Thursday, August 5, 2010

Burundi Access Offers Advice on Travel Agents

Burundi Access is a simple website that offers booking facilities for tourists interested in traveling to Burundi. Here is their take on why the tourism industry should not solely rely on the internet for bookings....

How is the Internet affecting the travel industry?

The Internet has helped transform the travel industry. It helps educate the consumer by providing vast amounts of information about destinations and different travel options. Both consumers and travel professionals have benefited from the Internet, which makes the possibility of travel to exotic places more imaginable. It has helped consumers see in full color and, in some cases, real time, where they would like to visit. The Internet gives travelers the ability to do comparative shopping for attractive deals or packages. It also has helped many travel agencies, hotels, resorts and other travel-related suppliers flourish by bringing in business through Web sites

What are the benefits of using a travel agent compared to the Internet?

The Internet can be a powerful tool. It can increase the scope and reach of a consumer’s efforts and allow a person to check hundreds of options or research destinations in depth.
But to make the Internet work effectively, a person has to understand where to look and what questions to ask, otherwise hours can be wasted surfing the Web and ultimately produce unsatisfactory results. This is where a travel agent can make a world of difference.
A professional travel agent is trained to guide a client through the entire process of planning a trip, whether for business or for leisure. Travel agents take classes, participate in seminars, become destination specialists and join professional associations, in order to ensure they make each client’s travel experience as personalized, convenient and memorable as possible.
When planning a business trip or family vacation, the Internet can be a valuable resource, but it cannot replace the expertise and guidance of a travel agent. Also, during travel crises, the Internet can’t replace a human being who will persist to help a client. Travel agents, meanwhile, can offer a myriad of intermediate options.

Will the Internet replace the need for travel agents?

There are some things technology cannot replicate, and personal touch is one of them. The Internet is a valuable resource, but it cannot replace the expertise, guidance and personal service of a travel agent.
At a time when travelers are stressed out with hectic schedules, travel agents have all of the information at their fingertips, saving valuable hours of surfing on the Web. Agents also can offer insider tips generally based on personal experience.

Why should I use a travel agent?

Today, with the overwhelming number of sources for travel information (the Internet, cable television, newspapers, magazines, guidebooks, etc.), it’s no wonder the consumer is confused. Yet that is precisely why the services of a professional travel consultant are more valuable than ever.
People know travel agents beat consumers at uncovering the best airfares.
It is much more than the "lowest fare" that provides the compelling argument for a good travel agent. The best thing an agent can do is to match up travelers with the vacation that’s right for them.

The professional travel consultant builds relationships with their clients to learn their interests and lifestyles, as well as their dispositions. Below is a list of some of the important services, which are either provided free or for a nominal charge, by travel agents :

1.Distilling the product information:

Through an on-going and time-consuming process of familiarization, continuing education and customer feedback, the agent becomes a travel expert.

2. Investigating and supplying competitive information:

No single supplier is going to advise a consumer that a better route or a better fare is available on a competing carrier.

3.Staying abreast of the most current and timely promotions:

Via daily faxes, agent-only e-mail transmissions, and their relationships with their district sales managers, agents are obtaining the most current promotional information.

4.Analyzing the current promotions:

The cheapest is not always the best.

5. Clarifying the fine print, such as cancellation penalties and restrictions:

Again, the benefits of a professional’s experience can save traveler money . . . and headaches.

6. Simplifying the research and subsequent transaction:

Like a personal shopper, agents can provide one-stop shopping for travelers who require air arrangements, rental cars, cruise accommodations and hotel stays - with suggestions that are in the best interest of the client, not the supplier.

7. Enhancing the trip with value-added benefits and amenities:

Agents can add to the client’s experience by sending a bottle of wine, providing a special land package, a specific escort or other customer amenities.

8. Using their clout to obtain the best possible in seemingly impossible situations:

Whether it’s airline seats, hotel rooms or cruise space, the travel agent has more buying power than the consumer.

9. Getting problems resolved:

The agent serves as the consumer’s advocate in the event something inadvertently goes wrong. The use of outside service providers for many transactions, such as tax preparation, isn’t questioned. Similarly, if one is going to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars, as well as a good chunk of valuable leisure time, it makes great sense to use a professional.

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