that we’re still around and for some inquiries “a computer is just too complicated.” Now don’t get me wrong, computers are great. I’m on one right now in fact, not having chiselled this one into stone. I book my travel on computers, but I have access to resources that others don’t.
So next time you’re considering booking a trip, consider an agent. One in your town who might be struggling. Or the local call centre.
You might be surprised at what you find, but for that I do have some advice.
Words your agent might not be interested in hearing: last minute deals.
You know what you might be interested in hearing: early booking bonus.
Sometimes, if you book early enough you can get price guarantees, allowing you to get a price match once if the price drops drastically. You can get free upgrades on your flights, and free seat selection. Some of them even allow your travel dates to be changed if need be seven days prior to departure. You can, in the case of some agencies, get a free night’s pre-stay at a hotel. Shipboard credits on cruises. Early booking bonuses can make your world a beautiful thing.
And also, while you may book directly through a supplier website, or the online booking engines of the world let it be known, sometimes if you book with an agent, you don’t have to pay it all up front. Different ways of booking make it possible for a deposit, and then final payment up to 45 days prior to departure with limited cancellation penalties.
And why wouldn’t you want someone else to do the work for you? Guaranteed, if you get the right agent even if they don’t have all the answers, they would be more than willing to log the man hours and do the research for you. Don’t take not getting immediate answers as a lack of experience. We don’t know everything. But we damn sure try.
So next time you’re considering booking a vacation? Give an agent a call. You might be pleasantly surprised.