There are many personal reasons that web visitors are returning to independent and personal travel agents, however, two reasons, are fairly common and can be found in major forums, blogs and message boards.
The number one reason travelers are returning to travel agents is because of the horrify stories that are found online. Usually the story goes like this; Web visitor sees a good deal, reads most of the travel information about the travel package, takes out his credit card and books the vacation. Only to find out once they reach their destination, that the room that was to be ocean side is actually in the corner of the hotel and does not have a full view of the ocean at all. Individual goes to the front desk to inquiry about the ocean front accommodations and is told that the hotel is booked, and a room change is NOT possible.
In an effort to save his/her vacation they return to their room and make the best of the accommodations which were given to them.
Except when this traveler is ready to book his/her travel in the future, they seek out a travel professional, rather than a web site. Plus, they share their story online, with friends and family, and of course the neighbors, who then also think hard and long before a major vacation without the help of a travel professional.
The second major group of travelers which are moving towards travel professionals never really left the travel agents in the first place. This is the group who want to take a cruise and are not sure of all of the particulars when booking a cruise.
This group of travelers often look for the online deals and then call their travel agent to see if the deals can be matched. And many times, they cannot. Why, because the large travel sites purchase in bulk and can discount cruises in ways that smaller agencies can not.
Regardless of the money saved, when travelers are putting out $2,500 for two, for a 10 day cruise, they don’t mind paying a little extra for in order to avoid confusion when booking a cruise, which is very easy to do, especially if you aren’t familiar with the ship.
The third reason, that many travelers are not aware of, for booking with a travel professional is the most important reason to book with a travel agent. Can you say payment plan? The online sites don’t usually offer this option. It is pay the entire cost, right now, or forget it. Not so when booking with a travel professional. You can put a minimum down and pay the balance 90 or 60 days before departure in most cases. (Plus you can get the early bird booking specials and upgrades)
Monthly payments, especially when taking a major cruise, are not only acceptable, but encouraged. And now that the cruise industry has added land value tours in conjunction with the cruises, you can tour half of Europe before departing on a cruise for the Turkey, the Holy Land and Egypt, or Greece.
And of all the reasons given, the automatic payment plan that an experienced travel professional can provide to you, is in my opinion, is one of the best reasons to use a travel professional when booking major travel. It’s called monetary options. (The exception to the above suggestions is, the cheapest airfares can usually be found online)