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Old 11-01-2013, 08:10 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,968 posts, read 83,656,005 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otterprods View Post
Why do people still go to travel agents anymore? Is it the same people that go inside the bank to do a transaction and read a printed newspaper daily or is there some other reason I'm missing? (both serious questions)
I am smiling about the bank statement: my husband goes in every Friday if he has business: why? because our bank gives out home made cookies. I guess that is part of getting old. BTW, some transactions do have to be done inside. The same as some travel plans are better left to a TA and reading the daily newspaper can be more in depth than depending on electronic news only.

Now, as for the TA: here is a situation and why some still prefer an agent: You want to take a 10 day cruise: you know you want to go to the Caribbean, but you don't have a clue what islands you want to see, where you want to embark nor which cabins are the best for your likes. You don't have hours to research: you call a seasons agent, tell them a little about what you want to do and let them do the research. They can narrow it down to a few choices. It doesn't cost you a penny to have them do this for you and you might even get an OBC, a bottle of wine or a dinner out of it. Now, explain why you wouldn't want to use one?
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Colorado
2,483 posts, read 3,537,547 times
Reputation: 2674
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
BTW, some transactions do have to be done inside… Now, explain why you wouldn't want to use one?
What kind of transactions have to be done inside? My nearest bank office is > 1000 miles away from me. I've used them for just about everything for 15+ years now (including buying homes, new cars, life insurance, new kid funds, financial advice…etc, etc) and never once set foot anywhere near one of their actual offices. Most of it's purely online, but sometimes the phone is involved, and perhaps a screen-share if needed. You did answer my question pretty well so thanks. It's mostly older people or other ones who either don't want to or don't know how to sit in front of a computer and do it all themselves. Which is fine, I respect that. They can do things I can't (like write meaningful things on paper and not lose it).

As for why I don't use them: One of the most enjoyable, exciting parts to me is doing the research and planning and booking a detailed itinerary for myself and my family. And I find it very easy and not that time consuming and way more fun than sitting there watching TV or whatever else I'd be doing at that time. Even when I went to Italy for a month, I plotted it all out on my own using maps, forums, word of mouth, and of course google searches. Hindsight, I felt that it could not have been planned better, despite a few unexpected things. It takes time but so does going to the TA and sitting in their office, bored, while they do it for me. Another reason is because I don't entirely trust them. I don't think they're scheisters, but no one knows my own tastes better than me so why not plan it myself? And they have to get paid, so that payment must be coming out of my own vacation costs no matter how much they 'saved' me. Finally, why be bothered with driving someplace and meeting with someone when I can sit in my cozy office and do it myself for 0 gas and time cost? I even buy things like tape and dental floss online whenever I can. If it wasn't for fresh produce and meat, I'd probably never leave except on foot for fun/excercise. (joking… sort of)


The one scenario where I think I would use a travel agent is if I was organizing some large group thing so that I could go in and setup a basic itinerary and then tell everyone to contact that agent to book and pay for it on their own. Even then I'd probably know exactly where to go and how to get there beforehand. Gee, maybe I should just be a travel agent.
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Old 11-01-2013, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,968 posts, read 83,656,005 times
Reputation: 41778
Quote:
Originally Posted by otterprods View Post
What kind of transactions have to be done inside? My nearest bank office is > 1000 miles away from me. I've used them for just about everything for 15+ years now (including buying homes, new cars, life insurance, new kid funds, financial advice…etc, etc) and never once set foot anywhere near one of their actual offices. Most of it's purely online, but sometimes the phone is involved, and perhaps a screen-share if needed. You did answer my question pretty well so thanks. It's mostly older people or other ones who either don't want to or don't know how to sit in front of a computer and do it all themselves. Which is fine, I respect that. They can do things I can't (like write meaningful things on paper and not lose it).

As for why I don't use them: One of the most enjoyable, exciting parts to me is doing the research and planning and booking a detailed itinerary for myself and my family. And I find it very easy and not that time consuming and way more fun than sitting there watching TV or whatever else I'd be doing at that time. Even when I went to Italy for a month, I plotted it all out on my own using maps, forums, word of mouth, and of course google searches. Hindsight, I felt that it could not have been planned better, despite a few unexpected things. It takes time but so does going to the TA and sitting in their office, bored, while they do it for me. Another reason is because I don't entirely trust them. I don't think they're scheisters, but no one knows my own tastes better than me so why not plan it myself? And they have to get paid, so that payment must be coming out of my own vacation costs no matter how much they 'saved' me. Finally, why be bothered with driving someplace and meeting with someone when I can sit in my cozy office and do it myself for 0 gas and time cost? I even buy things like tape and dental floss online whenever I can. If it wasn't for fresh produce and meat, I'd probably never leave except on foot for fun/excercise. (joking… sort of)


The one scenario where I think I would use a travel agent is if I was organizing some large group thing so that I could go in and setup a basic itinerary and then tell everyone to contact that agent to book and pay for it on their own. Even then I'd probably know exactly where to go and how to get there beforehand. Gee, maybe I should just be a travel agent.
So, you can see, there are reasons for using a travel agent. Not just the reasons you give or I gave but others as well. Here is another example: we are cruising next month; the prices of the cruise have gone down for many since we booked, so I checked, like many large TA groups our TA company had held several cabins at a discounted rate. We are getting our cabin about $50 a person less than had we booked ourselves, and we are getting $100 OBC. All the research in the world would not have gotten us this. As I have often said, here and elsewhere, if you have an idea what you want and have the time and knowledge to do research, yes, part of the fun, is exactly doing that. But many people do not even know where to start, they do not have to be older. Our agent deals with all ages, most are seasoned travelers but many are honeymooners. Oh, you want to know who pays the TA? the companies do, they would rather pay a commission that have to have several employees answering phone, which cost them money in benefits, utilities, etc. You talk about driving to someone's office, almost all TAs are now home based. It is obvious you don't have a good understanding of what agents do for their clients. Again, I will say, if you want to do the work, go for it, but don't put the industry down, like you did in your response.

As for banking, we use the walkin for notary purposes, if nothing else. Recently our daughter wanted to get a small check, made out to 4 of us cashed. Because 2 on the check did not have accounts with the bank ID had to be shown and it could not be done electronically. So, see there are exceptions to every rule.

We too, do a lot on line, most of are dependent on our computers. I buy a lot on line, we do most of our banking on line, most of our payments are automatically deducted and our checks are automatically deposited, but I would never say, I don't need the anything but my computer to exist
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Old 11-02-2013, 11:30 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,607,588 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
I am smiling about the bank statement: my husband goes in every Friday if he has business: why? because our bank gives out home made cookies. I guess that is part of getting old. BTW, some transactions do have to be done inside. The same as some travel plans are better left to a TA and reading the daily newspaper can be more in depth than depending on electronic news only.

Now, as for the TA: here is a situation and why some still prefer an agent: You want to take a 10 day cruise: you know you want to go to the Caribbean, but you don't have a clue what islands you want to see, where you want to embark nor which cabins are the best for your likes. You don't have hours to research: you call a seasons agent, tell them a little about what you want to do and let them do the research. They can narrow it down to a few choices. It doesn't cost you a penny to have them do this for you and you might even get an OBC, a bottle of wine or a dinner out of it. Now, explain why you wouldn't want to use one?
Because then the TA "owns" the cruise and I can't make any changes without going through the,. If I see a coveted cabin has suddenly opened in a Sunday morning, the line won't change it for me, only the agent, and it will be long gone before they open for business on Monday.

Very few TA's research anything, they simply sell preset packages that are spoon fed to them. Most TA's have not traveled all that much themselves. Far too many give out highly inaccurate info that end up costing the consumer in the long run.


Autocorrect responsible for most typos...
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Old 11-02-2013, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,968 posts, read 83,656,005 times
Reputation: 41778
Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
Because then the TA "owns" the cruise and I can't make any changes without going through the,. If I see a coveted cabin has suddenly opened in a Sunday morning, the line won't change it for me, only the agent, and it will be long gone before they open for business on Monday.

Very few TA's research anything, they simply sell preset packages that are spoon fed to them. Most TA's have not traveled all that much themselves. Far too many give out highly inaccurate info that end up costing the consumer in the long run.


Autocorrect responsible for most typos...
two things you obvious do not know because as you have said before, you haven't dealt with an agent in years: 1-most of them check their phones and emails daily, even store front agencies are open 7 days week, so the example you are giving is 100% false and 2-yes, like any other business, there are those who are nothing but order takers, they have no clue, but that isn't all agents. Do you do all your own investments because some investment councilors are not always knowledgable? do you treat yourself when you are ill because some doctors should probably not be practicing? Do you work on your own car because some mechanics know less than you do?
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Colorado
2,483 posts, read 3,537,547 times
Reputation: 2674
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
It is obvious you don't have a good understanding of what agents do for their clients.
Which was why I asked.

Your point about a TA having some juicy deal that I can't get on my own is a good one. But wouldn't I need to know that beforehand and target that particular trip? It seems just as likely that he/she would not have any better deals for me and then I'm going there for no real reason. Besides I doubt any agent could plan the kinds of trips I design for myself which usually combine several different types of travel elements, many of which are not for sale. But if I ever travel to the middle east for fun (unlikely) and not on a cruise (less likely) then yes I will probably use an actual travel agent.
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Florida -
8,764 posts, read 10,845,692 times
Reputation: 16639
We've taken numerous cruises over the past 5-years since retiring - on a variety of cruise lines: Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Princess, Carnival. Our favorite is Holland America, followed by Royal Caribbean (food, entertainment, service, amenities, routes). We'll probably take future RC and HA cruises ... and are now looking into river cruises.

Our least favorite is Carnival (Although they seem to offer lower rates, the food is more 'average buffet quality', the entertainment is more limited and redundant, they are more 'young party' focused ... and we're tired of the Caribbean. We've taken several Carnival cruises, but, will probably not return in the future).

Last edited by jghorton; 11-04-2013 at 10:11 AM..
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:14 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,607,588 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
two things you obvious do not know because as you have said before, you haven't dealt with an agent in years: 1-most of them check their phones and emails daily, even store front agencies are open 7 days week, so the example you are giving is 100% false and 2-yes, like any other business, there are those who are nothing but order takers, they have no clue, but that isn't all agents. Do you do all your own investments because some investment councilors are not always knowledgable? do you treat yourself when you are ill because some doctors should probably not be practicing? Do you work on your own car because some mechanics know less than you do?
I had an agent book my cruise in 2011, not all that long ago. Of course I booked it and then transferred the booking to my friend so she'd get the credit.

Investments--I do some, have others professionally handled.

Doctors--I take a wait and see approach to many things, and do not go running off to one for the sniffles. By the way, I wouldn't put a doctor with their years of training and education anywhere near a TA who doesn't even need a GED.

Mechanic--I have more than once had to put the SB in front of them--I new about the problem and factory solution before they did. I often have a better understanding than they do, but don't like to get my hands dirty.

I have over a million butt in seat miles and have been on four continents. I have traveled more than the aggregate of most travel agencies entire experience. They are useless to me. I can look something up as easily as they can. They don't want to work with my FF miles, my hotel points, or anything that doesn't tie up in their neat little prepackaged deals. I don't want someone who needs to look it up, I can do that myself. When I find a TA who has actually traveled and experienced as much of this world as I have, then I might consider using them for a complex or extremely exotic itinerary. Until then, they are useless to me.

You are a travel agent. Can you book the following for me?

Lunch and a private tasting at Pichon Longueville.
A private tour of Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze.
A tour of Abbey Road Studios.
A private tour of the Vatican Museum with it's curator.
A private tasting in the home of a legendary Napa winemaker.

I've arranged for all of those without the help of a travel agent.

Please, tell me how you as a travel agent would benefit me. I'd love to hear.

Last edited by annerk; 11-04-2013 at 09:26 AM..
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,968 posts, read 83,656,005 times
Reputation: 41778
Quote:
Originally Posted by otterprods View Post
Which was why I asked.

Your point about a TA having some juicy deal that I can't get on my own is a good one. But wouldn't I need to know that beforehand and target that particular trip? It seems just as likely that he/she would not have any better deals for me and then I'm going there for no real reason. Besides I doubt any agent could plan the kinds of trips I design for myself which usually combine several different types of travel elements, many of which are not for sale. But if I ever travel to the middle east for fun (unlikely) and not on a cruise (less likely) then yes I will probably use an actual travel agent.
you do bring up good points: I totally agree about planning your own vacations if you like to do those things, have the expertise and the time; My point simply is, for many there is a good reason or reasons for using professionals, regardless of the profession. I feel the same way about excursions, when you are sailing; new cruisers are probably better off going with the over priced, not so personal tours offered via the ship. After a few cruises, it is, generally more fun, cheaper and better to plan your own tours, unless you are going into an area that isn't 100% safe. The same can be said about someone's first trip over the pond or wherever, it is often better to do a group tour with a tour company, but after a few trips, doing private tours and planning your itinerary makes more sense for many.
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,968 posts, read 83,656,005 times
Reputation: 41778
Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
I had an agent book my cruise in 2011, not all that long ago. Of course I booked it and then transferred the booking to my friend so she'd get the credit.

Investments--I do some, have others professionally handled.

Doctors--I take a wait and see approach to many things, and do not go running off to one for the sniffles. By the way, I wouldn't put a doctor with their years of training and education anywhere near a TA who doesn't even need a GED.

Mechanic--I have more than once had to put the SB in front of them--I new about the problem and factory solution before they did. I often have a better understanding than they do, but don't like to get my hands dirty.

I have over a million butt in seat miles and have been on four continents. I have traveled more than the aggregate of most travel agencies entire experience. They are useless to me. I can look something up as easily as they can. They don't want to work with my FF miles, my hotel points, or anything that doesn't tie up in their neat little prepackaged deals. I don't want someone who needs to look it up, I can do that myself. When I find a TA who has actually traveled and experienced as much of this world as I have, then I might consider using them for a complex or extremely exotic itinerary. Until then, they are useless to me.

You are a travel agent. Can you book the following for me?

Lunch and a private tasting at Pichon Longueville.
A private tour of Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze.
A tour of Abbey Road Studios.
A private tour of the Vatican Museum with it's curator.
A private tasting in the home of a legendary Napa winemaker.

I've arranged for all of those without the help of a travel agent.

Please, tell me how you as a travel agent would benefit me. I'd love to hear.
What the heck are you jabbering about? I am not a travel agent and I don't think I or anyone else has claimed using an agent is right for everyone. For you, maybe not, but you have come on here time and time again, knocking the industry. I am just giving the other side of the equation. Like every profession, there are good agents and bad ones, some are experienced travelers, even as experienced as you, even if you find that hard to believe. Others have never been out of their home town.
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