Why Travel Agents Are Still Being Used Today & How They Can Still Be Great Resources for Travelers
This is what people say when they hear these three wonderful words. “A travel agent…WHAT?! I don’t need one of those. They’re practically extinct and it’s all thanks to the Internet! Why would I pay extra for a travel agent when I can book online? Because really, who needs one in the 21st century? These online booking sites have cheap fares and I can book my trip in a flash! What can possibly go wrong by not using a travel agent?” Well, let me tell you that there are a lot of things that can wrong if you use online booking sites such as Expedia and Travelocity. Yes, you might book your trip easily and quickly but let me ask you this. Without having a travel agent, can you manage all of the problems that may arise if something goes wrong on your own? Think about it. You’re at the airport ready to go on your business trip, when all of a sudden a huge snow storm comes in out of nowhere and your flight gets cancelled. What do you do? You get mad and you panic! You’re like, “OMG! This is a disaster!” You try calling the travel website that you booked your trip with and then you hear a robotic voice saying, “Welcome! If you’re having issues booking your trip press 1. If you’re still making reservations press 2. If you wish to cancel a flight press 3. If there’s a change in your schedule press 4. If you have any questions press 5. If wish to speak to a customer representative press 6.” A-ah! You press six and the robot tells you to stay on the line while they get you a customer representative. This takes about 30 minutes. You tell the customer representative what happened, and then they transfer you to someone who can help you rebook your flight. Then you wait for another 20 minutes. At this point you’re really getting angry. You scream at that representative. You want them to fix the problem right away and they do. Problem is, they booked you on a flight that leaves late and you have to pay extra for it. Now you blow up like a balloon! You have to get to your meeting at 11:00 AM the next day. Just when you thought it was a great idea to book with an online travel site, you now have just missed an important meeting.
Making a reservation through a travel website can really bring you down with the customer service that they provide. Yes, technology has changed the way we live especially when it comes to traveling, but when you get stuck at the airport or in a foreign country what can that online booking site do for you? Not much actually. So, how do you avoid something like this?
Have no fear…the EWA travel agents are here to help! There are a lot of people who think that travel agents are no longer used because of the Internet and that might be true if you were planning a vacation trip. However, when you travel for a business or a mission trip having one of our travel agents can be a great resource for you and your organization. Our travel counselors save you money and time and if you get stuck in a jam at the airport or wherever you’re located, they can help right away.
So last week I was talking with one of our travel agents, Kristin, about the GetThere online booking tool that our clients use, and she mentioned how most people book their own trips online and don’t think that they need a travel agent. She went on to say that there are still some vacation travel agents out there, which are great for Disney trips, cruises and group travel tours to Hawaii. She told me that when she tells people that she’s a travel agent, people look at her funny and they have that confusion on their faces. Then she mentions that she a corporate travel agent. So you are wondering why I shared this with you. Corporate agents play a huge role in the travel industry. They can move 900 fellows from Africa to the U.S., 300 Georgians to New York in one swoop. Imagine trying to make that many individual reservations online. It just can’t be done.
As a travel agent, Kristin and the other 12 EWA Travel Counselors help our clients (both NGOs and businesses) with finding low fares through the Sabre reservation system, are able to book over 500 reservations for one client, negotiate with travel suppliers (airline, hotel, and car rental) for low fares, and they can help a traveler when and if an emergency crisis comes up. Our travel agents are like the superheroes for our clients. Because we don’t have remote call centers, our agents can immediately answer a phone call within three rings and assist our clients right away. Not to mention, each of our clients gets paired up with 2 EWA agents, so they’ll actually know the names of those agents. In some ways, it’s liking having a friend or a partner at their side. That personal relationship is the key that helps us stay close with our clients, and it also helps our clients know that they are in good hands.
Now you see why it’s important to have a travel agent. They are the drivers for our clients. They steer them in the right direction and know what’s best for them. You don’t believe me? Check out our client testimonials (https://www.ewatravel.com/testimonial2.htm). So yes, we might not be a major travel management company with over 100 agents, but our size is what makes us different when it comes to helping our clients. Having your own personal EWA Travel agent can really make a difference. Think of it like this. It’s like going to college. I went to a small college that had less than 5,000 students and because my college was small in student body size, I was able to know my professors and they even got to know me as well. Now if I had gone to Virginia Tech, I would’ve been a number and not a person. Professors would had not known who I was. To them, I would had been “Student Number 24,632” and that’s how big travel management companies are with their clients. Anyway, since we have 13 travel counselors, our agents treat each client as a human being and not a number. The travel agents know who the clients are and their own individual travel needs. So the next time you plan to take a business or mission trip, let our team of travel coordinators make your journey an easy one for you to enjoy.
Director, Social Media Marketing, EWA Travel