There are lots of myths about travel agents and as such, they are in most scenarios misunderstood with what they do or what they represent. Travelers have different opinions about travel agents; some people think they are just a group of people who have set up a structure just to reap them off, some see them as people who just consult and advise and nothing more, while some just see them as mere middle-men who consciously make fares more expensive.
Over the last few years there has been lots of misconception and wrong myths about travel agents and we will like to give you a clear understanding and perhaps break these myths about travel agents so we can really know what travel agents do and how they do it best .
Myth 1. I DON’T NEED A TRAVEL AGENT
Facts : Some people thinks they don’t need the travel agents anymore simply because they can book make their reservations by themselves on the flight or hotels website. True you can, however with a travel agent, they will help you search for the best deals simply because they have the experience and tools to find the simple complicated things you need. For example, booking a flight ticket might require you changing your ticket at a particular point, selecting a particular seat, re-routing your ticket, adding an infant to the ticket, ticket refunds etc Contacting the airline for these changes can be a nightmare, however with an agent you have peace of mind because they know the process and how to go about making sure you have a safe and stress free travel arrangements.
Its also interesting to know that over 54% of flight tickets, 81% of tours, 47% of hotel are sold through Travel agents.
Myth 2. TRAVEL AGENTS HAVE BEEN REPLACED BY THE INTERNET
Facts : A very important thing to remember is the fact that the internet will and cannot help you with the very important things called ”little details”. Travel agents can advise you accordingly as well as help you with little information you will need, ways too stay safe in the country you intend to visit, where and how to find a family friendly hotel, what and what not to eat, the local laws and traditions, and many more things that will keep you out of trouble.
Also travel agents are partners with the airlines, hotels and tour companies and as such they regularly get special deals and net fares which are not displayed online in most cases. They get these deals simply because of the volumes they give the airlines and as such if you are not buying from them at that point in time, you are missing out on exclusive deals, hence you will end up paying higher if you are not buying from the travel agents.
Myth 3. TRAVEL AGENTS ARE EXPENSIVE
Facts : No they are not! Some people think travel agents are expensive because they take commission on every sales they make not knowing that the commission they make comes from the airlines, hotels or attraction sites.
They are more interested to help you get the best deals because when they do, then they get paid.
In most cases, travel agents are more cheaper then the airline or hotels simply because they rely solely on the commissions they get from the airlines. Take for example if the travel agents get 10% from the airlines, they are most likely to give back 4% to the customer and then keep only 6%. You would ask why they will do this? they will do this because it will make their fares reduced and if their fares are reduced, more people are likely to buy from them and when more people buy from them, they can negotiate more and better deals with the airline.
Remember, they thrive on volume!
Myth 4. TRAVEL AGENTS BOOK ONLY FLIGHTS AND HOTEL
Facts : A good travel agents will take care of everything you need ranging from flights, to hotel, to attraction site, airport pick up and transfer etc. As a matter of fact , they have been trained to do so.
A good travel agent should also be able to help you in time of trouble or you get stucked in a foreign country, they will know the steps to take to make sure you have a vacation hitch free experience.
Other than just booking flights and hotels, travel agencies performs advisory services like helping you go through your visa’s to know if you can transit in a particular country, or how many transit stops you can have in a foreign country. They should also be able to advise you on the kind of health insurance you will need.
A good travel agents also can help you arrange Airport protocol services as well as Airport logistics services if needed.
Myth 5. ALL TRAVEL AGENTS ARE THE SAME
Facts : No they are not! They have different specializations and different areas of interest. When searching for a travel agents, you want someone who is experienced, highly recommended, and specializes in the type of vacation you want.
For example, you want a certain cruise tour around the Bahamas, you need an experienced tour operator who has done something similar in the past rather than having a travel agents whose specialty is organizing local tours in and around Nigeria to handle it for you.
Same thing is you want a tour to Paris, you need an operator who is also experienced with European tours.
Also just to be sure you are booking or making your travel plan with an expert travel agents, ask your agents if he or she is a member of National Association of Nigerian Travel agencies NANTA or The National Association of Tour Operator (NATOP). You can also request to see their ID card also just to be sure you are dealing with an expert