3 Reasons why is Always Better to Use Traditional Travel Agents

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One year ago I organized my trip to Cuba. This was the opportunity that brought me to the office of two always smiling and positive sisters who were about to become my best friends in trip preparation. Working with them made me understand that it is always, always better to use traditional travel agents instead the huge impersonal travel booking websites.

Let me tell you a little bit about my travel agents. Both of them are very professional and always positive which helps hugely to the communication. I trust them same way I trust my doctor – I know they will always care about my interest. They have different personalities and it is what makes them so precious. I love their differences despite their sister’s similarities. Last year one of them made trip to emerging world top destination and was so kind to share her insights about visiting Myanmar as a woman.   

Working with traditional travel agents has one BIG benefit – they take their work personal. This same feature you find in the small, family owned enterprises all over the world. Their clients are their family and everything they do have personal aspect. It is much easier to explain and be understood when the person at front of you is carefully listening and knows you well. It is much more pleasant to share your travel dreams and needs when at front of you is a person who is interested to make you happy not just to sell you a tourist package.

One obvious advantage of working with traditional travel agents is that they care deeply to make you satisfied. It is because their group of clients is little and every one of them counts. In comparison with the big travel tour operators who can easily lose one client because they know another will come by, these small business entities are focused on quality not quantity.    

As Forbes published earlier this year, traditional travel agents may be not so popular in USA but there are other countries in the world (Germany in Europe; in Australia nearly 50 %) where people use frequently traditional travel agents to plan and organize their trips.

There are 3 common misconceptions of using travel agents:

  • People believe that it is more expensive to use traditional travel agent than using OTA (online travel agency). NO, it is not. It is not only my own experience that speaks here. Tourmag also confirms that very often hidden costs and hours lost in searching for best options can add a lot to the end cost. Using travel agent not only will cost you nearly the same but gives you certainty that your customer rights are respected.
  • People believe it is easier to book via Internet. No, it is not. A travel agent has an access to professional booking systems and can quickly and easily find the best option for you. In addition, they have access to much better prices so you can benefit from that too. They also play an important role in moments when there are unpredictable changes in your itinerary or flight, or other similar circumstances. It is almost impossible to contact an online agent after the purchase and it is sometimes very expensive as they ask you to contact them by phone … and of course you have to call from abroad.
  • People believe that it is more time consuming. NO, it is not. Just because you most probably will need to go to an office it does not mean you will lose time. If you find an agent who is professional and proved himself to you, this agent becomes your friend. He trusts you and you trust him/her so you can pick up the phone and ask for help. Then you pay as it is agreed, most often in a convenient for way. No fuss.

These are my 3 reasons to always use traditional travel agents and maybe you can add some more:

  • Personal service – your travel agent knows who you are and exactly what you like. The best way to be always satisfied with the travel service is to find one that fits your personality and with whom you can create a bond. In this way your cooperation will benefit both of you and will create long-term relationship.
  • Trustworthy – you can trust the traditional travel agents because they work for their image. As most of the time they represent small business, the word of mouth is often their solely marketing weapon. They put their efforts on creating small but stable database of satisfied and loyal customers and not in advertising and marketing tricks.
  • Expert advices – many of the traditional travel agents are in the business for years and decades. All the knowledge they gathered during this period is working now in your favor. Another very important point is that the traditional travel agents being both customers and providers of travel services can have more objective and realistic view on the products they offer.

Have you had both bad and good experiences with traditional travel agent? In what situations these experiences played important role for the outcome of your trip?

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