You may Ask yourself why hire a Travel Agent, When we can plan or get most of the information online? its simple, agents are still the experts, and, bottom line, they know more about travel and have access to more deals than your average vacationer. Phocuswright, a travel market research company, reports that for the first time in years, the number of people booking exclusively online has leveled off, while the number turning to traditional agents is on the rise, growing 5 percent for the fourth straight year in 2015. A recent experience triggered this article.
The tour guide in me is soo strong that no matter where I go what I do I shall always remain as one. As a matter of fact I am in soo many online guides platform, and its through one of this platform I had a rare encounter. Two family friends one from Brazil and another from Portugal hired me for a four nights safari as their guide, all they needed from me were tour guiding services everything else they had booked online and they didn’t need assistance.
Our meeting was at a hotel in Karen and they had kids full of energy which was awesome. Our fast day took us to Naivasha and was without any hitches, our second day took us to the Maasai Mara it was an awesome journey until we reached the lodge they had booked online. The Hotel didn’t have their reservation and since it was peak season the hotel was fully booked for the next two days, with my tour operations background I was afraid but of course I couldn’t show I had to switch to troubleshooting mode. My guests had a confirmation of reservation from Booking.com, the lodge manager says they never got their reservation and he has no rooms left and all his partners were fully booked it was a back and forth for like two hours even booking.com wasn’t be able to help.
Now I had to take charge and engage my guests it was time to look for an alternative accommodation, it was getting late, we were all exhausted especially the kids as the road to Mara isn’t a smooth one. We are in the wilderness, it was also a public holiday meaning most hotels reservation offices were closed, but I knew a few hotel managers and we got availability for like three lodges. So we got into a conversation deciding which is which, and the next handle was my guest were referring their ranking on Trip advisor even after 17.00hrs we were still discussing where to stay. Finally I firmly recommended Mara simba lodge and we settled to revisit the issue the day after. However, they were satisfied, their three night stay was memorable and quite interesting and the team at Simba gave them a wonderful experience, the kids had a lot to do, from nature walks, games, farming etc I was relieved too..
The above experience might not have a positive outcome for everyone especially if your guide has no Tour operations/co-ordination back ground and you all would be stranded.
While we can’t ignore the fact that internet has revolutionized travel and has lots of travel information e.g tips, recommendations, reviews etc but the expertise of a good agent can make the difference between a good and a great vacation. The human element is crucial to travel as most things don’t remain the same. We have rounded of, a few reason why you should identify a good agent for your travels..
- It saves you Time and Money
Travel agents eat, sleep and breathe traveling, much like any professional does for their chosen field. We cut through the kind of online clutter that leads to information overload “Not only do we send thousands of travelers a year from destinations to destinations, we ourselves go and experience the different destinations and types of travel, we know first-hand where to get the best of everything; we know the best location for that perfect sunrise or sunset, we know how to bypass the lines to busiest places, we use our inside connections to get you upgrades, offers, and other extras that add value to your travels. This extra experience can lead to tips and tricks that will help save you time and money and may allow you to see things that you’d never find through a Google search.
The travel agent is there to listen to your needs, wants and dreams for your perfect vacation. You may go in thinking of a certain location and they may show you an even better one that you didn’t even think of. “We take what we hear and we create a travel experience that is best suited for you and the type of trip you are taking at that time. Whether it is for business, a long overdue vacation, a honeymoon or anniversary, an adventure package, missionary travel, humanitarian travel, family travel, food and wine, etc., we take care of every aspect so that you can focus on achieving your travel desires and goals,” Because agents travel to many destinations, properties and attractions they recommend, they can offer specific information about how to tour confidently and book appropriate accommodations, particularly if you are alone or have a disability or medical conditions etc.
3.Solves your problems
Travel can be fraught with pitfalls e.g flight cancellations, traffic delays, meetings rescheduled etc your agent can re-book your flights and any affected part of your itinerary. An agent will know if the weather, political or social unrest to your destination might affect your travel, and proactively react and rearrange flights and hotels booking. in my case above what if the drivers never showed up? or demanded extra pay to cover the miles to the other lodge? what if a vehicle breaks down? with a n agent you would have it replaced and it wont affect your itinerary.
4.Connections and Partnerships
Agents and agencies team up with resorts, airlines and cruise lines to give you access to the best deals possible. Those relationships generally trump any deal you could find online. We work with Many suppliers of travel every week and know who has the best negotiated prices for certain destinations. Many do not work with the general public and will only partner with accredited travel agencies. While you may be able to plan a less expensive vacation on your own, you may not find as good a value or the same quality vacation as what you can book through a travel agent.
5.With an Agent you got yourself an advocate.
If you have issues while traveling, the Internet is not going to do you any favors or advocate for you — but a travel agent will. Travel agents work for you, the customer, not the travel companies, so they can help resolve your issues for you. If you have a situation arise with a hotel, attractions, cruise line, or airline arrangements, we become your advocate on getting those situations resolved as soon as possible. This can be extremely helpful if you are in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language or if a situation arises that requires you to change your plans quickly.
To sum it all up a good travel agent strives for you to have the smoothest
and the most memorable experience,they also add value to your travels.