One thing my clients like most about me is that I tell the truth. So in answer to the aforementioned question - the answer is YES! To further qualify...the real answer is SOMETIMES.
About 10 years ago all the major domestic and international airlines stopped paying commissions to travel agents in exchange for booking their flights. Therefore the time expended in finding the perfect combination of flights versus cost was no longer a revenue exercise for the travel industry. In response to the loss in revenue, travel agents and booking sites now charge “ticketing fees” to issue air only reservations. Each and every agent has their own schedule as there is no legislated “fee” charge. So ask!
Depending on the complexity of your itinerary or the destination itself, an experienced travel consultant can usually match or beat whatever you find online. Now that small “ticketing fee” buys you peace of mind should your flight itinerary experience schedule changes, cancellations, missed connections or weather delays. Unlike those people who have booked via “Expedia” or with the airlines directly, the consumer who dealt with a travel consultant has easy, fluid contact with their booking agent. No long delays on hold, no corporate mandated “mantra”. With a travel consultant you have your own personal advocate who will do their best to make sure you are first in line for the next flight, hotel room or compensation.
It’s surprising to me how people fear walking into a travel agency almost as much as walking onto a car lot! The conception is that the consultant will try to up-sell them to something they don’t need or want! The reality is that a travel consultant can meet or beat anything you find online and give you up to date information in regards to that particular destination, hotel or airline! The cost of the package already has the commission built in. So regardless of whether you book online (which in reality is a travel agency with no service!) or direct with the supplier ….. you will pay the same price! So why wouldn’t you talk with someone who’s been there recently or has talked with people who have just returned?
Travel consultants are also the “gate-keepers” for all the cruise ship sales. If you’ve booked with a consultant, he/she is continually updated with new offers. A good consultant then searches the applicable bookings to see if the new sale applies to your particular sailing. I’ve personally saved clients over $1,000 per person on some sailings. When you book online or with the cruise line direct, you are left to your own devices to stay current …… and all for the same price as booking through a consultant.
So spend as much time finding a good travel consultant as you would finding the perfect hair stylist! Remember everyone’s needs are different. Where one agent specializes in the “cheapest last minute sell-offs” another may be the “creator of the perfect dream vacation”! An experienced, professional travel consultant can save you hundreds of dollars and priceless hours of worry!