Why use a licensed travel agent?
For security and peace of mind. A licensed travel agent is a member of the Travel Compensation Fund. There is no way of knowing who owns an internet site, who is sitting at the other end answering your query, or how reputable the site is.
Also, you have to keep in mind that:
- Travel agents use reputable suppliers who rate their properties through personal inspection. The hotel you see on the internet may not even exist. Or the promised facilities may not be available when you arrive.
- Sometimes it only appears cheaper on the internet! Travel agents’ charges are fully inclusive of all taxes and fees, or they will tell you if you are going to incur extra cost.
- The internet doesn’t always inform you about additional charges. Suppliers can ask for more money when you arrive, which could be a nasty surprise.
- Travel agents will quote you the price that is available when you want to travel. Many internet sites only quote low season prices. As you are dealing with a person and can discuss your needs and prices.
- Many travel consultants have travelled to the destinations you want to visit. Their personal experience and recommendations can assist in planning your trip.
- Travel agents can offer a choice of routes and accommodation. They can have access to many different suppliers.
- If your selected service isn’t available, travel agents can often waitlist you. This isn’t available on the internet – what you see is what you get.
- Travel agents can hold a booking for 24 hours or longer to make it easier for you to make a decision – even without a deposit. On the internet you have to make an instant purchase.
- Agents work for you and will do everything they can to meet your travel needs. They can help you design your own customized itinerary and arrange all your travel needs.
- One of the benefits of custom travel is the flexibility: you and your group can change your plans at any moment. You (or your tired feet) may decide you’d like to spend the afternoon people-watching from a sidewalk terrace café instead of visiting another museum. That’s not possible on a scheduled tour!
- Will the internet be able to organise your accommodation needs? Or make sure you get the menu of your choice? Or book a transfer, sightseeing tour or theatre tickets? Your travel agent can! And it only takes one phone call or an email from you.
- What happens if you need to change or cancel your arrangements? Many calls attempting to contact internet suppliers, or one phone call to your travel agent?
- Who do you blame if something goes wrong? Are you happy to take the responsibility yourself? A travel agent has more accountability than the internet. It’s in their interest to look after you. You know where to find them, and they’ll be there to assist you.
Researching on the net can be advantageous – booking on the net can be a risky business.