Can you really beat the price I found on Travelocity (Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz, Kayak, Groupon, etc.)? Yes! There is no obvious answer to this question because there are a ton of factors that go into determining the price of a flight, hotel, car, cruise, or vacation, but the short answer is yes! Depending on the nature of the trip, more often than not, we’re able to beat or match with added value the advertised prices on discount travel websites. To be completely honest, there are times when we are unable to beat the price that one of these sites is offering for certain trips and in that case, we’ll simply tell you the truth. We will always stress the benefits of purchasing with a travel agent due to the ongoing support and added value we provide, but the choice is yours and you won’t be out anything for having a professional do the research for you.
As a thrifty person by nature, I tend to get hooked when I see special travel offers come across my email, but it’s important to shop around to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money. Those Getaways emails can suck me in with their advertised prices, but once you start reading the rules and fine print it quickly becomes apparent that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That’s not to say that there aren’t deals to be had on those websites, but proceed with caution when booking through those sources – I’ve heard a few too many unfortunate vacation stories due to the service, or lack therof, that these online companies provide.
I mentioned in my last post that there are travel suppliers and wholesalers that still work exclusively with travel agents. These suppliers offer incentives and promotions regularly for us to pass on to our customers that aren’t offered online through discount travel sites. The internet is a powerful tool for doing your own travel research, but it certainly isn’t the only one available. Travel agents have access to entire tour companies, packages, and sales, that you, as a consumer are unable to book on your own. There are many choices out there when it comes to booking travel and it can be time consuming researching ALL of the deals that are advertised. That’s where we come in.
We spend the time doing the research for your specific trip and pass that information on to you. Once we’ve gone back and forth and finalized all the arrangements, we make and manage the booking for you. That means we keep track of deposits and final payments, reminders on deadlines, travel insurance, online check-in, seat assignments, etc. Travel agents are also available to provide assistance in the case of an unexpected delay, cancellation, or other problems that may arise before, during, or after traveling. The best part is, our services are free to utilize. The suppliers pay us a commission for bringing them customers, so you get support throughout the entire planning, booking, and traveling process, and it doesn’t cost you one extra cent.
An exception to the rule that you don’t pay the travel agent directly, is for domestic flight bookings only. Since airlines very rarely pay commissions for domestic flights alone anymore, without being part of a package with hotel, car, tour, etc., many travel agents add a minimal fee to book just a domestic flight. Why wouldn’t I just book it online then and save myself the fee? Travel agents are often able to beat or match published prices online and they provide all of the support throughout the entire process that I described earlier. You’re simply not going to get that kind of support through discount travel websites.
Another common fee that some travel agents have started implementing in recent years is a deposit to ensure that the booking will be completed with them and that they are paid for their hours of work looking up quotes. For example, an agent could spend 3 hours looking up detailed quotes for a client, provide that client with the options they found, and the client could then end up booking a similar itinerary elsewhere on their own. In that case, the deposit, typically around $50, would stay with the travel agent to cover their time. If the client books their trip with the travel agent, however, that initial deposit of $50 applies towards the cost of their trip, and the travel agent receives their commission payment as normal from the supplier. In the few months that Globetrotter Travel has been in business, we’ve had two clients take the information we provided elsewhere to book on their own (and ended up paying more than the quotes we found), and they have come back to us expressing their regret and asking for further assistance from us. At this point, Globetrotter Travel does not charge a deposit for our services and it is our hope that we won’t have to implement such a fee anytime soon.
Travel agents are able to beat prices advertised on discount travel websites
To utilize the services of a travel agent is almost always FREE
The support that a travel agent provides throughout the entire travel process is invaluable
- Call Globetrotter Travel to start planning your next trip