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Friday, October 23, 2009

That $60,000 question...

This is partial Thursday Travel Tip and partial OTJ training.

Since I got the job, I get asked the following question a lot: "Why do I need a travel agent?"

At this point, I'm like "Uhh...." *scratches head*

Hey, it's a good question. The answer to that is "A sista needs to collect a paycheck, that's why!"

Just kidding. Seriously - - most folk these days can book their own travel thanks to the world wide web. While the growth of the internet has put some travel agencies out of business, it is not totally a lost cause for all. (Including me!)

Here is an interesting article from Independent Traveler that answers this question a lot better than I can.

In case you don't have time to read the link, here is a synopsis:
  • The big online travel sites got too smart for their own good; by tidying up and repackaging all the data each according to their own assumptions about travel purchasing, they show us what they think we want to see, but not always what we really want to see. That is, by becoming "online travel agents," rather than mere booking sites, they end up in competition with real travel agents, who can usually do the work better than computers can.

  • Despite being "smarter" and more comprehensive than ever, the typical travel booking experience has way too many dead ends. Whether it be the inability to get seats together, or disappearing fare sales, or the inability to lock in a fare for a short time, booking online is like being trapped inside a bad video game with countless trapdoors and false exits.

  • It has gotten to the point that many travelers truly dread the moment they have to sit down at the computer to research travel. Seems like a good time to call in a pro, no?

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