Online travel booking engine friend or foe?
I can't tell you how many times I hear in discussions, " Is using a travel consultant really worth it or should I just book online with some travel booking site?" Well, let me ask you this....... when you are looking to purchase a house, do you do it by yourself? Do you cross your fingers and hope that there's nothing wrong with the house before you buy it or do you hire a real estate agent to look out for your best interests? Could you imagine purchasing a house and not having a thorough house inspection done and HOPING that everything works out in the end? I hope not!!! You hire someone you know is going to get you a good deal and that knows the business inside and out. That is their job.
To me, booking a vacation with an online booking site instead of using a travel consultant is just like buying a house without a real estate agent. You book the vacation, cross your fingers and HOPE that the resort looks just like the one you saw in the pictures and that all of the reviews you read really are true. Unfortunately, many of those reviews that you spent HOURS reading are written by people who have never even been to the resort.
Does an online booking site make sure that all of your documents have been sent to you before you leave? NOPE. Does an online booking site contact you while you are on your vacation to make sure things are going well? NOPE. Is an online booking site available to you 24/7 while on vacation to TALK to you instead of you getting a machine? NOPE.
Before I became a travel consultant, I too booked my vacations online in the hopes that the resort/place I was looking at was going to be just like what it was in the pictures. I spent HOURS reading trip advisor reviews and would become SO frustrated because I never knew if the people writing them were actually telling the truth or if they were exaggerating a lot of their information. I would have so much anxiety not knowing how my vacation was going to be because I couldn't really talk to someone who had already been there in person. Unfortunately, many of my vacations were not at all like the pictures they were portrayed in. I learned the hard way. You don't have to.
If you want to quickly jump online and book a one-night stay in a hotel, by all means, go ahead; online booking engines are great for that. If, however, you are looking for a travel EXPERIENCE, than please use a travel consultant!
I am truly passionate about travel. I am a firm believer in providing first hand knowledge to my clients about their chosen destination. When I travel to a resort, I am adamant about making sure the aspects of the resort will be great for my clients. Does that make me a picky guest? YES. Absolutely. I want the best for my clients. I want them to know that when I give them a recommendation for a resort, I stand behind it. If I haven't traveled to a resort my clients wish to go to then you better believe I am going to communicate with other consultants who have stayed at that property (not online reviews) so I can feel confident about recommending it.
Can an online booking site say the same thing.............. NOPE.
You be the judge.