Many people wonder if it is worth using a travel agent in the days of budget internet booking sites. Why not just book trips independently? Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of booking for yourself versus booking through a reputable agent.
– Can’t always compete with some online prices
– Can’t book your points for you
– Proven to save over 48 hours in search and design of complex trips
– Perfect for nervous travelers who are unsure of booking themselves
– Cost to use an agent can be very small
– You don’t have to wait around while they do the research on your behalf
– Can sometimes get better itineraries
– Agents can help you select the perfect vacation for you; particularly if you are uncertain of what you want to do
– You are more likely to get what you were expecting…(Parents in Italy Relais hotel)
– If things go wrong there is help
– Agents know what products are reliable
– Agents tend to be generalists who know who the reliable specialists are
– Agents have many great connections
– You get what you pay for often: If you book cheap trips online often they are the less desirable flights with poor connections or the worst room; you can’t cancel or adjust the booking, etc.
– Agencies are often members of consortiums which gives them buying power.
ADVENTOURUS is with Ensemble Travel Group, one of the largest
– Often their affiliated suppliers offer discounts to member agents. For example, Ensemble agents offer $450 per person discount and $300 shipboard beverage credit on Voyages of Discovery cruises
– Agents selling in Ontario must be licensed through the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO), a self-managed, not-for-profit corporation responsible for administering and enforcing the Ontario Travel Industry Act In addition, TICO administers an industry-financed Travel Compensation Fund.
– Monitors travel sellers to ensure they are following rules
– Solutions. If you have a discrepancy TICO can be an arbitrator
– Refunds. Up to $5,000 if your cruise, air or agency closes
– May be able to bring you back if you are stranded
WHO SHOULD USE AN AGENT?
Agents are best for:
– Dual income families with kids…hectic lives and little time
– Those who just don’t want to spend all that time researching
– Those nervous about booking on their own
– People who don’t know what they want to do
– Those looking for a complex trip