Leskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 72 Reply 4, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2103 times:
Ok... since I work for a company that owns travel agencies on four continents, I guess I just might not be the most neutral person here... ... while I've booked a couple of flights directly on airlines websites, I usually end up booking my own flights in Amadeus or Sabre myself - because I, with extremely few exceptions (something around 10%) always end up with a lower fare than what I'd be getting on a website.
... and that's without even going into nonrev options...
AeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 18832 posts, RR: 64 Reply 7, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 2056 times:
Quoting Leskova (Reply 4): I usually end up booking my own flights in Amadeus or Sabre myself - because I, with extremely few exceptions (something around 10%) always end up with a lower fare than what I'd be getting on a website.
Could you explain this a bit more? Are you just seeing better fares on your GDS, or is it because of a discount you're given by being in the industry?
For myself, I'll use a website such as ITA ( http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch/prego ), and if I can't match or better the fare through the airline's website, or an alternate such as Orbitz, I'll go to a travel agent to book the ticket. mobissimo.com is another good source I use to search nearly 200 travel websites at once to come up with the lowest cost options.
ACDC8 From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 7598 posts, RR: 40 Reply 8, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 2056 times:
I don't book with travel agents anymore. No offence to any members who are travel agents, but I really ask myself if travel agents actually travel themselves, 'cause with the stuff they try to tell/sell you, it's safe to assume that they don't. A few examples in recent years:
- LT and DE do not fly to Canada.
- TS does not fly to Germany.
- All rental cars companies in Germany charge drop-off fees regardless where you drop the car off.
- 25 minuntes is enough for a cnx at LHR going from T1 to T4.
- There is no KL flight that leaves before 8am from DUS to AMS.
I like to book my trips myself, that way I can customize it the way I want and if anything goes wrong, I can only blame myself.
HPLASOps From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 9, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 2052 times:
In the last 8 years, the only time I heard of anyone using a travel agency to book a vacation was when my parents and another couple went to Austrailia for 3 weeks two years ago. The primary reason they used the agency was because of the complexity of the itenerary. They wanted to make it a combination New Zealand/Austrailia through a tour group, which involved going to many cities throughout AUS/NZ, and using mulitple airlines (NZ for the LAX-AKL leg, QF for Austrailian domestic travel). There were mulitple hotels involved as well. My parents are both in their 50s, and while still of sound mind and health, would've never been able to get all the details of the trip together and right without the use of an agency. It was the first trip to the southern hemisphere for both of them. In that situation, a travel agency came in very good handy.
For the record, they much preferred the service they received on NZ as opposed to QF, for those considering going down under and don't know which one to choose.
SK601 From Belgium, joined Jun 2005, 975 posts, RR: 4 Reply 10, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2048 times:
I haven't used a travel agency for years. I book my hotels at the hotel website or via Expedia or Priceline. Same for car rental. I do go to the travel agency to pick up some brochures to see what they offer and how their trips are organised. Based on that information I make my bookings.
BMED From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2004, 853 posts, RR: 7 Reply 11, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2047 times:
I always booked via the net and one day the internet at home was down and needed to book a FR flight before it went up in price. The flight include taxes and charges £19.97 but the travel agent wanted to charge a £35 booking fee so I went to an internet in the end. Now I always book via the net.
Femme From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 12, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2044 times:
We always book our two week holiday to Greece with a well known High Street Travel Agent. As mentioned previously, as it's a package, it's easier.
Flights to Ireland or Germany (where we have family and friends) we book directly via the Airlines Website.
I recon booking the main holiday through the Travel Agent (including travel Insurance) takes the worry out of organising it plus if theres a problem we can refer back to them. We also get a better rate of exchange with them !
CXfirst From Norway, joined Jan 2007, 2694 posts, RR: 1 Reply 13, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 2039 times:
We use travel agencies, when booking flights for others (family like sisters + brother-in-law) as many places, the card holder must be on the flight and booking. We also use travel agencies, for very complicated things like when my mother went PER-BKK-somewhere in Cambodia -stopover-BKK-stopover-Chiang Mai-stopover, plus a travel tour of Cambodia. We are now using a travel agency to get a safari in Kenya
Otherwise, when they are simple trips return or oneway, internet sites are always better.
SA7700 From South Africa, joined Dec 2003, 2916 posts, RR: 20 Reply 15, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2028 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW HEAD MODERATOR
I make use of Flight Centre whenever I have a complex itinerary like the RTW I just returned from. I also make use of the agency whenever I want to prepay hotels in advance, ruling out nasty surprises upon check-out. Also, Flight Centre (with its Australian connections) was able to get me a decent hotel room in Sydney during the Ashes Cricket and New Years Eve, when all the hotel websites showed sold out accommodation.
When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud
Carmenlu15 From Guatemala, joined Dec 2004, 4686 posts, RR: 35 Reply 16, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2024 times:
Having had my first contact with the industry as an airline employee, I always wondered what use could a travel agency be nowadays... until now that I work for one. From what I've seen here, you might end up finding cheaper air fares through the airline's website (unless it's a huge VFR destination like LAX, where many agencies have bulk rates). For hotels and complete packages, though, the agencies are able to negotiate much better rates to offer to their customers.
AirScoot From United States of America, joined May 2005, 688 posts, RR: 2 Reply 17, posted (6 years 3 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 2004 times:
We are required by policy to use a travel agency for work. I don't have any problems with them because they have managed to pull my butt out of the fire while I'm on travel more than once.
Having spent a considerable amount of time in the industry, it's nice to see that a good number of agencies are moving away from their traditional reliance on air for their income and are moving more towards packages. For the larger ones the bread and butter is from travel management and tracking. Unless you could acutally find an airline willing to comparison shop, they're not going anywhere.
AeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 18832 posts, RR: 64 Reply 19, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 1962 times:
Quoting Leskova (Reply 18): I'll admit that if I had to pay some service charge on top of that, the website very well could end up cheaper - but for me, airline websites are, for the most part, a non-issue.
That's really interesting. I've been using a website that's supposed to be the back-end of some of the travel websites, ITA, ( http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch/prego - you can login as a guest), and I've often found great disparity between what they offer and an airline's website. I'm curious if what prices, routings, and availability they show would be the same as in the GDS you use.
Quoting Carmenlu15 (Reply 16): For hotels and complete packages, though, the agencies are able to negotiate much better rates to offer to their customers.
Say I'm Joe Traveler, which I am, and I wanted to spend two weeks in Europe, split equally between London, Paris, and Amsterdam. What advantage does a travel agency offer in the example you outlined above, that I would get price-wise, that I couldn't find on my own? I could search for a good airfare, do pre-paid rates at hotels, etc. Is a travel agent able get a better selection of hotels to choose from, perhaps, or have access to packages that aren't offered anywhere else?
I come from a family of travelers, and I still have a few old itineraries of relatives from past gone eras where their travel plans were hand-typed on parchment paper (literally), so I'm somewhat sad to see travel agents close up shop and move on. I know they can open doors sometimes that others can't--I've experienced it myself. But what is the bottom line? I look at a travel agent nowadays more as a concierge, someone you'd pay when you need something done you don't have the access, ability or time to do yourself, rather than a real necessity. And I honestly don't mean anything degrading by that, it's just that the industry has changed. However, that said, I am open to having my mind broadened on what a travel agent can do.
AirScoot From United States of America, joined May 2005, 688 posts, RR: 2 Reply 20, posted (6 years 3 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 1940 times:
Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 19): That's really interesting. I've been using a website that's supposed to be the back-end of some of the travel websites, ITA, ( http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch/prego - you can login as a guest), and I've often found great disparity between what they offer and an airline's website. I'm curious if what prices, routings, and availability they show would be the same as in the GDS you use.
ITA does it by dropping virtual lines per carrier. They rely on internal carrier pricing for what they offer. If you do a search on low fare statistics by GDS, some of them aren't all that spectacular.. so it depeds on the carrier you're talking about.
To that end, I've seen Sabre price out lower on itineraries involving United than Apollo. To that end, if you were to use the ITA interface, you'd get what Apollo prices out at.. or essentially what the carrier sells at.
Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 19): . Is a travel agent able get a better selection of hotels to choose from, perhaps, or have access to packages that aren't offered anywhere else?
It's all about the package. There are still a number of wholesalers that won't sell to the public. The last one I worked for didn't because the margins were too thin and the public was too much trouble