Booking travel with an agency and booking independently online each have their own conveniences. Let’s take a look at how each booking style to compare the conveniences and merits of each:

Travelers who book online without an agent do so because of the perceived convenience. Booking online means doing independent research to compare flight costs and making the purchases directly through airlines, cruise companies or other providers. Without an agent, there is no wait for the travel office to open so this process can occur at any time of the day or night. This method does have some challenges, such as airlines including JetBlue and American beginning to utilize less third-party websites for flight cost comparisons. This change makes independent research harder for the individual without an agency. An individual would also not have the experience or resources available at their disposal that an agency would.

Travel Agent
While booking online independently has a perceived convenience to it, booking with a travel agency has its own conveniences to contend with. A travel agent can save travelers time and energy that would otherwise be spent wondering and worrying while researching on the internet for hours or waiting on the phone forever. The value of booking with an agent is different than finding the cheapest price online, because travel agents will get travelers the lowest competitive prices that guarantee the vacation travelers seek without the compromises or risks that come with finding the most base price. The insider knowledge agencies possess includes access to special deals, cruise or hotel upgrades, vacation packages, and discounts for resorts or theme parks. These incentive deals are built into the agent’s commission and come to no extra cost for the traveler. Hotel, cruise, and vacation package companies include agent commissions in published prices. Independent bookers would still pay these built-in prices, and after they do the work booking on their own the vacation companies would just keep the difference in price for themselves. Further, agents will price match deals online, or let travelers know if they have encountered a scam.

Consultation and advice from travel agencies also has an incalculable value. The travel agency will pair travelers with an agent whose knowledge and experience will best serve the unique interests, needs, and requests of the traveler. Travel agents have often inspected destinations and have personal experience and/or reviews from other customers or coworkers to base recommendations on. The agents can provide information that would not be otherwise apparent from a website or brochure. They can answer questions such as what to pack, encompassing costs and expenses to budget for, passport and visa information, travel insurance, and all the best sightseeing tips.

The personalized experience and overall value of booking with travel agents presents a challenge the convenience of booking independently online. Both, however, are very popular and travelers continue to utilize both booking styles. For the best possible experience for customers, get results for your travel agency with a Booking Engine from Travtion.

Britni Hiatt