Ten years ago, many of us thought that travel agents were headed for extinction. After all, the internet should make it easier and cheaper for anyone to book their own travel, right? But things have not gone quite as expected. Travel agents have proven to be more essential than we might have imagined. And, for the following three reasons, they’re still going strong:
Reason one: Internet travel sites are a pain to use. While it is true that anyone willing to put in some time and effort can use the net to book travel, doing so is often so tedious and time-consuming that one would rather pay a travel agent. For various reasons, no site today has made travel reservations truly easy. On a typical reservation site, customers have to research ticket prices on different dates, times, and airlines one at a time. Finding the cheapest flight turns out to be a very time-consuming task. Travel agents, on the other hand, are only too happy to handle that work.
Reason two: People like dealing with people. When internet commerce really started to take off in the late 1990s, you could be forgiven for believing that retail stores were on the way out, along with travel agents and every other service that required face-to-face contact among humans. As it turns out, though, people enjoy doing business with other people. Consequently, high-touch service companies have flourished. Some people evidently feel that internet travel sites are too impersonal.
Reason three: Special deals are always available through travel agents. For whatever reason, good travel agents are always able to provide customers with good deals that simply are not available on the Internet. Perhaps their superior research skills enable them to offer these deals, or maybe travel companies just give them better deals to begin with. Whatever the case, it often pays to go to a travel agent.
For each of the three reasons discussed above, travel agents are here to stay. Many customers will continue to use travel agents, no matter how many new travel websites pop up.