SO YOU’RE GOING ON A HOLIDAY?
MAKE SURE IT’S SEAMLESS
With the advent of the internet, a big change has taken place in the way of life of many people. In the area of travel, one needs only to Google a place he plans to visit and in an instant he gathers enough information regarding which hotel and resort is best to stay, places of interest that are must to see, souvenir items to bring from there, restaurants that are must to try, and many other important things to know to make the trip to that place exciting and memorable. Equally important, from the internet you can already plot your route and decide which kind of transportation most economical and practical to take to get there. One can check on the best schedules that will optimize your 3D2N or 4D3N stay for that matter and find the best airline or fast ferry companies to take. You can have all the information in your hand that will make it easy and convenient for anyone even if it is the first time for you to travel in that place. Does this spell the end of the travel and tours operators and agencies? I believe no.
In fast developing tourist destination like Cebu, Bohol, and Palawan travel agencies are sprouting like mushrooms. Many are starting to operate new businesses even without yet the accreditation from the Department of Tourism which is supposed to be a basic requirement before one can engage in creating travel packages for Bohol, Cebu, Palawan, Davao, Cagayan de Oro. This is clearly an indication that contrary to the proposition that because of the internet, tours and travel agencies are disappearing the opposite is what is happening.
What are the most common and practical reasons why a traveler/tourist should engage the services of travel agencies and tour operators even in this “age of the internet”?
…Because your time is important. Leave the planning to the experts and just relax and enjoy your time
First and foremost, people go on a vacation to relax and recharge. To get away from the everyday stress they are subjected in the work place. A 4D3N get away in a remote island in Bohol or Palawan can reinvigorate a weakened spirit. Lazying in the powdery white beaches surrounded by crystal blue waters in Coron or Balicasag Islands far away from the cement jungles of Metro Manila for example, and then snorkeling and fish feeding and swimming can certainly renew ones physical and mental vigor . Yet not all persons are adventurous and daring to “do it yourself” this type of vacation in remote places. Most need the assurance and confidence that the trip they are embarking is as hassle free as possible. This is where travel agencies and operators come in.
The expertise to package the tours to optimize the time of the tourist and to be able to meet and assist at points of entry and to be able to have someone to call to talk to along the way in case some concerns crop up is a great confidence booster for the traveler. Also, to be confident that the boatmen, the drivers, the guides, are under the supervision of a travel agency, gives a lot of assurance that there will be no fooling around with the services being rendered, no short cuts. That charges of the services are what is originally agreed upon before the start of the tour and no more hassle of negotiations for the rates. As far as bookings with resorts are concerned, the tourist is assured that travel agencies will see to it that before arrival the rooms are secured and set aside as booked. Many pension houses/resorts employ reservation officers who are here today and gone tomorrow and messes up booking arrangements. In all likelihood Travel agencies will reduce this risk because they have a systematic way of monitoring their bookings which individual travelers likely take for granted.
…Because you want to get your money’s worth; and travel agencies can give you good discounts on hotels and tour arrangements
Contrary to the popular belief that it will be more expensive to go through travel agencies because of huge mark-ups, you can actually get more value if otherwise. Travel agencies have special rate arrangements with hotels and resorts. They can share such discounts and savings to you. This way, cost of accommodation will go lower than what you can get via online sites and hotel rates consolidators.
When the hotels and tours are packaged together, you get the rates cheaper than when you book the hotel on your own and then book the tour separately (usually at the last minute). We’ve had many guests who regretted going to us only when after they have booked their hotels. Too bad for them sometimes, because they mistakenly think that the first price they see online is the price they are going to pay. They forget that when they click to the very end, there are still taxes and service fees which are not charged upfront, precisely to lure them into booking straight away. Worse, they fail to read the fine prints and find out that some online bookings for hotels and resorts exclude breakfast. When they do decide to eat at their hotel’s restaurant and pay the bill, they realize the painful truth that the D-I-Y route can actually be costly compared to taking time out to talk to people who can hear out what they need.
…Because when there are hitches on your trip, you want them solved, PRONTO. You can easily call on the ground experts; not a call center who will pass you around and promise to get back to you “as soon as possible”
With all due respect to the call center agents who follow office protocol—nothing compares to getting to talk to the one in charge and who can act on your concerns right away. These are the travel agencies and tour operators who are familiar with the field, and can easily find solutions to your concerns. Imagine getting a flat tire during your tour; or your boat during island hopping conking out. You would want solutions right away. If you booked your tours online and just clicked away without having to talk to a human being, how do you expect your problems to be solved? Definitely not through mere clicking.
…Because service with a human touch is irreplaceable
Travel agencies and tour operators will be here to stay inspite of the advancement of technology, because service with a human touch is irreplaceable.
This article is written by TONY ARANETA, Director of Green Earth Tours and Travel, Inc. Green Earth Tours and Travel is a Cebu-based travel agency which handles tours all over the Philippines and provides linkages to the best rates possible to Asian Cities, Europe and the Holy Land. Green Earth Tours and Travel is registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission and accredited by the department of tourism. To get in touch with Tony or any one from Team Green Earth, email email@example.com.