Travel agents and the service they do or do not provide

This article talks about two things. One is the risk of Malaria in Punta Cana and elsewhere in the Dominican Republic. I didn’t know that when I went...

The other thing is the role of the travel agent, something we have discussed here on this blog. Travel agents just aren’t telling their customers about the Malaria risk. Whenever a travel agent comments on this blog about how necessary they are, they always imply that they would give their customers this kind of information.

I’m sure that some travel agents are good enough to give people all the relevant information, but are most travel agents good? The influx of “travel agents” from YTB and other card mills certainly isn’t helping but even traditional travel agents don’t always do that much for their customers.

I used a travel agent in New Jersey when I went to Cancun. I never went back to her because the service she offered was nothing special. In Seoul we have 2 travel agents that we use often because they really take care of us.

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  1. peter chep says:

    What is it that this person wants for a trip to Cancun? Air, hotel and beach is about all you get in Cancun… Not much more to say on that destination. As for the Malaria risk, this information is for government or tourist boards to broadcast to the travel industry. A well versed traveler will also read and gather information prior to traveling, rather then relying souly on a single agent. Travel Agents are consultants and the customer needs to research his destination as does the travel consultant. The public needs not to pick on the travel agent due to the laziness of the customer.

  2. Jill says:

    I haven’t used a travel agent since my husband and I got married twenty years ago. Since the advent of the internet, I can find as much or more information and deals about our preferred destinations as some of the travel agents I’ve met. I would use a GOOD travel agent if we were going someplace more exotic, such as Asia or Africa, if they were experienced in those areas. However, all the travel agents in Florida seem to specialize in cruises (full price fares even) or tours of Europe for retirees with lots of money.

  3. jrpipe says:

    When I traveled to Punta Cana, we checked online to get any information we could about the area, and happened across a government website that will tell you what areas are not safe to travel. That’s how I found out in advance about the malaria problem in the Dominican Republic….we had just enough time to get started on the medication we needed before leaving. The travel agents do not tell you these things in fear that you will cancel your trip. I personally think that the water in the Dominican Republic is a much worse threat than malaria as we didn’t see any mosquitoes at all, but even without drinking their water, we both got ill.

    Do as much research on your destination as you can, it’s really up to you to make sure your trip is safe.

    jrpipe

  4. James Trotta says:

    I agree that it is up to the traveler. I guess that’s why many of don’t rely on travel agents.

    As for Cancun, a travel agent that wanted repeat business would have told me about a few resorts, showed pictures of the pools, compared the restaurant menus, etc. Instead we got one resort recommendation (who knows why the travel agent even picked that one?) and we didn’t think it was that great of a resort.

  5. Beth says:

    It’s a shame travel agents generally get a bad rap. I sell travel and really enjoy it. I spend hours sometimes researching areas, and I’m very honest with my customers about the places they want to visit. If it’s not the safest, I tell them. If there’s a problem with illness, I tell them. I rather be honest and not get the sale then lie and put them through potential problems. Just my opinion!

  6. Linda Bator says:

    If you want a good travel agent, it may take a little research on your part. Yes, there are a lot of card mills out there, and it can be very misleading for some clients. But if you find an ASTA agency, a CLIA cruise agent, and one who is a specialist (I am a member of Virtuoso), you are much more likely to be satisfied. But remember that when an agent asks you a lot of questions to get to know you – don’t get perturbed, be flattered – it means they are looking to give you the best experience possible. And much like a doctor or lawyer, just because you did not click with the 1st travel agent you speak to, don’t give up. Try another – you may be very glad you did!

  7. Carol says:

    Should I use a travel agent for a cruise?

  8. James Trotta says:

    I would check things out online and then see if a travel agent can do better.

  9. Paul says:

    It’s all about accountability. If one willingly gives up the personal responsibility to research BOTH the US and the destinations (government & commercial) web sites then what is given to them by an agent – is what is deserved: good or otherwise! To gain the most value from an agent: ask where THEY go, what activities THEY seek, what SPECIALTIES THEY focus on. I don’t seek accounting input from my priest. (I just ask him to make sure I’m in the plus column). One might ask the motivation to travel yet not have the desire to execute an inquiry to ones destination.

  10. Pat says:

    I don’t understand why you would not go to a travel agent for a package, there is no difference in price, the company pays the agent not the client. At least you have someone to help you if you do have a problem, if it is a hotel, air, transfer problem, there is very little you can do with the internet but many times a travel agent can take care of the problem when it occurs. You can take care of most bookings over the phone and if you deal with an agency that does a fair amount of business with a tour company or cruise line, you will not be able to get a better price.

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