When it comes to saving money on a trip – when is the value of using a travel agent worth paying a little more than the price you find online?
Unlike booking online, when you book with a travel agent, you are getting much more service than you will with an online agency. Our job doesn’t end when we deliver your tickets to you – it continues with our assistance while you are traveling and when you get home. How you may ask?
Here are a few examples of actual client travel problems that the value of using a travel agent outweighed booking by themselves.
We booked a family on a vacation package to Cabo. They had connecting flights and called us because their first flight leaving was delayed by several hours, causing them to miss their connecting flight.They called us from the airport because they were concerned that the company that their transfers were through would not be at the airport to pick them up. We contacted the supplier who changed the flight times and made sure the transfer company had the new information.
Clients from Georgia were supposed to fly Feb. 13, 2010 to San Juan for a cruise leaving at 10 PM on Feb. 14. At 8 AM on Feb. 13 they called us in a panic. It was snowing, their flights were canceled and the airline told the clients they would not be able to fly them out until Monday.
Thankfully they could drive to Florida and we found flights on another airline Feb. 14 that would get them to the cruise ship with plenty of time to spare. We canceled their San Juan hotel, found a hotel in Orlando for her that would allow them to park their car for free for the duration of the cruise and shuttle her back and forth to the airport. Our client said if she had booked this on her own, she would not have known what to do and would have been heartbroken at not being able to travel. Since she had also purchased travel insurance, we started a travel delay claim for her to be reimbursed for the difference in the flight prices, plus her expenses for gas, tolls and meals to get back and forth to the Orlando airport. The forms were waiting for her when she arrived back from her cruise.
A few years ago, we had clients who had booked a trip and canceled their trip a month before the date they were to leave for a reason that was not covered by travel insurance. The supplier was adamant that the cancellation was non-refundable. We interceded and were able to obtain a partial credit to book another trip within one year so the client did not lose all their money.
Today a client sent us a price quote for a vacation to Punta Cana asking if we could beat the price. She priced the vacation with connecting flights from Philadelphia and on her return, she chose a flight that left Punta Cana at 7 AM. We asked her if she realized that to make that return flight home she would have to be at the airport by 4:30 AM to ensure she would have enough time to get through Security. She had no idea she would have to be at the airport that early. Not only did we beat the price, we found her direct flights for less than she was quoted through the online agency and her return flight left at 1:05 PM.
What other value do we provide when you book with us that you won’t get from booking online? We send you destination information, advise you of the documentation you need to travel, give information on optional excursions, send you helpful hints and last minute reminders and we are available 24 hours if you have a problem while you are traveling as evidenced above. We follow up with you when you return and if there was a problem that needs to be addressed with a supplier, we will get involved to try and find a satisfactory resolution.
Is this kind of service worth paying a little extra for?