Book it! (On-line or through travel agencies?)

On-line booking has changed the way the public plans and budgets vacations. The internet has made it easier for people to look for the cheapest airfares available and easily book their preferred destinations with a simple click of a button.

“Travel promos have become a regular thing. People no longer have to wait for travel fairs to have an opportunity to avail of various promo fares. There are monthly, even weekly, promos from different airlines offering various travel packages,” said Paz Alberto, president of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA).

But aside from the numerous promos that can be found on the web, travel bargain hunters also tend to forget the value of travel agencies. Before people started getting wired to the net, travel agencies were the first places people went to for their travel options. But recently, tourists are attracted to the low costs and convenience of on-line bookings. There are also others who enjoy chasing after travel promos on the net. But still, travel agencies continue to be a great source of information and provide excellent alternatives for planning vacation getaways.

“One of the best reasons for going to travel agencies is having peace of mind about your destination. We can provide numerous conveniences which can greatly benefit the clients before and during their trip. We can provide a sense of security and first-hand information regarding destinations which is more reliable than the write-ups that can be seen in the internet” added Alberto.

Indeed anyone can go anywhere they like with the right timing, information, and budget. Especially during this rainy season, there would be more and more promos that will be soon available. According to Alberto, the top destinations during the rainy season are Hong Kong, Singapore, and China for the World Expo.

Alberto also explained that there are really good finds on the web, but there are some better promos through travel agencies which are not published or advertised most of the time. The agencies can waive or negotiate charges for the clients and even advise them why the cheapest offers are not necessarily the best options for a vacation.

The PTAA president also said “Sometimes we are easily misled with the very low prices that we tend to forget about specific details about the tour package. It may be very affordable but the packaged hotel may be far from the main city, which can easily ruin a vacation.”

Going to a travel agency can also prevent other mishaps from happening during a trip. Aside from the usual confusion, there is always a risk credit card hacking during an on-line transaction. This can turn what was supposed to be an affordable vacation into an expensive headache.

Alberto further explained saying, “Booking on-line or through an agency have their pros and cons. For the travel agencies, we can provide personalized service and utmost convenience for the clients. Especially during this rainy season when there are a number of flights getting cancelled, they can coordinate with us and we’ll help them re-book and other matters that they need for their trip.

“It’s always nice to have options, and the smart way to discover that best option is by asking. When we see unbelievable rates, it’s best to we study them carefully and compare it with the other airfares available from other airlines. But that should not limit our options on-line. There’s a big chance that travel agencies also have the same promo fares or even less. All they have to do is ask to find out,” concluded Alberto.



posted on July 10, 2010

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