Why use a travel agent?
We have (luckily distant) relatives who would rather shop online than call us. Yes, that's a bit rude, but not only that, they're probably costing themselves a lot of money. Don't get us wrong here, the internet is one of the best places to research information prior to purchase of a cruise....or any travel for that matter.
For our purposes today, we'll talk about just purchasing directly from the supplier rather than use your travel agent. (us, we hope!) With cruises and tours particularly, this is dangerous unless you are truly an expert in the field. This isn't like purchasing an airline seat, although that may well be a part of the package. As you know, an airline seat is an airline seat...not a whole lot of difference there. But a stateroom on board ship, or a tour to Italy (for example) have lots of variations, and therefore costs etc. Your professional travel agent knows exactly what those differences are and why you might want some things, and not others. In short, they get to know you, the passenger. Online, you're just another number in most cases.
Did you know that 85% of people who visit travlocity purchase their travel form their local travel agent? This is particularly telling. We take the time to find out the needs, desires and sometimes the budgets of our clients so that we know when they return from their trip they will be happy and ready to book from us again.
We haven't mentioned costs you say? That's because in most cases, a travel agent costs you absolutely nothing. We get paid by the suppliers. (cruise lines and tour companies) So the only factor is the passengers themselves. Are you able to save money by dealing with someone online? Most of the time the answer is no. Mainly because most people who try to shop online try to compare apples to oranges. Let's take a cruise for example: You go online and see a cruise with an itinerary you like. Then you start shopping to find a lower price. First thing you'll notice is you need a travel date. If you change that date, you change the whole deal...so you can't compare one site with another unless you use the same exact date. The next thing is the ship. Change cruise lines and look for the same thing...different rate again. After all, you can't buy a luxury cruise line for the price of a mass market line...it just isn't going to happen. Then you choose the lowest priced stateroom you can find. You have no idea if that room is right over the top of the disco or whatever, but it's a low price. In short...we do all this for you, and we know where everything is, how it's priced, and why. We do the shopping for you to find the best deal. And often times when a client "thinks" they have found a great deal on line, our price is less anyway. There are a number of reasons for this. Suffice to say...that's why you need to talk with us. We know how to "work the systems" to get the best bargains.
So, even if you decide not to use our services, please find a good competent travel professional and deal with them. If you don't get the service you think you should have, then switch agents. Likely, you'll find one who'll make sure your trips are the best ever, and at the best possible price. Good Luck, and Good Travels!