Being a travel agent is a tough business … but what they heck, I love it anyway.
However, it disturbs me to see the ignorance of some people – especially those do-it-yourself folks who prefer to spend their valuable time seeking out travel bargains when it won’t cost them an extra dime to let me do it for them.
Why people don’t know that our services are basically free is a mystery. For instance, if you book a cruise yourself it will cost no more than if I did it for you. But it will save you a lot of time and eliminate the headache of sifting through the real deals and con games that are all over the Internet.
There are a group of Tennessee college students who had their Spring break trip ruined by what appears to be a con man. They booked a Panama City vacation online, paid their money and now have nothing to show for it.
The hotel? Not booked
The bus to Florida? Nope … nothing.
The pretty face on the website? No one can find him … and in fact, who know’s if it’s a guy anyway. It could be someone’s grandmother behind this charade.
Now they’ll be stuck in Tennessee when they should be sunning in the Sunshine State.
I see these stories all the time. And I shake may head when I see them. We’ve become so dependent on the Internet for just about everything … that we forget that it can be your enemy just as much as your friend.
Everything on the Internet isn’t the truth. In fact, it is relatively easy to create an authentic looking website with all the bells and whistles, but in truth it can be no more real than a hollywood set.
I remember during my days as a news editor at ESPN when we received an email saying that the Miami Herald was reporting that Shaquille O’Neal was going to have knee surgery. The problem was that the link was to a bogus Herald website, one that looked just like the real thing.
What an embarrassment when we had to retract the story.
The same can happen with a travel website … except you can’t retract your lost money.
Get it together people! Find yourself a trustworthy travel agent to do the heavy lifting for you.