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Do people still use Travel Agents to book holidays?

(8 Posts)
paneer Thu 05-Feb-15 19:24:37

I mean real ones, where they have a shop that you go into.

Not talking about the Thomas Cook or Holiday Hypermarket kind of place, but the small independent ones.

Are they a lot more expensive, or just marginally more than if you sort it out yourself.

mummymeister Fri 06-Feb-15 09:31:58

My FIL in his 80's does and he always pays way over the odds and half the time they book him into hotels that are nothing like what he is looking for. Last time he told them a warm heated pool was a must, they booked him a hotel where TripAdvisors constant comment was that the pool looked lovely but was freezing. they also put him into family hotels when really he wants to be in elderly couple type ones. we keep trying to get him to let us help but he wont. he has always done it this way. IME, when I pull together the holiday myself I get the flights I want at the price and time I want and the accommodation through TA, VRBO homeaway etc is easy to find and easy to work out which is for you.

noramum Fri 06-Feb-15 12:10:57

It depends. We used one years ago because we did a guided tour through Thailand plus a couple of days at the beach and we couldn't get the whole deal on our own. The agent knew a lot, it is worth going to somebody who deals with these kind of trips, and made it possible to book everything without waiting for days for connecting flights.

We also used one this year for an AI trip but that was because it was virtually impossible to book the hotel room we wanted over the internet.

Even if I book via an Agent I would always get their recommendation and then look up the hotel on my own first.

rookiemere Fri 06-Feb-15 13:35:49

I wondered that as well.
I am guilty of going to travel agents and getting their advice and then booking it myself, because it's so much cheaper blush.

But the main reason is that they don't seem to listen to what you say, so we're planning a big trip to Canada and asked them to price it up for us with the key criteria that we'd like to avoid sharing a standard hotel room with DS if at all possible - i.e. be in a suite or aparthotel, guess what they came back with?

I've also gone to them to ask for things that I found hard to track down on the internet, but they don't seem to have any more options that what I could find fairly readily.

I think they are a dying breed.

cococandyfloss Fri 06-Feb-15 14:30:39

My parents still use them and seem to get good deals and what they are after but I think my dad is probably quite specific with what he wants-there always seems to be brochures being delivered to his house!

I think nowadays we don't really trust that they can give us all the options or the best price so we tend to use tripadvisor and online sites -everyone has so much access to more information nowadays which is great on one hand but a total pain on the other.

I remember when we used to book our family holiday going by a quarter page pic in a brochure of a swimming pool -now I need to see every room of theproperty, the furnishings, read other people's reviews ,google earth the property etc etc.

Idratherbetheboss Fri 06-Feb-15 14:35:03

I do, have a great independent one local to me, they have always beaten Internet prices too

rookiemere Fri 06-Feb-15 16:13:30

I miss the days of getting your tickets sent out or going to pick them up from the travel agents. It really felt like a proper holiday rather than having to print your own.

MillyMollyMama Sun 08-Feb-15 00:34:17

I know someone who cannot seem to use the internet to research air fares and she goes to the travel agent to come up with flights. They are rarely the best available and even when I did the research for her, the travel agent said the only flight was one with a huge stop over! They had to be told which airline to look at!

I have found their knowledge of hotels poor. I have an independent one near me but they do not know anything about more unusual destinations. It is way better to do all the research yourself but see if they can get a cheaper deal at the hotels. They don't seem to get a better deal with the flights as far as I can see and can't even do the proper research.

We now tend to book our own flights but use a specialist company, Audley Travel, to put the holiday together for us. They have country specialists and stick to the brief but are not cheap. Some of our best holidays have been organised by them and they go the extra mile to please. We go to far flung destinations and putting a trip together would be time consuming if you did it all yourself. I agree the itinerary and always check the hotel comments on Trip Adv or Bookings.com and upgrade or change if by any chance somewhere else would suit us better. Audley, for example have great itineraries for Canada.

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