Travel advisor VS the Internet tussle is not very old. It started a few years after the birth of the Internet! And the battle has got fiercer over the last few years.
Who is winning? Well, the Travel Advisor who does not consider the Internet as his/her adversary is the outright winner! Or so, we would like to believe it! And, of course, the traveler! 😀
Let’s recreate a typical Travel Planning scene for you.
You have decided to take a holiday. As usual, you open your search engine and start looking up various destinations. And you realize that EACH destination is “shown as beautiful!!!” EACH destination actually looks like “made for you”. That often leaves you more confused than you were before you started to surf!
Once you finalize a destination and start looking for a “cheap flight”, You find the one that is really really cheap! You were surprised by the steal you got, only to realize later that it rains cats and dogs at the destination on your dates! You conclude that you should have checked the weather before booking.
So, you decide to cancel the flight and realize that your cheap flight had expensive Cancellation rules that were in the fine print. You have lost money and you have not even flown! You conclude that you should have used “some other website” with no fine print. Let us assure you that you need not blame yourself. No one reads the fine print and a website with no fine print does not exist!
So, you are now wiser and just decide to visit a nearby Resort so that you need not worry about the weather and the flight bookings. You read some blogs to be sure. Then you also see the reviews on the Internet and make the booking from a random link on the Review Website. On your arrival, you realize that the reviews were all wrong and so were the images. It happened because you were naive to not know that there is something called “paid marketing”!!!
So, what’s the solution? Use a Travel Advisor who uses Internet to his advantage.
Spend a little time finding a good one. Speak to your friends who haven’t stopped describing their memorable holidays. Check with them about the Travel Advisor they used. With them by your side, you just need to worry about shopping for your holidays and packing your bags.
Why Are Travel Agents Better Than the Internet?
1) They are trained. Are experienced. And avoid goof ups that you could land yourself into
A good Travel Advisor knows about the weather at the destination you plan to visit. They know if the deal that you have seen is actually a deal or just a marketing gimmick. They will tell you the cancellation rules upfront. And of course, they will guide you in choosing a good Resort. How? Well, they are trained for the job. They eat, drink, and sleep holidays. Their eyes and ears are always open to locate an opportunity or know a pitfall.
2) Well-traveled professionals
Your Travel Advisor has chosen to work as a Travel Advisor because of his/her love for travel. They are travelers themselves. They are the people who have traveled to parts of the world. This travel gives them “first-hand knowledge”. They can suggest a homestay in the Himalayas or a luxury hotel in the Maldives depending on your requirement.
3) Save money
This might come as a surprise to you, but it isn’t !!!
Travel Advisors save your money while making a small income themselves. The trained eye of a Travel Advisor knows if an apparent deal is actually a deal. When it’s offered to you, you know that you have “actually” saved money!
A Travel Advisor will know when to buy a particular flight ticket. If you were to book directly yourself, booking too early or too late may lead you to buy an expensive ticket.
Travel Agencies could have “contracted rates” for certain hotels. These could, at times, be less than the tariff the hotels have online on their website.
Very important : The Travel Advisors don’t charge extra from the guests. You’ll pay the same price whether you use a travel agent or not.
Bear in mind that Cruises, Hotels, Rent A Car Service providers and most of the Airlines pay a small commission to the Travel Advisor for generating business for them. Plus they find it easier to deal efficiently with a lesser number of knowledgeable Travel Advisors than a large number of actual travelers.
This makes it a win-win situation for the Service Provider, the Travel Advisor, AND the actual traveler.
Travel Advisor knows that you like discounts and deals. Who doesn’t? He tries hard to offer you the same and earn goodwill for future business.
4) They help you solve problems, that you don’t even know you may have
Let us give you some examples to explain. Let’s say that you are keen to see the grand Migration in Kenya. But do you know that it is mandatory to get a Polio dose and a Yellow Fever Vaccination before entering Kenya?
You decide to go to the UAE for a short break. But do you know that you need to cover yourselves from head to toe for entering the Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi?
Another Example You decide to fly from Mumbai to Paris via London because you got a good deal. But do you know that you need a transit Visa? The cost of a Transit Visa can make the actual cost of a ticket expensive. Perhaps more than the direct flight! Worse still, you will not be allowed to board if you do not have a Transit Visa.
5) It’s YOUR Holiday
Your Travel Advisor will ask you many questions and would love to know your Travel style and preferences, your vacation desires, your likes and dislikes and understand the dynamics of exactly the kind of trip you want to take. They use your answers to craft a vacation that truly caters to all your needs. They make your holidays personalized and special.
There is no one size fits all. Every traveler is different. A backpacker is just happy to have a roof over his head while luxury travel will not have anything less than a 5 Star Hotel. Then there are travelers who see key monuments of six European countries over twelve days of a holiday while there are others who will spend all the time exploring one country.
Your travel agent takes the time to get to know you. Why not then customize a holiday that caters to YOUR requirements rather than buy a “readymade” package made for a Mass Market?
At Infinite Journeys, we help you do just that. Do share basic details with us to start planning for your vacations : http://www.infinitejourneys.in/customize-your-holidays
6) It’s the NETWORK that matters
Your Travel Advisor will have more effective resources than the internet. More often than not, a Travel Advisor himself will know minute details about the place you are visiting. If he doesn’t, he will know someone locally who knows! The Travel Advisor has a “Local Associate” who helps him to get the relevant information. The same Local Associate is your fallback option if something doesn’t go right.
The world is full of uncertainties. Travel is no exception. A delayed flight, a lost connection, a civil disturbance, a strike, a natural disaster, a terrorist attack or a pandemic are all the reasons that you must have a reliable Backup. Your Travel Advisor is best equipped to respond to problems because of his strong Network.
7) One Stop Shop
A Travel Advisor will be your one point contact, who can guide you, with the end-to-end aspects of your travel.
- Suggesting a Country with reference to Weather, Festivals and Local Events (For eg : Elections)
- Choosing the destinations within the Country based on your interest
- Finalizing duration of Holidays based on the time available at your disposal
- Suggesting Hotels and Transfers based on your preferences and budget
- Checking your Passport
- Blocking / Issuing your international flight tickets and internal flights (if required) within the country of your travel.
- Assistance for Visa
- Share detailed itinerary with Entry Tickets to monuments, jungle safari permits, etc.
- List of things to carry
- Helping you with Forex, Forex Card.
- Sharing the details of your driver, fallback options, and a number for your 24*7 assistance.
8) Lack of reliable reviews
Images and the information on the websites and various platforms could be misleading or simply wrong!
The internet reviewing websites have reviews that are genuine as well as generated. The generated reviews look genuine to an untrained eye. This could spoil your holidays.
9) Your Travel Advisor can deal with flight delays/cancellations for you
If you have been informed that your flight is delayed/canceled while you have been on tour, you will first have to search for a good internet connection! You will need to log in to your account and process the alternatives. Are you on a Holiday to save your holiday or to actually enjoy a Holiday?!
If your Travel Advisor has booked the tickets, he knows about the cancellation as soon as you do. He gets in touch with you, gives you alternatives, and takes care of the Rest!
All Travel agents do have a great relationship with all airlines. Their executives regularly interact / bond with Travel Advisors over a cup of Coffee / Beer. When your flight is delayed or cancelled, then your travel agent has more resources than just a general helpline number.
10) They spend hours of time on the internet and leave you to get on with your day
Travel Advisors always spend a good amount of time on the Internet to keep their knowledge updated. If there is something that they are not aware of, they will search the internet, speak to the Local Associates and speak to actual travelers who have been there! This saves time for you!
You can’t be spending more time to plan your holidays than your total holiday duration itself!
Let your travel agent do all the research for your trip. This is their job and it won’t take as long for them than if you were to do it yourself. This way you can get on with your day and let the expert take care of all the details.
11) Do you prefer possible 24*7 Connect with your Travel Advisor of a faceless (and perhaps a helpless) Helpline Executive?
Try calling a helpline when you need any help while on the Tour. You will be lucky if your call is picked up within a finite time. If it does, you will be luckier if the Helpline Executive understands the issue within the first three attempts and luckiest if they actually attempt to address your issues.
The Internet is system driver, your Travel Advisor is guest-driven. He knows that you are looking for addressal of an issue and not a refund. That you care more for your holiday than a dry promise of a refund!
No website is going to care about you as your Travel Advisor will. This very fact tilts the balance of “Travel Advisor Vs Internet” debate decisively in favor of the Travel Advisors. A professional relationship between a guest and the Travel Advisor is of mutual benefit.
Getting in touch with a good Travel Advisor makes a perfect sense of anyone who takes their holidays seriously.
You may like to read a similar article in the context of USA.
This is what The Guardian has to say.
Hope this settles the debate Travel Advisor VS the Internet for you 🙂
Author : Sachin Deshmukh
More about him on : Click Here
Can Infinite Journeys customize holidays for you?
Yes. Infinite Journeys specializes in customizing your holidays. Infinite Journeys has Travel Advisors who are well traveled and experienced. They will be happy to share their expertise with you to make your holidays memorable.
At Infinite Journeys, we believe that you should never buy a product off-the-shelf when you can have one that is customized for you.
We customize the Holidays to any destination in the World
We will need some details from you to customize your holidays. Please Click Here for the same.