Use a travel agent for the holidays

Monday, November 08, 2010
By Tricia Stevens

Whether you’re going home or to an exotic destination, travel expert, Mark Murphy, tells us the advantages of using a travel agent this holiday season.

Hidden Costs
You may think you’re getting a bargain online, but that’s not actually the case. A good agent will tell you about the “hidden” costs such as resort fees, fitness center charges, and other miscellaneous charges that add up beyond the “low price guarantee” you see with the online discount brokers.

Alternate Routes
Thousands of travelers were stranded during the volcanic ash eruption this last Spring, and those who booked their flights online did not have an 800 number to call to plan an alternate itinerary. A good agent knows the various options for connections to neighboring cities/airports and can quickly book an alternate route to get you home immediately!

Better Deals
Since agents deal with large volumes, suppliers make sure the agent’s customers get the best value and experience for their money. This means more opportunities for upgrades, better amenities, food and beverage credits, and more. Agents can potentially set you up with hotels that pick up bag fees and may even suggest carriers that count two ski equipment bags as one — saving you upwards of $60 one way.

End Front Desk Disputes
Your agent can handle disputes regarding your accommodations, even if it means moving you to another space, so you can relax and focus on your stay.

Where to Find Good Agents
Murphy recommends, ASTA and

Ask Questions
Feel free to ask the agent if they are certified or specialize in the property or destination, and whether they have personally been to the location and for a list of referrals.

Cost of a Travel Agent
In general, agents do not charge for their services because they are being paid commissions by their suppliers. These commission fees are accounted for in the price, and because the industry follows a “parity pricing” model, everyone essentially pays the same price whether they book through an agent or on their own.

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Travel expert says to use a travel agent for the holidays ……

Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……