Decades ago, if people wanted to book a trip, they would visit their local travel agent’s office. After forming some ideas and perhaps looking through the travel agent’s catalogs, travelers will express their preferences to the agent, who will arrange hotel and transportation bookings for them.
Today, travelers are more likely to start their trip planning process by researching destinations online, and then approach an online travel aggregator to make the booking themselves. A recent survey found that 41% of travelers now prefer to use online travel agencies or aggregators to book hotels, with another 29% booking direct, and only 29% using a traditional travel agent.
However, there are still some unique benefits to using a travel agent. Travel agents can find you exclusive fares, offer specialist expertise and help you plan and coordinate your trip. Even today, many people look to them for a more personalized travel experience.
So which option is really better: using a travel agent, or booking your own trip? Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of each booking method.
Advantages of using a travel agent
Travel agents may be called “travel advisors”, “travel specialists”, or “travel consultants”. The role of travel professionals has changed—while in the past, they may have been the main provider of any type of travel booking, they now differentiate themselves by offering a curated, hands-on and personalized service.
A good travel agent can:
- Connect you with trusted tour operators that they have worked with before
- Find the perfect airfare, rental car and cruise ship/cruise line to suit your itinerary
- Help you save money with exclusive upgrades, discounts and special benefits not available to the general public
- Offering personalized service and peace of mind
- Helps you organize a group trip or family trip that meets all the needs of travelers, saving you time and effort
- Manage trip cancellations and changes and find flexible fares that fit your budget
Disadvantages of using a travel agent
There are many benefits to using a travel agent, but there’s a reason many people switch to self-booking—there are things a travel agent can’t offer. Here are some of the disadvantages you will find with travel agencies:
- Less convenient – many travel agents only offer services during certain limited office hours. On the other hand, with online booking, you can make your booking anytime. Some travel booking sites offer 24/7 customer support.
- Biased advice – Travel agents earn commissions from hotel operators and airlines, so may induce you to book flights or hotels of their choice.
- Limited Choice – Many travel agencies, especially smaller consumer-facing companies, have limited inventory. Online, you will find a wide variety of different travel products and tour operators to choose from.
- More expensive – Travel agencies often charge large booking fees for their services.
- Lack of flexible payment options – Some types of travel agencies, such as business travel management companies, ask all their clients to sign a rigid one-year contract with complex fine print.
Travel Management Platform: The Best of Both Worlds
Obviously, there are many advantages to using a travel agent, but there are some seriously compelling arguments for self-booking on a consumer travel site (like Booking.com, Expedia, or Airbnb). So which option should you choose?
The answer depends on your main travel needs and goals. Some people prefer to have more control over their travel plans, while others prefer to have a trusted partner handle the task. But did you know that there is a way to get the best of both worlds?
Travel Management Platform Designed for frequent travelers who have “outgrown” DIY tools on consumer travel websites, but still want a modern, convenient solution. Many of these platforms can be observed Business travelers and travel managers in the company
If you’re a travel manager, you’re probably familiar with all the challenges of booking business travel: managing expense reports, arranging VAT refunds, trying to meet your corporate sustainability goals… all while staying within budget.
Your travelers may like the convenience of consumer booking sites, but relying on these sites can cause a lot of confusion. you have to Manage each booking individuallyAnd there’s no way to ensure that everyone books within company policy.
Travel agencies, on the other hand, understand your needs and can offer a personal touch. But they often use outdated technology, have limited rental options and Don’t offer 24/7 support.
With a travel management platform like TravelPerk, you get the autonomy and rental options you’d find on a consumer site, personalized service and Money-saving contracts That a travel agency will provide—all in one place.
Travelers will have access World’s largest travel booking inventory, and can do all their bookings themselves. They can only book in principle, so no need to worry about enforcement. Your company will have access to exclusive deals and discounts, and travelers can access our seven-star customer support anytime with a response within 15 seconds.
To learn more about TravelPerk, contact us to see our platform in action.