Although the COVID-19 crisis has raised awareness of the importance of using an agent, Carla MacKay, the owner of Travel Our Way in New Glasgow, NS, says the value of their services extends beyond being there for clients during a time of need.
“Those who booked online are going it alone or reaching out to agents for assistance. I believe travel is easy to book, hard to fix and many online shoppers just learned this lesson,” she says. “Travel agents offer knowledge and experience as well as client advocacy. My personal travel as well as that of my team gives our agency firsthand knowledge to enhance our clients’ travel experience. Our sales volume puts us at the forefront with some of our suppliers with whom we have built strong relationships. This allows our advocacy to be enhanced. Likewise, we have more opportunities for negotiating promotions and trip giveaways to support local community causes.”
For Megan Baugh of Baconko Travel Edmonton, the service travel agents offer can’t possibly be compared to booking online.
“First and foremost, a travel agent brings expertise. Most people travel to an all-inclusive hotel a few times in their lives or maybe once a year. As an agent whose specialization requires an in-depth knowledge of all-inclusive hotels, I travel multiple times a year, experiencing multiple properties on each trip, and I have either stayed at or visited just about every hotel in Mexico and the Caribbean,” she says. “For clients with specific hotel requirements, researching every all-inclusive hotel would be an extremely daunting task, while I would have all of this knowledge from my personal experience. There really is no comparison. In addition to this, a good travel agent will provide you with tips and information specific to your destination or hotel chain. Travel agents also have relationships with suppliers which can assist them in advocating on your behalf in the case that there are any issues.”