Posted Oct. 5, 2012
By ANDRES CORREA
It is no surprise that, in the times we live in, college-aged students get most of their tasks done online.
This includes making big purchases like a new computer, expensive fashion items, or the plane ticket back home for summer break. However, there are many advantages to making face-to-face purchases, specifically when it comes to traveling.
Carolina Valdes goes on vacations with her family quite often and they choose to plan their vacations the old-fashioned way.
“My parents still use a travel agent,” said Carolina Valdes. “They like having the personal relationship with the person they are buying from.”
In the age of Orbitz, Expedia and countless other online travel sites, it is difficult to believe that some people still take the time to go out and plan their trips with a travel agent. Perhaps this is so difficult to believe because the simplicity of booking online has helped to fade the memory of all the advantages that travel agencies bring to the table.
One example of this is how things are handled when something goes wrong during a booking, an experience that most people have had when planning a flight. Fixing a problem online can be complicated because of the lack of personal attention, but dealing with this through a travel agent is very different.
“We provide one-on-one dedicated service,” said Eddie Mena, owner of Mena Travel Agency in South Miami. “Rather than having to call a 1-800 number and end up speaking to a machine.”
Everyone at some point has complained, or heard others complain, about the idea of not being able to reach a person when attentive customer service is needed. It is one of the biggest disadvantages of living in a modern world, where most business exchanges are done through the Internet. It is important for travelers to remember that they have other options besides dealing with machines when they need to ask specific questions about planning their trip.
However, personal attention is not the only advantage that booking through a travel agent can bring. The organization that travel agents bring to the table is also very important, specifically when traveling out of the country. While international flights can be booked online, a travel agent can help with all the tedious preparation needed for international travel for which some travelers need.
Some travelers may have a fear that travel agents do not provide the best deals for them when booking flights and would rather take their chances on finding the best online deal when purchasing plane tickets.
According to agent Eddie Mena, this is a common misconception.
“We have negotiated contract rates with airlines,” Mena said. “These give us better rates than the vendors.”
Those who enter the office of a travel agent with their own personal budget in mind always leave with the best possible deal for themselves. This result is so common because when people walk into a travel agency, they are going to be dealing with a professional that has their client’s interests in mind and knows which airlines have the best options. Though modern technology is definitely a blessing, it can also be of great advantage to plan trips through businesses that still value personal attention and customer service.
BOOKING WITH A TRAVEL AGENCY:
- Personal attention
- Negotiated contract rates
- Advice from agents with travel-planning experience
- Cons of booking through a travel agency
- You have to leave home to do it
- Slower process
- Must work with their hours
- Less personal control of options