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Travel agents, booking sites, etc., Why?

DC
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Travel agents, booking sites, etc., Why?

Now, this question is obviously for the people that read this forum. At least a little internet savvy.

Why would you use a travel agent or booking site?

From what I've seen the savings are negligible. Why wouldn't you just book direct?

I've used Orbitz and other sites like that as well as Tripadvisor when visiting a city for the first time just to find out what's out there and what's available in terms of flights, hotels, etc. But I never book through them.

(The only exception, for me, is that I have used Priceline a few times when price was the only objective and I didn't really care where I stayed.)

Or am I wrong? Are the savings really that much more than booking direct?

Dayton, Ohio
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1. Re: Travel agents, booking sites, etc., Why?

Its all a matter of what is the best deal. Ive booked trips through both Hotel and Flights direct as well as booking through third party. For instance vegas.com for a package deal. Basically for me it is what is the best deal. Now a days you are probably gonna get the same price for flights as you would from a third party. in some cases you may get a code from some third party that may save you a few bucks, but in the end is a few bucks really worth it. I prefer booking direct now. I do the use third party sites when pricing room and flights.

Cortez, Colorado
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2. Re: Travel agents, booking sites, etc., Why?

It really depends on the situation... I have gone to a hotel's own site where they "guarantee the best rate" then gone to a travel site and gotten a rate more than 50% lower, and I got to know the name of the hotel before booking.

Recent example Laughlin River Palms April 28th-May3.... Walk up rate will be $64 ....Hotel own site $34..... Orbitz $28..... Hotels.com $15.67..... all rates were for "mountain view" and $10 more for "river view".

There really seems no rhyme or reason to it sometimes... once occupancy drops below a certain point you can find a bigger variety of rates than when occupancy is high.... during "slow" times in Vegas I have found that rates at the same hotel can vary $20-$50 on the same room on different sites.

There are other factors to consider like reward programs at the booking sites like hotels.com 10th night free program... if their rate is the same or close might as well book and get the free night.... do it with a hotel reward credit card like Hilton Hhonors and double up on free night points....

To answer your question... I always use a booking site... either the hotels own, or Hotels.com, Expedia, Priceline, Hotwire, I have an app in google chrome called Umbrella Holidays that looks through multiple sites to find the lowest rate (often through European sites like Venure)

The savings can be phenomenal by booking yourself through travel sites... and checking hundreds of them... I have often chatted with other guests in the hot tub, or waiting in line at the hotel restaurant and found out that I have often paid less than HALF what they did... just by booking myself and doing my homework.

I stay in hotels an average of 90 days per year, I get comped nights on about 12 of those nights.... and pay less than half the "walk up" rate on 90% of the rest.

Edited: 27 April 2013, 00:27
New York City, New...
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for Las Vegas
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3. Re: Travel agents, booking sites, etc., Why?

Like many things....it depends.

Sometimes booking all together (air plus hotel) is cheaper than booking separately.

there's no way to know for sure for your particular dates and locations, so it pays to check it both ways and see.

Of course, if you book directly with the hotel you can take advantage of price adjustments that you usually can't if you book a package, so that's something to consider.

RE: Travel agent, there are those who aren't comfortable booking for themselves, and just want someone else to handle the whole thing..

Michigan
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4. Re: Travel agents, booking sites, etc., Why?

The internet has made travel agents obsolete.

Carlsbad CA
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5. Re: Travel agents, booking sites, etc., Why?

"Now, this question is obviously for the people that read this forum." As opposed to the people who don't read this forum who therefore wouldn't be reading your post.

It's Friday and I'm in that kind of mood.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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6. Re: Travel agents, booking sites, etc., Why?

Sometimes travel agents can put together a great deal, better than you or I can get through the 'net.

I have a cruise-only travel agent who can get amazing deals on cruises, packaged with air fare (the cruise line buys a LOT of plane seats to its departure cities, and negotiates great deals) and a couple nights of pre/post-cruise hotels. She can get me a much better deal than I can do on my own, even using internet cruise agents. And she knows my cruise preferences (cruise lines, destinations, departure ports, etc.), so she presents me only with cruises that are likely to interest me.

I am happy to use this travel agent.

vancouver
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7. Re: Travel agents, booking sites, etc., Why?

shaun h and mikethebunny nailed it; using third party sites is sometimes just a better deal. Sometimes a lot better.

Re travel agents, I used to have no use for those. Thought they were dinosaurs. However I have learned they can be really useful. I tried booking an Air China flight YVR-PEK 8 day layover then on to DXB and return, no layover. Air China's site and agents gave me horrible prices. Every other site did as well but a travel agent put it together for me at a very low price.

Closer to home when booking hotels like the Four Seasons (including Las Vegas) or Fairmont using a Four Seasons Preferred Partner or Virtuoso travel agent can get you the best price and considerable added perks.

So yeah, always check all your options.

Newcastle, United...
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8. Re: Travel agents, booking sites, etc., Why?

To totally discount travel agents without checking what they offer because the 'Internet has made them obsolete' is stupid.

What if they can get a better deal?

Salem, OR
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9. Re: Travel agents, booking sites, etc., Why?

Price being equal I use my travel agent for certain trips because she is with AAA. I find I have less issues with things if businesses know I am a AAA member. Most businesses don’t want to go down in AAA ratings.

Edited: 27 April 2013, 08:17
Michigan
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10. Re: Travel agents, booking sites, etc., Why?

"To totally discount travel agents without checking what they offer because the 'Internet has made them obsolete' is stupid. What if they can get a better deal?"

I guess I meant to say there used to be 5 travel agents within a mile of my house that were there for many years now there are ZERO. The internet probably assisted all five in going out of business.