Many believe that booking your own travel can save a lot of money, but a majority of the time, that’s not the case – travel agents can get the same deals you do.
While there may be a nominal planning fee, much of the cost is actually paid in the form of commissions on the back end from the vendor. Even if there is a small difference in the price, it can really pay to look beyond that and focus instead on value.
A quick look at a recent study by Expedia, The American Traveler’s Path to Purchase shows that time is a major factor.
According to the survey, in the 45 days prior to booking travel the average American visited 140 travel websites. Prior to booking, Americans consume 22.95 hours of digital travel media. That is a lot of time, going back and forth comparing options. Travel agents can help save you a good bit of time. They have experience finding the best deals, better tools to work with, and knowledge of many destinations (either through first-hand experience or in talking with their clients). Imagine the value you receive over time when the agent gets to know you better, learns what you value in a vacation experience, and can make more informed suggestions.
Travel agents also know a bit more about the quality of different travel suppliers. While the average traveller may be swayed by the best price and a good looking website, an agent is more likely to know which “deals” and companies are too good to be true.
Another big benefit of using an agent is that you have a resource for help during your trip. When problems arise, they can help you get back on track quickly and save a lot of time and aggravation. Bad weather, lost luggage, flight delays and cancellations happen all the time. Having someone in your corner can really make a difference.
Is it possible to save by booking your own travel? Certainly, but not as much as you might think and when you factor in the added value you receive by going through an agent, you may want to reconsider.