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Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Efilon87, Jan 20, 2012.
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Forbes: Why You Need A Travel Agent, Part 1
Good article. The part below resonated with me. Anyone have a good agent they recommend?
"For example, even the top luxury hotels are notorious for refusing to guarantee connecting rooms in advance for families booking multiple rooms. This is one of the most frustrating recurring problems I hear in the industry, and a reason why some people rent houses and apartments over multiple hotel rooms. When your travel agent books hundreds of room nights with a high profile luxury hotel each year, the hotel will move heaven and earth to give that agent’s client – you – guaranteed connecting rooms."
I wish that TAs were bigger in the industry, like how they were way back when. Back when they didnt take a commission and airlines would let you cancel/change your flight the day of with no penalty fee. Its crazy how much the industry has changed the past 50 years. TAs are, sadly, a thing of the past, especially with sites like Kayak/Orbitz/Priceline who do their job for them for no commission. If i found a TA that I trusted (Im sure its like finding a mechanic) I would use them for all my travel needs, especially if they were able to cash in my points/miles.
I can't imagine why anyone who reads this forum (or any like it) on a regular basis would ever consider using an agent for routine travel... in the time I can explain what I want, I can have it done and don't have to go through some of the nightmares I've had in the past.
Once upon a time, at my day job, we were required to use one to book airplane flights. I spent a bit of time explaining where I wanted to go and when I had to be there. They booked a flight for me with a connection that had me getting to my meeting two hours after it was done -- I had to call back and get it changed to something that worked and asked why they put me on the flights on was on and they said it was cheaper.
Another time, I wanted to be at a certain hotel because it was near where I had to be. They but me in a different one at the last minute because it was 'cheaper' It didn't matter to them, that I then would have to pay even more money for cabs.
I agree. I do have a TA I know well and trust and once used for all my travel. She still survives, although she moved from her own company to a large agency. I still use her for the odd very complex itinerary that includes specialized services, once a year or so. However I never book airlines or hotels through her unless they are part fo one of those complex itineraries. I always get better prices or more flexible conditions on my own. I also get adjoining whatever I want with elite status. Anyone who spewnds time on this forum is likely to know more than the TA anyway, on the issues that we value. I suppose they know a lot about package holidays and cruises, but I never need that expertise.
This site lets you connect with up to three travel agents who specialize in a particular area of travel. I have used it once last year and was pretty happy. http://www.tripology.com/
Virtuoso and other hotel preferred partner benefits are great, and it makes sense to use an agent with those connections when booking participating properties.
I agree entirely, the only time I've ever had to use a TA was for corporate travel, and even then I would instruct the agent on the specific flight, time, seat, hotel etc. I'm one of those people who actually like planning out a trip, looking for the best rates, hotels etc. I couldn't imagine using one for personal travel, as I'd always be 'second guessing' their choices, and wondering if I could have done better.
I always use my TA whenever I can just because its convenient and I've known her for years. I lay my plans, and she does all the work which is very nice indeed.
On the other hand, she also gives me flexibility on payment and such which tends to make decisions easier.
Thanks for sharing!
The only time I have used a TA was when I was in Asia, mostly because I was unable to book what I needed via "normal channels" part of that was I was booking things like VIP buses across northern Laos, and part of it was language and information barriers.
That being said they were very helpful and knowledgeable and were able to book things like bus to boat to bus to hilltribe village homestay in one CC transaction and that was tremendously helpful.
This is one of the little things the Forbes article missed. While the internet is great for making bookings and sharing reviews on travel, many people rely on it too much and neglect the 'unconnected' places. Kinda like how some concierges too will move heaven and earth to help you reserve tables at restaurants that don't take reservations somewhere in the world.
But they did take a commission. They took it from the airlines, not from the passenger, but they absolutely did.
Typical travel rarely benefits from a TA. There are certainly areas where a good one is a valuable resource to have, but not for most passengers most of the time.
True true, but that isnt money coming out of my pocket. ;-)
It can also be a challenge to find a good one for those specific situations.