Thanks to the internet, booking airline tickets is not just convenient, it is cheap. The demand for cheap air is enormous but there is no shortage of supply on the part of cheap air providers online. It seems like every day, a new cheap air travel website is being launched and we can literally shop for cheap air fare until we drop.
Last minute deals, coupon codes, and other time sensitive discounts – these are just to look for if we travel a lot. Even if the website is an air consolidator or the official site of an airline, there will be deals lying within the site. The competition is huge and the air providers need our business.
Booking Online vs Booking with a Travel Agent
If you are just going from W to X and you are just staying in a Y hotel and renting a Z car, then book your travel online. On the other hand, if you are going to multiple destinations, have particular demands, baggage questions, passport issues, and anything that is beyond online booking, then by all means, book with a travel agent.
Even at this age of on-site do-it-yourself booking, a travel agent is still a reputable occupation. Travel agents have access to information and resources that are not accessible to the public. They work with a CLIA or IATA number. This number authorizes them to connect with travel suppliers, whether online or offline.
People tend to lean more on online travel sites because they do not only offer cheap air but they also offer expediency. When we book online, we are on our own and everything is in our judgment and decision. In return, we don’t have to deal with anyone on a personal basis.
When we book with a travel agent, the transaction becomes a personal matter. Since we are dealing with a person rather than a cold machine, we have to deal with thoroughness, courtesy, and tact, all of which characterize a personal transaction. Even if there is no obligation to the quote the travel agent is making; the asking person fully understands that the agent makes a diligent effort and therefore should reciprocated by either booking or declining with appropriate thanks.
Cost to Operate a Travel Agency
All travel agencies, including cheap air websites, pay a great deal of money in order to operate. Each state regulates selling of travel and there are requirements that involve serious cost. Depending on the state, a travel agency has to pay tens of thousands of dollars upfront to do business. And not only that, there’s the annual insurance, the on-site flight search engine, the website that must have sufficient bandwidth so the site can be accessed by thousands of people at the same time – all these are high maintenance.
No wonder travel agencies online that recruits people to be travel agents require rather expensive membership fees. In return people who sign up get to have a travel booking site where they just have to drive visitors to the site to make sales. But this is rather difficult. For a year, I was affiliated with a travel agency before and had to quit because I could not get enough sales and ended up paying the support fee month after month without seeing any return. Once I quit, I found out that the total fees I paid to the travel agency are much greater than the commissioned I earned in all of the time I was affiliated with the travel agency. I am not including the cost I spent on marketing materials which if I did, would mean I earned a hundred and lost three hundred dollars in the process. Simply put, it’s not worth it.
Online Cheap Air Is Worth It
Cheap online air fare is just there for the taking, we just have to grab them. We can book not only flights, hotels, and cars, but we can book cruises, vacations, and tours using cheap air providers.