Consulting a travel agent while planning a trip abroad might sound unnecessary and outdated but getting professional assistance sometimes can make a big difference, especially when the trip involves travelling to multiple cities or countries. Listed below are the various advantages of seeking the services of a travel agent:
Planning a holiday or a business trip involves making reservations for hotel, booking flight/train tickets etc. A lot of time gets consumed in searching and making bookings online. If the trip includes travelling across multiple cities or countries, for example going from USA to Singapore followed by a trip to Australia and back to USA, then you will have to make numerous bookings. This means you either spend a lot of time on IVR, chatting with customer care executives or devote time on various flight/trip booking websites searching for the most suitable deal.
Business travellers often change their bookings close to travel date, as meetings get rescheduled/cancelled at a short notice. In such a case, the travel agent takes care of the cancellation procedure and bookings. For an individual, this will mean a lot of time to be spent in the entire process, as with most online portals, cancellation is still not web friendly and contacting airline/ hotel customer support is required.
Sometimes, while planning a tour especially a business trip, it is decided that employee(s) will travel to a certain destination but the trip date is still undecided or other people need to be consulted. In such a case, taking a travel agent’s service helps, as he can give you a time window, generally lasting between 24-48 hours, while locking the fares. This way you get some time to confirm the dates of travelling without running the risk of an increase in price of tickets. This advantage is not available if you book directly with airline or through a travel portal online.
Many a times, flights and trains get cancelled or rescheduled due to either their own service issues, bad weather conditions or unfavourable conditions in a country/city etc. In such cases, the travel agent usually takes the responsibility of rebooking the flight with a different carrier followed by cancelling the rescheduled flight while making sure that you get a refund. All of these aforementioned activities would be a big hassle for a traveller who had made bookings on his own.
A travel agent can provide you with a combination of the most appropriate flight and hotel bookings in terms of price, time and connectivity, which would be far better than what you can find on your own. The reason for this advantage is that a travel agent is connected with the global distribution system, therefore, they have a combination of deals which would not be offered to you as an end user.
A travel agent will be able to provide you with friendly consultancy with your best interest in mind, something which an online portal lacks. For example, your travel agent might offer you the option of taking a cheaper flight from a less busy airport located 20 km far from your hotel instead of taking an expensive flight from a busy airport which is located 10 km far from the hotel. A travel agent can speak with you, understand your requirements and customise your trip as per your discretion. They can also provide a free stopover at a tourist destination along with a good deal on a hotel (though such offers are now diminishing).
In case of non-delivery of services, you can call up or simply WhatsApp your travel agent, a convenience that is not available when you make a booking manually or through an online portal where probably you will be asked to listen to IVR message for about half an hour or maybe more.
Therefore, if you are travelling on a business purpose or if your trip includes touring several cities/countries, it is recommended that you take the services of a travel agent to ensure a hassle free trip. After all, in this age of machines, it is sometimes pleasant to speak with a human.