Just like everybody of my generation I love the Internet. It is extremely helpful in so many ways. There is a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips (except for mine since I am the worst Googler ever!), and it serves us instant gratification. What shouldn’t the Internet be used for? Travel arrangements*!
There may be many who disagree with me, but I feel the art of planning a trip should be done face to face with a travel agent. Please hear me out. I know that the internet offers great sources of information. You can easily search for hotels and good travel deals, and you can get reviews and see pictures. What you cannot get is someone who has a vested interest in you having a great time!
The Trouble with Online Travel Sites
Here is what prompted this post. For Christmas, myself, my husband, my sister, her boyfriend, and my brother got my parents tickets to the final four college basketball tournament in Detroit (my sister’s boyfriend has connections), as well as a 1 night stay at a hotel in Detroit for the night of the final game. This hotel room was booked online well in advance. The rate looked great, so in order to make sure everything was set I called to confirm…TWICE! We gave the gift and they were ecstatic!
Fast forward to yesterday, about a week and half before the trip. My sister gets a call saying the room rate will not be honored and the room is cancelled. WHAT!! Between my husband and myself we were on the phone with the online company as well as the actual hotel for about an hour and half in total. This included multiple disconnections and many transfers to where I believe to be India. It was very frustrating and in the end (for now) it seems to have worked out. Now, if we had an actual building that we could drive to, and a human being we could see face to face it might have been a much more pleasant experience, but that was not the case.
Another example, my sister went on a vacation with her boyfriend. They booked through a reputable online site. They booked flight, and hotel. When they got to the hotel they were told there was no room for them! Now what? Yes you can call the online company, but personally I would rather get in touch with a trusted travel agent!
I have always made it a point to book with travel agents any time I travel. Even when I planned my spring break trips in college. I loved going to the office and talking it out. I loved that I didn’t have to search for the best rates, and flight times. I mean come on…how would I know that if I travel on a Wednesday rather than a Thursday it would be cheaper?? Or that the pictures taken and posted online were from 15 years ago and the property no longer looks like that? I wouldn’t, and that is what the travel agent does for you.
You can’t even truly listen to reviews. Everyone traveling is different. They have different expectations, and more often than not, if they went online to post something it will be bad. That is why when I travel I like to make good reviews along with any bad.
I do have to be honest. I find the actual travel agents themselves to be baffling sometimes. I find that a lot of them don’t actually want to do any work for your business. When planning my honeymoon I found many a travel agent that wouldn’t respond, or didn’t want to give me options. This was unacceptable.
I would like to commend Homeric Tours in Hicksville, New York. They planned our Greece honeymoon (it’s their specialty) and it was amazing! One of the best parts was that they had an office in Athens, so when we had any problem over there we were able to call them! Not to mention they were able to deal with me. This means that they answered my questions and e mails in a very timely manner, and to me that’s very important (I have a lot of questions). I would also like to commend my new travel agent. He is called Travel Tom and he works for American Express Travel. He planned our Dominican Republic trip this past January. He was extremely helpful, kept us with in our budget and again was very responsive. Not to mention he gave us his cell number and when we had problems with our flight he answered my call while on vacation himself! Now this my friends is the joys of a travel agent!
So now I dare you to tell me why online booking is better, and I hope you come up with something other than “it’s faster”.
Here are the travel agents I mentioned above. I highly recommend them.
For anywhere travel I recommend Tom firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you plan to travel to Greece I recommend Homeric Tours: 516-935-3400