Using a Travel Agent vs Booking Direct

I came across a situation recently that caused me pause.   In this particular scenario, someone close to me booked a vacation directly with the supplier after getting some input from me.  I wasn’t mad at all (I had no right to be mad), although I was a little sad and disappointed if truth be told.  As a new business owner it’s important that I build my client base and the way to do that is by bookings.  I began to realize that perhaps this friend maybe didn’t fully understand what it is I’m doing now as a travel agent and how the whole travel business works.

Working with Expedia CruiseShipCenters can sometimes be a little confusing because we have the words “cruise ship” in our name.  Yes… we specialize in selling cruise ships – from contemporary, budget friendly cruises and luxury cruises to quiet river cruises.  It’s what we do best!  But at Expedia CruiseShipCenters we also sell land vacations, all-inclusives, hotel packages and car rentals.  We are a full-service agency eager to meet ALL your travel needs.

This recent situation got me thinking that there may also be a misunderstanding for some that believes that using a travel agent costs them more for their vacation.  That is rarely the case. We don’t jack up the prices for our commissions, although sometimes a service fee may be needed for some extremely complicated situations or for some flight bookings (as most airlines give agents 0% commission).  But these are the exceptions to the general rule which is that our services are not paid for by the client, but are paid for through the supplier.  All the little extra care that you get from a travel agent is free of charge to you, the consumer.

You see, if you are booking direct instead of using your local agent, you are paying the commission to a supplier agent who isn’t necessarily going to be your advocate the way I, or my fellow travel agents will be.  Using a trusted agent you will have them making requests that you might not otherwise think to ask the supplier’s agent,  and they’ll make note of your preferences and remember them for your next vacation.  Many of us even make special note of special events in your world like birthdays and anniversaries.  So many little details that you might not think to consider, your travel agent will be on top of and inform you of so you can have the most stress-free, enjoyable vacation ever.  Instead of being one call in a sea of thousands, you will be cared for on a more personal level.  In fact, often times your agent is or becomes your trusted friend!

So next time you think of picking up the phone or mouse to make your vacation booking directly with the supplier, stop and think about the type of service you’d like to receive, and think of me, your local agent who is passionate about making your vacation the best value for your vacation dollars!  I am in the vacation dream making business and I am here for you… free of charge!

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