I think back frequently about a conversation I had with a gentlemen a while ago about Internet booking vs. using a travel agent. No, make that a travel professional.
The Internet has been both our best friend and our worst enemy .. and you can find just about anything surfing the Web. That doesn’t mean you’re going to find the right thing.
It also gives people a false sense of security, that they can do anything better than someone who has the education and experience in a chosen field.
Before long people are going to believe they can perform an appendectomy better than a surgeon because they found the instructions at surgery101.com.
My job is to give people the best possible vacation for the best price possible based on what they have to spend. That doesn’t mean they’re going to get a Sandals resort for $1,000, but I can get you to Sandals at a good price with significant discounts.
Simply put, a travel professional is going to give you value for your dollars.
Too often, do-it-yourself travel agents don’t consider the entire cost of a vacation. They’ll look at hotel costs and figure they’ll fold in the other elements at it goes along.
A recent client looking for a honeymoon wanted a “tropical” vacation on a beach and had about $3,000-$3,500 to spend.
They were offered a week at a 5-Star resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic called Dreams Palm Beach for $3,408 all inclusive. That includes flights, accommodations, gourmet dining, unlimited premium drinks, the requisite beach, a definite tropical location and a host of entertainment options.
They declined because they though it was too much, and asked for something in Florida where you can walk out of your hotel straight onto a beach. They never considered the airfare costs (average $700 for two tickets if booked early enough), $1,050 for food ($150 a day), $200 for a rental car (not to mention gas) … and don’t forget that low-end beachfront hotel that runs at least $250 a night.
That’s at least $3,700 … and if you want some drinks and entertainment, let’s tack on another $300.
You get the point.
I’ve talked with other travel professionals who feel the same way. It was particularly frustrating when President Obama made the uneducated statement that travel agents were dead because of the Internet.
Well, Mr. President … just wanted you to know that we’re alive … well … and booking more travel than ever.