Want a fabulous Hotel in Sydney? It's simple! Just type in Hotels in Sydney into Google and then wade through the millions of responses - most of which look the same whether they are good, bad, legit or bogus. Spend just 10 seconds on each site and you will be done in a year or so and still wont have booked anything.
Even simpler planning like straightforward airfares... major website routinely leave our flights and departure gateways or they route you via massively long list of airports to get you the 'cheapest' airfare, hit you with restrictions and fees, or inconvenient long layovers.
The reality is that while it was wisely predicted that the internet was going to kill off travel agents, that just has not happened for several very good reasons. Here are some reasons why: “They can find crazy deals”; “They will be your advocate”; “They’ll take care of the little things”; “They’re true experts” and “They don’t usually cost extra.” True, true, true, true and true. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
To avoid the travel landmines that lay in front of you, you need to get a great travel advisor! You’ll be glad you did. After all, do you cut your own hair?” Good question, but this metaphor is a little off because you pay someone to cut your hair, while a good travel advisor can often save you money. Travel advisors have taken on a much more complex role - part psychologist, life coach, executive producer, concierge, fixer, dream maker, and ‘Blink Blink’ genie, with the multitude of services that they provide.
This is the one most applicable to the average occasional travel. Stuff happens, and whether you believe in climate change or not, big weather events have become more commonplace, widespread and unpredictable, and sooner or later Mother Nature is going to bite you when flying. But there are plenty of non-weather events disrupting flights, cruises, trains and destinations, from civil unrest to volcanic eruptions to disease outbreaks to massive wildfires to labor strikes. And just about every year you read about an airline that went bust and shut down suddenly, stranding all its passengers.
Anything that causes cancelled flights means hassles, but the people who get through this process the most smoothly and the ones who get rebooked first and get the few available seats out of Dodge are usually the ones who used a travel agent. It’s that simple. First off, you actually have someone to call, versus long lines at banks of airport phones masquerading as “help desks.” But good agencies are constantly monitoring their clients’ flights and they usually know about your problem before you do - and often have a resolution before you even call them. They also have direct access to airline GDS (global distribution system) and don’t have to wait on long phones holds to get ticketing changes made.
No one knows everything about travel, no matter how deeply they are involved in the industry. At Springboard we are experts in everything South Pacific or Southern & Eastern Africa. So we can't help with your cruise or other destinations. It is important to remember that these advantages are not just for luxury travelers. Good travel advisors do not just know what the best hotel is, they know what the best hotel is for you and your budget and can help you find the right fit. As we will see shortly, we can also save you a lot of money, no matter what style you travel in.
The travel advisors they have known for years who book a lot of guests and send them a lot of business. It works this way with lots of things in the travel industry, from hard to get dinner reservations to the resort’s best ski instructor to a city’s top art expert as a private museum guide. Anytime there is scarcity, there is no substitute for personal connections, and the best agents have built these over years or decades. Plus we are living in the age of “experiential travel,” and good advisors create one of kind experiences most people would never have imagined in the first place. We often know the owners of the experiences you are looking to do.
Travel advisors provide their clients with access: access to people, places, and experiences that could never be replicated, much less imagined. A great travel advisor has invested time and relationships in creating their ‘black book’ of contacts and relationships, so that when their clients travel, they are treated as a VIPs, not just a credit card number. In my experience, everyone likes being treated like a VIP.
When you get more than you expected for the same price, that’s a great deal, and with travel advisors this happens all the time. The millennial generation specifically may have seen their parents use a travel advisor, but don’t feel like they need one - until they are deep in the spiral of research. By shifting gears to planning with an expert, they feel liberated from the immense pressure of choosing the ‘best’ resort - because we’re cutting through the noise of all the conflicting opinions they’re seeing online. Our team has actually been to the properties first-hand - not to mention has personal relationships with the General Managers.
If you are trying to buy the cheapest round-trip economy ticket from New York to Dallas, even the best advisors probably can’t get it for less than you can buy it online, though you still have to deal with all the pitfalls of the online travel sites and you will lose the safety net advisors provide when things go wrong. But in most cases, buying your air through an agent can actually save you money, or miles, or both. One case is when you are buying premium class tickets, Business, First or some of the even higher new classes. I don’t care how rich you are, if you can get the same tickets and pocket thousands of dollars that’s a good deal - plus you get all the peace of mind that comes with the advisor’s safety net.
At the end of the day this is the bottom line, the big win you get with a good travel advisor. They know more than you do, they are better connected, they have access to benefits you can’t get yourself, and they can match and often beat any prices you find. They plan a better trip and then provide a safety net. Having a top travel agent can make you an instant VIP, certainly will save you time and hassle, and quite possibly money.
What everyone needs these days is more time and less stress, and that’s what we’re here for. Travel advisors take the overwhelming amount of information out there and distill it into the key points that apply to you - the best hotel/destination/tour for your interests, your budget, and your time frame.