In the technological era, it is very simple for us to make reservations with the tip of our fingers, from booking a hotel in Jamaica, to booking a flight to Eastern Europe. With this in mind, it is easy to think that travel agents would have become redundant, but this is far from true. According to a study done by the American Society of Travel Agents in 2015, more than 81% of travel agents said their revenues either increased, or stayed the same. Travel agents are still important, and the industry is growing each day. How important are they, and what are the benefits of using a travel agent?
- They save money and time: Imagine spending hours on the internet searching for a reasonable flight, on the date that you want: it can be both frustrating and time consuming. You could save yourself all that time by simply booking with a travel agent. He or she will know what to search for based on your budget. They also have certain links and access to information about flights, promotions, or package deals that a consumer might not have.
Brenda Washington-O’Neale from With This Ring Travel, “About a week ago, I had a family of 5 that travelled to Cancun for the first time. It was their first international trip and this happened on the return. They were on a charter and I received a text message asking what would happen if they missed their flight. My immediate response was to type DON”T MISS IT. The next flight was 7 days away. Some aiport personnel had directed them to the wrong line. When I realized that, I made a couple of calls and she said she heard an angel call her name. My contact searched the line calling out her name. My contact escorted them to the proper check-in, helped through security and got them to the gate with 10 minutes to spare. It is all about relationships and an online agency can’t offer that. We are now planning their next trip.”
- They can help in cases of emergencies: Imagine having everything set and ready to go on your perfect vacation or to your dream wedding when a storm cancels all flights. It is hard to think about! If you booked with a travel agent, you could make one simple call and your agent will assist you with rebooking your flight.
Camille Sanders from Chic Romance Travel, “I had a couple that I booked to Bahamas, and there was actually a hurricane coming. Everybody flew in and got as far as Miami, got stuck there, they flew in the next morning for the wedding, and they literally got married in the eye of the storm, and then we evacuated everybody out. As with all travel agents, by using my services not only am I planning or booking for you, but I am there during the trip. If you are on site and have an issue, you pick up the phone, send me a text and I am there to help you and make sure you get back home safely.”
- They give you quality for your money: The average individual usually books flights and hotel rooms that are cheaper, not knowing that sometimes cheaper usually means less quality of services. Travel agents are all about getting quality, while working with their clients’ budgets.
Teri from Endless Love Travel, “The client that came in saying I looked on line and it’s a cheap price and looks pretty good. When I asked if any of the following would bother them: limited a la carte dinner based on length of staying, requiring daily reservations based on availability, wrist bands, towel cards, no top shelf alcohol, extra charges for premium meals such as lobster, charges to have a safe in their room – they quickly got their first lesson in price vs. value. Had we not had the conversation they would have booked blindly – as many who shop alone on line do, and been very upset with the experience.”
- They have lots of connections: They make friends in the industry, and before or when a problem arises they use these connections to ensure that their clients are well taken care of, and truly aware of the negatives and positives of what they are booking.
Anna Fishman from Olegana Travel Boutique, “There are circles and then there are insider circles. Travel agents belong to a tight group of insider circles of travel professionals that sell only to each other. Do you want to have a dinner in a home of a private chef in Florence and have him teach you to cook? No problem! Do you want to have a private wine tasting in the castle in Bordeaux? No problem! Do you want to land on a side of a volcano in Iceland and have a picnic? No problem! Do you want to tour Tuscany in a vintage Fiat? No problem! Your imagination is the limit!”
- They offer expert advice and recommendations: Is the hotel really in Montego Bay? Is it close to the airport? Is the beach really 5 stars? Are the rooms really clean? Your travel agent can answer all of these questions and much more.
Photo by Manuela Stefan Photography
About Borghinvilla: With breathtaking views of the Caribbean sea, Borghinvilla is the perfect spot for couples looking for a unique, private and personalized wedding and event venue. Located on the border of St.Ann and Trelawny Jamaica, Borghinvilla is centrally located to many of the hotels and resorts in the Montego Bay, Trelawny, Runaway Bay and Ocho Rios areas. This wedding and event venue is available year round to host celebrations, vow renewals and other special events. Boasting 2 acres of lush Jamaican flowers, plants and a stunning seaside cliff view of the Caribbean sea, this location is sure to impress! You will love our mix of North American service standards mixed with the warm, friendly service of Jamaicans.