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Pros & cons of booking online vs. with a consultant

Along with the growth of all kinds of internet businesses, online sites selling various travel services have been increasing in popularity in recent years. Hence, one of the first decisions that have to be made when planning a trip is: do I put the trip together myself or use the services of a professional travel consultant to do that?

We often hear that online reservation systems are now so efficient that all purchases can be made on the internet, and travel agencies are redundant. People tend to forget that a web page does not function on its own and there is always a travel agency behind every online portal. An IT-system is only a tool. As Estravel also offers its clients both options: we try to help in making this important decision and we give you the pluses and minuses of both travel planning options.

The biggest advantage of an online selling environment is the lower price that is achieved thanks to the low costs of maintaining a portal. Seasoned travellers also value the options offered by the online portals such as a function to compare prices, read the opinions of other travellers and make a reservation quickly.

The strongest minus of an online selling environment is the vast amount of information, in which a less experienced client can get lost. A low-cost online environment usually does not give the option of asking for advice and help. On many online environments, there is no simple way to change travel plans or correct them if something goes wrong with a reservation. We often meet clients that do not know where to get help if they have problems with travel services purchased from foreign online portals.

The biggest advantage of a traditional travel agency is convenience and saved time: instead of hours spent on searching for information on your own, a professional travel consultant will offer the best travel solutions and help to find the right piece of information from the large array of information. A travel consultant not only assists during the time of reserving a trip and the trip itself but also provides help and support in the event of potential problems. Estravel supports its clients 24/7.

The minus of a traditional travel agency is the service charge that is usually a bit higher than the margin of online sales environments. However, this is not always the case because an experienced travel consultant is often able to find cheap travel options that online portals do not automatically offer.

In summary: while a traditional travel agency gives a higher sense of security, online sales portals give a small saving.

Hence, we recommend that you use online travel agencies if

  • you are a seasoned traveller who is ready to accept higher risks for a lower price;
  • you plan a simple trip from one point to another that does not require using different airlines and means of transport;
  • you have a good command of foreign languages and you can represent your own interests.

We recommend that you use a traditional travel agency if:

  • you are a client who lacks travel experience and may need advice and help in their mother tongue during the trip;
  • you plan a more complex trip involving various means of transport or airlines where you may experience unexpected problems;
  • you prefer comfort and security while travelling over a little saving.