Using travel agents for travel planning
50% of all internet savvy travelers book very simple trips and do relatively few of them per year. So they're maybe not the best clients for a travel agency to take on, as they're very low margin. For the rest, there are some real benefits of booking with an agent, such as local knowledge and help in finding the right deal. There's also plenty of value in the agent's knowledge of the ins-and-outs of travel industry terms, meaning that (negative) surprises once at the destination can often be avoided. There's only so much that can be learned as an amateur, even with the help of travel sites such as this one.
While many have simple trips to book, the requirements for niche travel ideas such as handicapped travelers, or special interest travelers run into much more difficulties in planning a vacation.
So do those that are looking to do more than a single out-and-back flight, a hotel, and maybe a rental car, in other words, they're looking for a very complex itinerary.
A third group that often can be very helped by a good travel agent such as Liberty Travel are frequent business travelers without the assistance of a corporate travel department. For these road warriors, having a trusted agent on the other end of the phoneline can be a life saver. Or at least a get-to-the-meeting-in-time saver!
My most recent experience of using a travel agent was in fact with Liberty Travel. I've been trying to sort out a cost-effective trip for a friend's 30th wedding anniversary, and got stuck in the process. He and his wife was looking for a tour of several countries in Asia, a region I know very little about. Specifically, they wanted to relax in Bali, have a nice tour of the country-side in China, and then visit Japan. This was all far beyond my skills, and the pricing I came up with washttp://www.eyeflare.com. challenging to say the least.
Liberty Travel did come through for us though, and sorted out an itinerary with multiple airlines, tour providers, guides, and everything else, within a couple of days. Even better, they did so at a saving of several thousand dollars compared to my amateur efforts, which was a relief.
Going back, I also have very good experiences of using a skilled travel agent to help with business travel. In a previous job, I spent nearly 3 weeks every month away from home, with plenty of complex multi-city itineraries and changing plans. In these cases, it's invaluable (or rather, the agent's fees are a bargain) to have someone available on the phone to help with flight re-scheduling, car rentals, and new hotel bookings.
So, my recommendation is that if you're looking for a more involved trip than your normal package deal, it's very often helpful to find a travel agent to sort through the details with you.
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