In the age of the internet, travel agents might seem about as useful as flip phones. As dozens of travel websites and apps vie for your business, how is it that the job of travel agent still exists?
We decided to see just how useful travel agents are by planning a hypothetical trip to north India, with multiple stops in different cities. We asked a handful of travel agents to quote us prices for the trip, and then compared those prices to fares we found online ourselves as the price keeps adding on when we reach confirmation page.
The prices we received from four out of five agents were more cheaper that what we had found online ourselves, inkling that they just might not be able to keep up with the world wide web. Also showed us the one excellent reason why travel agents are still relevant – and just might be around for years to come: personal service.
Travel agent Yogesh Patil of PGI took it upon himself to not only search for the flights we had requested, but to build an entire itinerary for the hypothetical trip we had planned. Along with the flights, he sent us prices for various hotels he recommended in each city, both with varying locations and prices, as well as tours, museum tickets, private transfer to and from the airports, and potential rail & bus tickets. Even better, he gave a few personal recommendations, like best mobile top up plans while roaming, travel gears with great discounts, cafes and restaurants.
Rather than spend hours online trying to figure out where to stay, what to see and what to do, it was all right here – and we hadn’t even specified likes and dislikes. I’m sure if we had given her more information she would have created an even better, highly personalized vacation.
Finally, most travel agents won’t charge you for their work (they get paid through hotels, tours and aggregators), so it literally won’t cost you anything to give them a shot.