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Posted on: Tuesday July 16, 2019
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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. Ironically, because of the internet, the job of advising people on best travel choices for value and security has only gotten more important.

Internet Booking Reality, Benefits and Risks

Buying travel online seems easy, no question. Pick and choose, enter your credit card number, agree to all those terms and conditions and click, you're done. You get a 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 difficult, if not impossible, to deal with an online travel agency from a strange country when the hotel clerk explains to you that they never got that reservation. (Yes, I speak from an experience in Mexico.)

A recent study published by travel writers Asher and Lyric reveal several flaws in the online travel booking platform, Airbnb. They were also featured on CBC Marketplace. https://www.asherfergusson.com/airbnb/

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.

Do things always go perfectly with travel agent bookings? Usually. But if not, if they made the booking, they'll move heaven and earth to help you solve the issue. And if you can't resolve a problem locally, you'll have a staunch supporter to help you make a 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. 

Sites like Trip Advisor, that started out as a great third party social sharing platform to give honest reviews of hotels, now follow you and track your internet journeys to present more "relevant" information (ie for their own hotel booking platform).

I must collect some information from you to begin a firm price quote. Things like your name, your date of birth, your nationality, an email address, a telephone number are basic. These are entered into our internal database that stores the information in a secure system that only we have access to. Once you give the go ahead to book I may need to collect other information like credit card number with expiry date and security number on the reverse; passport number, issue and expiry dates, preferences, etc. This too will be securely stored internal database.

In order to process your booking I need to share some of this information with the suppliers who operate the vacation package or tour. (Please note that I have no control over that they do with this.) This information is required to be able to deliver the services to you.

The Fine Print Online

Do you read all the terms and conditions? Do you understand the implications of your booking? The internet can be a cruel teacher if you misunderstand something. Then you have deal with "the call centre". That's fun. That's one more really powerful reason to let a reliable travel professional manage your booking.

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.

 

 

 


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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 Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada