As an online travel agent, I know firsthand how a lot of people have switched from booking with traditional travel agencies, to making their travel plans online with a travel website. Understandable, since there are a lot of advantages to booking online.
First, and probably the most important consideration, is the price. Airline & cruise tickets, hotel & car rates, and even some local activities & services are usually cheaper online than thru your regular travel agent. That’s because online travel agencies usually get special rates due to the large volume of travelers who use their site. They also have a lower ratio of travel agents to customers, since most customers usually book on their own. These are savings they can pass on to their customers.
Another advantage is that most of these sites are very user-friendly. You don’t have to be particularly computer-savvy to surf their websites. Thus, most customers feel they can do a better research on their travel plans on their own, without feeling rushed or pressured as they might be, if they were dealing with a travel agent. This is a special consideration for those types of customers who love to shop & have several options with regards to their travel plans.
Another factor is the fact that these websites are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So let’s say, for example, you’re an extremely busy person who has no other time to make travel plans except when you get home from work. This would pose a problem since most travel agencies have regular business hours as well. Unlike with online travel websites, where you can even book your vacation details at 2 a.m. if you want to! Also, let’s say you’re already on your vacation in a place that has a different timezone. If problems were to come up, you might find it difficult to get hold of your travel agent in the middle of the night. Online travel agencies, however, usually have 24 hour customer service, even on holidays.
In my next post, I’ll discuss the other side of this article, the cons towards booking online. Hopefully, these articles will help you make a more informed decision on whether to book online or thru your friendly neighborhood travel agent.
Till next time!