As savvy frequent flyers have become adept at organising their own travel, has the role of a travel agent waned?

4 replies

traveller

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 24 Oct 2011

Total posts 24

As savvy frequent flyers have become adept at organising their own travel, has the role of a travel agent waned? What are the benefits of an agent to a traveller already in-the-know?

htc

Qantas P1

Member since 18 Jan 2012

Total posts 40

I do about 150 domestic and international flights a year. I never use an agent. I think I've used one once in 3 years. I know what flights I want, the aircraft, the time and the hotels I like - and I get it all cheaper. If you are savvy and have an intermediate understanding of travel, the I thoroughly recommend booking yourself. 

StuParr

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 01 Mar 2012

Total posts 195

I agree, if you know what you want and how to get it, then you are fine. If you book direct with the airline then they are more likely to help you if you need to make changes etc. If it is an agent booking, they refer you to them. I think agents are good for people who really don't know or cant be bothered doing it themselves. 

am

Member since 15 Apr 2011

Total posts 216

One of the companies I work with mandates that all travel be booked through the travel agents, even if a cheaper fare can be found elsewhere. The corporate benefits of bundling all the business together and chanelling it through this one company are quite big... In these situations, I determine exactly what I want to book, send flights numbers and dates to them and they do the physical booking and send the reference number straight back to me the same day.

The fares are often quite a bit lower than quoted on the booking systems online. Same fare class, same conditions, but consistently 10-20+% cheaper. So booking through the corporate agents means accessing corporate agreements etc which saves cash...

On the changes front - it can be handy to have someone with a working relationship with the airline (ie the big travel agents all have relationship managers within QF etc) when problems arise or changes are needed. This is especially true when overseas, busy with work etc - being able to send our agents an email or even a quick text and have the issue resolved for me is handy at times, without needing to call and go through the whole process.

cbourl

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

Member since 12 Sep 2011

Total posts 7

Good travel agents are a rare breed - my rtw travel every year and other flights to USA for shopping a couple of times a year i do myself - through websites (airline eg United,Lufthansa,Swiss ElAl and sometimes QF for domestic travel If you have a fare the agent is not familiar with eg Swiss Global LH C fares to EU where u can travel via USA/Canada/South Africa,South America,New Zealand Hong Kong Singapore etc using Star  Alliance partners  and a few One world partners QF CX BA its a real struggle and  its all about fees fees fees, even when the airline does not charge change fees when you do it directly with them - most travel agents will give you oneworld fares, etihad etc and they know little if anything about star alliance, the world's largest alliance esp Flight centre with its multitude of agents  If you dont mind paying an additional surcharge for booking through a travel agent do so!  eg LH LX fares which have 7% commission to agent bult in then the agent will tell you another 500 or 600 on top of the base LH/LX fare - so book with the airline direct!

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