Friday, March 18, 2016

Are you paying someone else while you do all the work?

When you read that headline, you probably immediately thought to yourself how ridiculous it was - there's no way you'd pay someone while you did the work, right? That's crazy!!

And yet, if you are not using a dedicated travel agent for your personal and/or business travel, you are paying someone else while you do the work yourself! Seriously, it's true. Here's why:

Previously, I've talked about the dirty secrets of the travel industry, and how travel agents really get paid (hint: we don't take YOUR money, but rather get paid by the supplier itself). In summary, the price you see for a destination generally boils down to cost + profit = selling price. Commission is rolled into part of the cost no matter what type of travel you look at (exception: airfare, because airlines are basically a$$holes, though they are somewhat improving this year). That's why you can search around various types of travel and the pricing is generally pretty similar pricing across the board.

The above example shows 4 different websites all with the same pricing. As consolidator search engines, Expedia, Orbitz, and all get paid a commission for selling the room. If you book direct with Starwood, you'll notice the price is the same - so where does the commission go? Well, simply put, Starwood pockets that commission and pats themselves on the back for getting you to do the work for them. 

As a travel agent, I can't tell you how many times I've been asked why someone should book with me instead of booking direct. It shouldn't bother me by now, but it still does hurt a little - not to mention, it makes me shocked that with all of the information available these days, most people still don't know how the travel industry operates. No matter how much someone travels, there is a broad spectrum of travelers who simply don't realize that using a travel agent can make a big difference.

I've written before about the benefits of using a travel agent, but if you don't want to take it from me you can check out Entrepreneur, Travel & Leisure, Huffington Post, USA Today, or Forbes. :) There's also another reason - 9 times out of 10, your travel agent will be either a small business owner or a small business employee. Supporting a small business has so many benefits for both the employees and the community. Not to mention, you get to work person to person with someone who actually cares - a website won't care that you are taking a trip to celebrate your anniversary, but we will!

If that doesn't convince you, there's one last benefit that makes it even more worth it - you aren't paying someone for doing the work yourself! 

So, if you or your company's travel strategy is to spend hours researching on the internet and then booking online yourself, you are missing out on working with a travel agent and paying someone else for doing your own work! 

At Operation Relax, you get to work with a travel agent - someone who lives in your community, cares about your vacation preferences, and keeps it personal. Give us a try and we will work with you to create a stress-free experience. We will do all the work, so that you aren't paying someone to do the work yourself.

---- This post was inspired by a post written by our fellow travel agent friend Sara. You can check out her post here. ---