We get asked this a lot and the answer is a very definite, “NO!” There are a myriad of reasons to use a travel agent, Rand McNally’s Tripology website actually lists 101 of them. Websites such as Forbes, and US News have both posted articles recently about the value of using a travel agent. About how a Travel Agent can actually save you money, in some cases thousands of dollars!
To illustrate, last weekend I got a call from my uncle. It was Saturday morning and he decided to treat his family to a last minute trip to Las Vegas. He had priced it out on Expedia for $587 per person. He wanted to know if I could beat this deal. He had specific dates and a specific hotel in mind and he was open to airlines and even had a couple of acceptable airports (gotta love living in the bay area!)
I actually thought my uncle’s price was pretty good but what I thought was awful were his flights. What Expedia offered him included layovers on both his inbound and outbound flights. Getting to Las Vegas he was going to have a 2hour and 51 minute layover! From Oakland to Las Vegas it is only a 1 hour and 20 minute flight. He was going to be sitting in Phoenix for more than twice what he would be in the air!
After a little digging and a quick call to a supplier to make sure I was getting the best possible price I was able to beat my uncle’s quote. It wasn’t by a huge amount, a little over $50 a person, but think of all the things he could do in Vegas with an extra $154. But the best part, by using a supplier that Expedia doesn’t have access to I was able to get him direct flights and free baggage! DIRECT FLIGHTS and FREE bags!
I quickly jumped on the phone to my dear uncle, but guess what? He got impatient. He phoned Expedia and the sales rep told him there were only 3 seats available at the quoted price, and there were three in his party. I guess he won’t be spending that extra $154 on Shows, or the Buffet, or even in the Casino. Nope, some big wig at a giant corporation will be spending it, probably to gas up his private plane to go to his private island.
I’m not at all upset with my uncle; although I’m pretty sure he’s a bit miffed at himself. We both learned a very valuable lesson that day. It definitely pays to have a travel agent. Especially one who is totally on your side!
So remember; “The Internet is for looking, but your Travel Agent is for booking!”