Travel sites took the industry by storm in the early 2000’s. Many travel agents fell by the wayside as the internet appeared to provide a quicker alternative to booking transportation.
This was due to the fact that travel planners were mainly regarded as gate keepers of valuable information instead of providers of custom experiences. Once the market changed, luxury travel agents decided to change with it by providing value that websites simply cannot.
5 Ways Travel Websites Fail
Most booking sites will give you a false sense of what you’re paying then BOOM - an explosion of fees right before checkout. Most people would rather know what they’re paying up-front so they can make a rational decision. This isn’t a good experience for you which brings me to the next downfall of travel websites.
2) No Experience
I could cut my own hair, but I leave it up to my barber. He’s a professional, and I trust him with my hair WAY MORE than I trust myself. The same is true for travel planners. They have the experience, they have the connections, and they have the personal touch. If something goes wrong, they will leap the extra mile to make sure you’ve received the experience you’re looking for. Travel sites may offer you a discount on your trip, but that won’t make up for the experience lost. Having this backup allows the client to relax during the travel, which brings me to my next point.
3) No Peace of Mind
Booking on a travel site may save you a little money (not all cases) but the reason being is you’re now on your own. What happens when your trip goes awry? If you have a travel agent you can give them a call, and they’ll fix it right away. Travel agents have leverage with suppliers because they provide them with an ample amount of business. Suppliers value travel agent’s business and will step up to fix whatever your problem is, expeditiously.
4) Limited Options
If you want to travel on Southwest Airlines (most of us do) then you can forget about booking through a travel website. Major airlines do this in order to keep fares as low as possible by cutting out online travel agency fees. Limiting your travel options and experience.
5) Lost Time
Again, you’re on your own. You have to do research on everything when you plan your own vacation. Needless to say, this take a ton of time. If you have time on your hands, then maybe travel websites are the best option for you. If you don’t have time on your hands, then spending hours upon hours reading reviews, coordinating transportation, and choosing restaurants is probably not what you’re looking for. Time is money and money is time. Paying for a travel agent will save you money in some situations, but in almost every situation, it will save you time.
Travel Planners and Brilliant Transportation actually have a great deal in common. Like travel agents, Brilliant provides clients an experience when they travel, not mere transportation. We consider ourselves not in the transportation industry, but in the hospitality industry. We’re also up-front with our pricing where other transportation providers try to hide their total price through low 'base costs.'
The same is true for travel agents.
We do business with travel planners on a daily basis because we provide our services to the same clientele. Clients who want:
- Up-front pricing
- An experience
- Peace of mind
- Custom options
- and time saved
....something online travel websites have a hard time providing.