George Duffy

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Posted on: Thursday May 03, 2018
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Reality Check: Why Travel Agents Still Alive and Well After All These Years

People once thought that the internet would make travel agents obsolete. Certainly, travel agencies have changed, and many agents (like myself) now work remotely instead of in a store. But ironically, because of the internet, the job of advising people on best travel choices for value and security has only gotten more important.

The reality is that the internet has opened the door to thousands and thousands of vendors, creating a flood of information and choice. But for all the choice in the world, buying direct or online hasn't really improved service and for that matter prices have not really dropped as everyone expected they would.

Buying travel online seems easy, no question. Pick and choose, enter your credit card number, agree to all those nice terms and conditions and click, you're done. And you get this nice little email thanking you and confirming that all is right with the universe. It seems so simple, but it's deceptively complex in the background and that's where it can be troublesome.

Automation has a really hard time dealing with the unexpected and the thing about travel is, plans constantly change. Schedules change, people get sick, get married, get divorced, get new jobs, move and sometimes people just change their minds. That's one level of complexity. But what if something in the "system" actually messes up?

What if you show up and there is no room at the inn? What if there is no seat? It might seem alarmist, but it happens more than many people know and it is very, very difficult to deal with an online booking agency at midnight from a strange country when the hotel clerk explains to you that they never got that reservation. And it was such a good deal.(Yes, I speak from a recent experience in Mexico.)

Do things always go perfectly with travel agent bookings? Usually, but not always, and here's the deal.  For anything other than really straightforward trips, especially if you are investing thousands of dollars, you and your money are better protected, and everything just goes so much smoother, with a trained travel pro helping you from the start. Second, if you can't resolve a problem locally, you'll have a staunch supporter to help you make your claim when you get home.


What About Privacy?

Most people love to dream about their travel and they research a lot online. I do too. But when it comes time to buy, many people dislike sharing information online. They are concerned  they are losing control over their personal privacy. They also feel like they are being stalked by websites they've visited. 

Even sites like Trip Advisor, that started out as a great third party social sharing platform to give honest reviews of hotels, now follows you and tracks your net journeys to present more "relevant" information (ie for their own hotel booking platform). But that's not all.

Do you read all the terms and conditions? The internet can be a cruel teacher if you misunderstand something. Or, what happens if the automated system breaks down? Then you have deal with a call centre. That's fun. That's why we do things differently.

Online Plus

Everything at Flight Centre Independent is based on providing the personal connection, and we do not in any circumstance sacrifice your privacy. Even our online booking service is different. I call it "online plus". FCI calls it "Book With George"

It is specific for Canadians and much different from OTA's like Expedia. It has all the major Canadian package vacation companies like Westjet Vacations and it keeps me in the loop as your personal advisor. Once you use it to book I will be contacting you to ensure that the details are all right. You will have a human being you can contact for service.  The point is, I'll know you, I'll know your booking, and if there's a problem, you are not in it alone. Even with our online bookings.

Or call me.

Look over this site for travel ideas, deals, video links and stories from places I've visited. I can send you travel brochures or links to travel programs and I can quote you firm prices for any tours and packages we make just for you. When you want to travel, contact me below, or call me.




Contact George

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  • phone Toll Free 1 888 543 6450
  • Alternate Number: 778 383 6369
  • email george.duffy@fcitravel.ca
  • web flightcentreindependent.ca/GeorgeDuffy
  • address Vernon, British Columbia, Canada