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Squawks & HeadlinesAre Travel Agents Back?

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Are Travel Agents Back?

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“I needed recommendations and someone to steer me in the right direction,” said Ms. Griffin, who opted to work with an agent after years of making her own reservations because she needed a getaway suitable for a toddler and had little interest in scrolling through endless and conflicting user hotel reviews online. “There are so many,” she said. And with every site displaying beautiful pictures and tantalizing offers, “it can be overwhelming.” “I wanted somebody from a reputable agency who could… (travel.nytimes.com) More...

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dbaker
Daniel Baker 1
There's no doubt that the more effort you put into something, the better the outcome. Quickly booking a two week air/hotel/car/etc package deal on Expedia is not going to be as ideal as spending dozens of hours planning a trip. The question is just if you want to do that planning yourself or if you'd like to pay someone else to do it for you. If you're not too particular, the latter probably makes sense, but then the tricky part is finding someone that actually has the experience that you need.

It's the same thing with frequent flier programs -- believe it or not, there are now services that will help you redeem miles since the availability is limited and rules are so complicated. However, if you're willing to sort it out yourself, you'll succeed. The proverb "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. " definitely applies here; the people redeeming RTW first class awards and always getting upgraded to business class on international flights generally aren't paying services to do this and aren't just lucky...they're motivated and persistent.
CitationJet
Kim Hackett 0
My wife owns a home based travel agency that specializes in corporate incentive travel, and high end individual travel. She operates by referral only, her business phone number is unlisted, and she has no website. She is so busy she is turning away business. She travels about 6 times a year escorting groups. Many of her clients are doctors, small business owners, and a former ambassador, who has her on retainer. Their time is more valuable than searching the internet for the cheapest fares. Today's travel agents haven't traveled much; they can't knowledgeable sell what they haven't seen. Also, for groups of 10 or more traveling, you can get group airfares, which are cheaper and give you more flexibility. You can't do group fares over the internet. She has traveled to 51 countries and worked for American Airlines for 16 years, many years ago.