Dealing With a Travel Agency for Your Trip

When you are going on a trip to attend conferences or to have fun like going to a safari, it starts with searching for travel packages online or getting help from a travel agency. However, before deciding, you must know what you can expect from an online agency to find out the best way to match your needs. The level of service you need would depend on your personal preferences as well as the requirements of your trip.

There are lots of options available whether you choose self-service wherein you can do the searching and booking by yourself, or full-service travel agency that would take care of everything on your behalf – accommodation, meal plans, sites to visit, etc. Depending on the type of trip you will have, there are also different choices you may consider. Some travel agencies only offer packages and others offer a la carte travel services, where you can pick items and pay for each separately.

Expectations on Online Travel Agencies

There are also expectations that are common to every online travel agency. It has something to do with the affordability and quality of the services as well as the level of service offered. When going on tours, the travel expert must meet these expectations before choosing them as your travel plan partner.

Variety of Packages and Destinations

It is not important what specialty the agency have – from niche travel, such as unusual destinations or cruises, to full-service travel. Regardless of what they sell, you need a travel agency that offers options. If you think that the first option you find has the best value, you have no way of verifying that unless there are other options available for you to compare. A reliable self-service or full-service online travel agency provides comparison information to help you decide.

Offers Same Types of Travel from Different Providers

An example of this is when you choose among available flights between two airlines for the same flight leg. An online travel agency cannot be considered as such if they represent only one brand, and if so, customers have no way of determining whether the products or services they offer are valuable or useless. If you can choose among several providers, it means the travel company updates their website with the best options and prices available.

Price Competitiveness

When going on a tour, such as the safaris, some travel companies charge fees to their customers in order to offset their expenses, but those fees should be fair. The rates for the travel services indicated online must be simply what you need to pay if you decide to directly deal with the provider. You should actually pay less for a package plan with other services.

Make You an Instant VIP

Sometimes, it is just hard to get a reservation in some restaurants, and a good travel agency can get that for you. They can even provide you private guides, access to exclusive exhibits, and cheaper premium airfares.

Service-Level Guarantee

This will ensure that you will be treated in a polite manner and you will get what you pay for. They can also take care of little details such as a car hire to make sure that you will not be ripped off. They should also provide you with an assurance that no probable action on their end or the service provider will disrupt your travel.

Possibly the best thing about going online when looking for a travel agency is that you can see customer reviews. You can read their comments about their experiences on the tour, even things such as their transportation from the airport to the hotel and other destinations. You can expect a lot of things from an online travel agency, but if they have these qualities, it guarantees that you will have the best deals.

Details About Working With an Online Travel Agency

When you are looking to book your next vacation or your next business trip, you may be considering using an online travel agency. Before you decide to do so, however, you should be aware of what to expect from an online travel agency so you can determine how best to match that to your own unique needs. There are several different levels of service in which to classify online travel agencies, the level you need depends on your trip requirements as well as your personal travel and leisure preferences or desires.

Quite simply, you should be able to find an online travel agency that can fulfill any expectation you may have. Whether you prefer self-service travel plans where you do all of your own searching and booking, or a full-service online agency that handles every detail on your behalf, there are many options available. Depending on the type of travel you will be undertaking, there are also various options that you can consider among online travel agencies. Some specialize only in travel packages, while others offer a la carte menus of travel services for you to pick and choose.

There are several expectations, however, that are universal to all online travel agencies. These have to do with the minimum level of service provided and the quality and competitiveness of the types of travel being sold. It is best to qualify the online travel agency on all of these expectations before you choose to enter into partnership with them for the travel you are seeking to plan.

The first universal expectation that you should have for your online travel agency is having a variety of destinations and packages available to choose from. It does not matter what specialty the agency might have, from full-service travel to niche travel such as cruises or unusual destinations. No matter what is being sold, you always want to partner with an agency that provides options. While the first option you see may very well end up being the best choice or the best value, you will have no means of determining that unless other options are available for comparison. Good self-service travel sites will readily offer you comparison information. Full-service online travel agencies should compile that same information and present it to you when you are in the process of making a decision.

The second universal expectation you should have when using an online travel agency is that they offer the same basic types of vacations from more than one carrier or provider. For example, you can choose between two major airlines for the same New York-to-Miami flight leg of your trip. If an online travel agency represents only one brand, they are not truly a travel agency; instead, they are a representative of that brand. If only one brand were offered, customers would have no means of evaluating whether the services and products offered were of value or were worthless. Having a number of providers to choose from when selecting hotel or airfare or cruise line shows that the travel agency is actively updating its site with the best prices and options currently available.

The third universal expectation that you should have for your online travel agency is price competitiveness. Although travel agencies sometimes charge fees to travelers in order to off-set their cost of doing business, those fees must be fair. The charges for the actual travel services you see published through online travel agencies should be no more than what you would pay if you went directly through the provider, and, in fact, less if bundled with other services.

The final universal expectation that you should have for your online travel agency is a service-level guarantee that ensures you get what you pay for and are treated in a courteous and appropriate manner. Online travel agencies should also offer some form of a guarantee for your purchases that no foreseeable action on their part or the part of the service provider will interrupt your travel. They cannot warrant against freak or random occurrences, but they can ensure that their own offerings are solid before offered.

Perhaps the best thing about using an online agency is the availability of customer reviews and feedback you can read before making a final purchase. Another nice convenience, for repeat customers, is the ability to create your own customer profile that allows you to save certain options in your preferences that will streamline future vacation planning. You can save time and hassle by storing any corporate or membership discount numbers, frequent flyer numbers and other pertinent information on your customer profile.

The expectations you hold for the online travel agency you select as a partner may be varied. If they can uphold these four basic standards of quality, you can be assured that you are getting sound representation and the best deals available.

The Benefits of Using an Online Travel Agency

Most people who go on vacation like to book trips through a travel agent in order to take some of the stress out of the planning process. Travel agents can also help you save money on flight, hotel rooms, cruises, and more; but what about online travel agencies? While people worry that Internet travel agencies could scam you or provide low-quality service, there are actually a number of benefits to choosing an online travel agency, providing that you pick the right one.

First and foremost, with an online travel agency, you can work with the place that has the lowest prices without geography limits. In other words, you have more options! When you opt to choose a travel agency in an offline setting, you are limited to the handful of companies that operate in your neighborhood, or at least within a reasonable distance. People who live in major cities might especially be affected by the high prices of brick and mortar travel agencies. Online, there are not proximity limits. The travel agency with which you work might actually have headquarters thousands of miles away, but if they have the lowest prices, you can still work with them over the Internet.

The increased number of choices does not just help you save money. It also means that you have limitless possibilities when it comes to travel. The travel agencies in your areas probably can book dozens or even hundreds of different trips, but there will be limitations. Even if an offline travel agent can plan a vacation to an obscure destination for you, it is not likely that he or she will be an expert in travel to this location. Online, you can find a family or an individual who has been there and will plan an amazing vacation for you. There are few places in the world where you can’t travel if you work with an online travel agency.

Another great aspect of working with an online travel agency is that you can shop for your vacation package any time of the day or night. Brick and mortar business usually close soon after the end of the regular business day, and many are not open for long hours on the weekend. The Internet is open 24 hours a day. While you may not always be able to call a customer service representative, especially if you like to do vacation planning at three in the morning, you can always check out packages offer on travel websites. This is especially handy for parents who need to plan after the kids are in bed, people who work odd hours, and those living in rural locations where the nearest travel agency office is a fairly far drive.

One of the often-overlooked benefits of an online travel agency is the control you have to make your own choices without outside influences or pressure. When you visit an office, many travel agents have the same tone as used car salesmen. You have to remember that these people are often working under some kind of commission program. Instead of making an hourly wage, they earn a percentage of your total vacation price, and even if they do have a salaried job, they may get incentives from travel companies (hotels, cruise lines, etc) for selling amount every month. Many travel agents get to go on free trips for every ten or twenty vacation packages they sell. So, you might feel pressured to book a trip when you are not done exploring your options or upgrade certain aspects, even though you do not have the money. Online travel agencies typically take a more hands-off approach. That does not mean that they won’t help you, of course. Most are more than willing to answer questions via email or over the phone. However, when it comes to working with an online travel agency, you do not have someone looming over your shoulder, trying to make a sale as you check out your vacation options.

Also, when you work with an online travel agency, you usually have more payment choices. Today, some offline travel agencies offer payment plans, credit card payments, and so forth, but this is not always the case. When you work online to plan you vacation, however, you can always find a type payment that will work for you. Some even have payment programs that allow you to earn points for every dollar you spend, which can go towards gift certificates or future trips.

Be aware that there are still scammers posing as online travel agencies and other travel sites, and you always need to read the fine print of any website where you make a purchase. However, online travel agencies are often a less expensive, easier, and more convenient way to book a vacation.