With the onset of new digital technology, the world has become a smaller place with websites like Travelocity and Orbitz popping up on the Web. These travel web sites have been very successful at facilitating travelers to book their own airline and hotel reservations online.. So with this huge push from the internet to take over the travel industry, one has to ask, “Are travel agents obsolete?” Your travel agent will be the first to tell you they are just fine.
If you have browsed some of these travel sites, you have observed that they are amazing in the diversity of travel options that they make available. And it is impossible to deny that many thousands of people have taken advantage of these services. However, no matter what your reason for traveling, travel agents still have their place.
Most travel agents agree that for those who just want to book a hotel and airfare for a couple of nights, using and online service is just fine. Travel Agents don’t make much on these types of trips and these travel sites free them up to serve customers who really need their expertise in planning vacations, tours and other specialty planning.
There are some very specific services that a living and breathing travel agent can provide that simply cannot be replicated by an automated web site.
1. Business travelers find that the services of a travel agent free them up to focus on their business objects for the trip. A travel agent will take care of all booking details from air and hotel to rental cars and entertainment for clients. Your travel agent will, over time, will develop create your travel profile ensuring that each and every time you travel they know where you like to stay and all the details are handled with a simple phone call.
2. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure your travel agent is invaluable if you encounter problems you have someone you can call. Travel disasters are never part of the plan but if you have a travel agent who is dedicated to providing you service, he or she can find those alternative routes and resources to do all they can to get you to your destination.
3. You may have travel preferences that you want to achieve with each trip you take. A travel agent has your profile and your travel history so they can do what they can to accommodate your preferences. Perhaps you or someone in your family has special needs such as a diet limitation or a need for accommodation due to a disability, it will be a travel agent that sees to it that your needs are provided for and you are well taken care of on the road.
4. If your travel itinerary involves making connections with complex travel schedules and itinerary challenges that just cannot be described to the generic screens of an online travel service, you can explain these complications to your travel agent.
5. When reservations get lost, and they do, when those reservations were booked online, there are few people you can call for help. The deal for “5 nights in paradise” may or may not be online now and since you did not deal with an agent you may find yourself stranded in paradise. A travel agent gives you someone to call for help.
While the online travel services do provide a valuable and affordable alternative to the general traveling public, it is easy to notice their limitations if you are trying to book a trip that is tricky or if you have specific needs that the screens do not anticipate. Human travel agents still do have a place in the world of travel and they will help you plan, budget and book the trip that meets your travel needs and purpose