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Travel Agents--Are they a "thing" of the past?

Travel Agents--Are they a "thing" of the past?

Old Jun 7th, 2003, 03:20 PM
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Travel Agents--Are they a "thing" of the past?

Everyone always talks about the internet, however, I think we still forget about a Travel Agent.

I personally have used a travel agent the last 4 major trips I have taken and everything was so right.

I was in the travel business, and was a tour director so I have been a lot of places...however, I want to know detailed info on a place before I go. My Agent has put us in the right direction everytime. I contine to use the internet as a resouce for me, as it is helpful.

We are going to Hawaii for 2 weeks, and I could not have booked it without my agent. Even though I am very detailed and ask A TON of questions, I would not have attempted to do it in unknown territory.

I have also found her prices to be better than anything I found on the internet, etc. She even called me to say that the air we booked with the tour company went down $40 each and we received the difference.

What a knowledgable person my agent has been for me and saved me a lot of headache in the process.

I wonder what eveyone's thought is on a travel agency vs. the internet.
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Old Jun 7th, 2003, 03:33 PM
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I think this one's been discussed before - here's a link to a previous discussion

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...t=travel+agent
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Old Jun 7th, 2003, 04:27 PM
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EnglishOne: Thanks for the link. It was interesting. But I have to say, it really did irritate me to have someone put it in writing that I can get screwed over by hotels and tour operators because of the luck of how booked they are. I wonder how they would feel the next time their family member was in the ER and the nurse said it would cost $500.00 to have an arm casted because it was a friday night and the traumas were flying. But if you had broken it yesterday on Thursday it would have cost only $250.00 because it wasn't as busy. Or the mechanic said it would only cost $250.00 instead of $500.00 to fix that radiator because you knew all the verses to the Star Spangled Banner? I know it's the nature of the beast, but I would have preferred not to see it in writing.

Tina: Generally, I book all my "stuff" on-line/telephone myself when I travel for business and most pleasure. However, I used a travel agent when we went to Hawaii this winter. I have to say it was very convenient to have the travel agent book it all, make a few phone calls to me, fax what I needed and drop off all my "papers" to me at my office. Being anal retentive, we went online and tried to duplicate the trip ourselves. The cost the travel agent gave was slightly less than what we could have done on our own, but the majority of the savings with the travel agent was in the cost of the flight. The only disappointment we had was that none of the travel agents we contacted (3) seemed to have any first-hand knowledge about the available hotels, tours, locations. We learned more researching on-line.
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Old Jun 7th, 2003, 04:48 PM
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I used a travel agent for a London trip last fall and she booked me into a most wonderful hotel....at a price comparable to what I saw advertised and definitely what I wanted...safe, convenient to transport, etc. They also gave me a room at 10 AM, long before the advertised check-in time.

In addition, she made sure I had prepaid transportation to the hotel when I arrived at the London airport and was I grateful.

I have told many people of my good fortune to have the services of a travel agent....well worth a few extra dollars. What a treat!



She booked
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Old Jun 7th, 2003, 05:47 PM
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Personally, I haven't booked anything with a travel agent in over 25 years. I can do it myself. However, I think they are still useful for people who don't want to be bothered looking up the cheapest rates, locations of hotels, tour packages, etc.
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Old Jun 7th, 2003, 06:08 PM
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To each his or her own, Tina.
I've booked every last detail (air, hotels, cars, trains, theater, restaurants etc) on my own since the advent of the internet, including many trips to Europe, Australia, and Asia.
I can't think of the last time I met with an unexpected or disappointing circumstance with which a travel agent might have helped.
2-for-1 overseas first class airfares? I can often obtain these deals on my own. Travel agent couldn't have done any better. Room upgrades at 5 star hotels? Same thing. Fine tuning details to suit my tastes of timing, layovers, restaurants etc? No travel agent will take as much interest as I do myself.
It's all about research. Adequate research usually eliminates negative surprises and results in great trips.

Even if agent services were free, I wouldn't use them because they simply won't do as good a job as I can do myself.
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Old Jun 7th, 2003, 06:15 PM
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I can definitely book things myself; however, I used a travel agent for our honeymoon and she suggested a few things I would never have thought of - such as travel insurance. I just used a Virtuoso travel agent and, although I didn't get any deals, we did receive some special treatment including a special cocktail party, a leather photo album and two Tiffany silver pens. Although I would have preferred a discount, that was OK too. To each his own!
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Old Jun 7th, 2003, 06:55 PM
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I think my question would be: Why not price it through a travel agent and through my endeavors on the Internet? If a travel agent beats my price or finds better rooms, cabins, etc., I have no problem in going with the travel agent. Quite often they are aware of specials that we are not up on. So why not check them out - they're not the dinosaurs - they're still active in planning your trips - hopefully very well. And if not, then you have the recourse of going with yours.
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Old Jun 7th, 2003, 07:29 PM
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I haven't used a travel agent since the mid 90's. Viva the internet.
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Old Jun 7th, 2003, 07:54 PM
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I've done my own arrangements since mid-90s, however I suspect a TA truly knowledgeable in a particular location could be worthwhile. Amie's comment about early check-in in UK/europe is a great example. Normally damn place can even be almost empty but they still won't let you in before 11am or 1pm or whatever !
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Old Jun 8th, 2003, 11:19 AM
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We usually book continentual US on our own. Sometimes Hawaii but always international through a travel agent. For Hawaii in particular I usually do a lot of shopping for a rate then take the rate to our agent and ask, can you beat this? She always does. Like in any profession, having a knowledgeable and well connected agent is the key.
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