Travel Agent Rates ‐ What You Need to Know
Good travel agent rates are one of the top reasons both new and seasoned travelers choose to book their trips via an agent or agency. Of course, they also benefit from the travel agent’s experience and expertise, ability to research and network, 24/7 access in case any problems arise, and general knowledge regarding the specifics of the destination. But the ability of an agent to access great deals and rates is often the biggest draw. Here’s some information regarding travel agent rates and what you need to know when you go to book your next trip.
The Ins and Outs of Travel Agent Rates
Great travel agent rates stem from the fact that many are affiliated with organizations that have huge buying power in the travel market. Thus, they are able to access deeply discounted products and, after taking their commission, pass on those savings to their clientele. Since travel agents have access to the same tools as large online travel retailers, they are typically able to match or beat any Internet prices, often with the added bonus of the personalized customer service most agencies offer. Further, since many travel agents have strong networks, particularly in the destination markets that are their specialty, they often have access to exclusive deals, offering the traveler unique opportunities and travel experiences.
What Extra Fees You Can Expect
The most consistent fee across travel agencies and independent agents is the cost of booking an airline ticket. Generally, travel agents work off of small commissions paid by travel suppliers, resulting in a free service for the consumer. However, airlines no longer pay these commissions, leading to the assessment of a small fee per ticket to cover the time and expense of putting together that reservation. You also need to be aware that some agencies charge additional fees if you need to make any changes to the reservation or cancel the trip. By knowing what fees you may be charged, you can choose an agency that best fits into your budget and travel needs.
- Be sure you use an agent who processes your payment directly through the travel supplier. You don’t want the agency to be holding your payment in its own accounts. A good travel agent rate isn’t worth it if your money ends up getting caught up in an agency’s cash flow difficulties.
- Make sure the agency is bonded and insured. Things happen, and you want to be sure the travel agency you choose has recourse to resolve any issues that do occur so you can recoup your losses.