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Just use a travel agent, says influential Forbes writer

September 13, 2013 Corporate, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59Forbes magazine, the influential, New York-based finance, industry, investing and marketing publication, has come to the support of travel agents.

After various recent articles in other outlets suggesting that travel agents are about to be replaced by automation, Forbes has published a piece by the noted speaker, consultant and best-selling business author Micah Solomon, headlined: Why I Waste Money On A Travel Agent (And Why You Should, Too).

Solomon says he flies constantly all over the world addressing conferences as a keynote speaker and he loves his job. GOOGLE_DISPLAY_WEB_ADS

“I do, however, hate making travel arrangements,” he confesses.

Solomon cites a recent study that found people of all ages spend an average of 42 hours online studying future travel before booking a trip.

Solomon tried it too, but finally realised he is too busy at his job to bother “fiddling around online with travel”.

It took him a while to find this out. Solomon thought initially that self-booking travel online was becoming ever easier and that “the traditional, commission-based travel agency model has fallen apart”.

Delving into the world of self-booking, using online sites such as kayak.com, he found the whole thing vastly more complex and time-consuming than it seemed at first.

Solomon’s conclusion is worth quoting: “Tastemakers in the press sometimes make it seem that people who use travel agents are dumb, archaic, etc. But I’ll tell you what’s dumb, at least for me: trying to save a $50 travel agency fee by paddling around Kayak without competent assistance. I’m only sorry it took me so long to figure this out.”

Meanwhile, the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has issued a handy “Eight Reasons Why Booking with a Travel Professional Creates Value”. Here’s the way ASTA views it. (In Australia, AFTA might well echo the points):

  1. Customer advocacy: If you have a problem with a particular part of your travel experience, the agent is there to act on your behalf to see that restitution is made. ASTA, for example, is the only travel industry association aggressively fighting to improve the travel experience, and air transportation in particular, for all consumers, not just those with access to the internet. 
  1. Expert guidance: Travel agents, unlike instructions on a Web page, are experts in understanding and deciphering the myriad of travel information and codes out there. It’s what they’ve been trained to do and they do it every day. 
  1. Personalised service: Instead of an impersonal voice thousands of miles away, travel agents are your neighbours. They know what you want and what you value in your travel experience. 
  1. Professional advice: Travel agents are there to make sure you get where you want to go, when you want to go and for the lowest price. 
  1. Time: Instead of checking a long list of travel Web pages, which only provide rates and fares for the companies that have contracted with them, why not go straight to the source? A travel agent has all the information at their fingertips, saving you a few hours in front of a computer screen. 
  1. Unbiased information: Agents work for their clients, not for a travel supplier. It makes sense that a happy customer will be a repeat customer. 
  1. Value: Travel professionals have access to online deals, as well as many consolidators that only work with travel agencies. A travel agent will help you find the best products that provide you value. 
  1. First-Hand Experience: Many travel professionals have been to where you want to go and will give you the inside-scoop on what to do and when to do it. Look for a travel professional that is an expert in your chosen destination or type of travel. 

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. bruce weston says:

    i being a seasoned traveller i find a combination of the 2 , i generally look for an appropriate fare code purchase and upgrade with points but more recently i have found that agents are getting me a better deal than i can do so have been using them more and more BUT there is one snag you have to go back through them to get info , seat allocation and any changes and sometimes a cost is involved and generally charge 2% cr card

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