When we receive competing quotes from different agents around the country, we collate them according to a range of criteria that include aspects such as price competitiveness, suitability, proximity etc. We narrow the choices down to the top three submissions which are then emailed to you for consideration. Once you have chosen the quote that you wish to proceed with, we reveal the successful agents’ identity to you as the buyer, and your identity to the agent as seller. Remember, we don’t reveal your identity or contact details prior to this in order to preserve your anonymity and to ensure that you don’t get inundated with unsolicited offers into the future. Once you and the successful agent have been matched together, you then proceed to complete the subsequent transaction in the normal manner by means of credit card, bank draft, cheque etc.
There is none. The TravelBug website has been created as a kind of digital marketplace where prospective travellers and travel agents touting for business can be matched up for both parties benefits. You still pay the travel agent whose services you elect to retain. They still make the margin that they would usually make. The difference to you, the consumer, is that we give you access to many more agents than you could reasonably expect to source and/or contact under normal circumstances and without little or none of the hassle that such an undertaking would involve. In short, Travel Bug is really just about hooking up buyers (You) with sellers (travel agents) in as simple and straightforward a process as possible and — most importantly — without introducing any additional level of cost to the process!
It depends on the nature of the enquiry that you’re seeking a quote for. If you are planning to undertake a two-week fly-drive across California and Nevada for example, you might find that 20 or more agents might want to quote for that business as it is an area of the world in which a lot of agents would have expertise whereas, if you wanted to undertake a tour of South America, perhaps just six or seven agents will quote.
The turnaround time for a quote will depend entirely on the nature of the quote itself. Obviously, the more complex or out of the ordinary the itinerary, the longer it will take to compile and review all the necessary information in order to ensure that the client is being provided with the most comprehensive and value-for-money quote possible. In general, you should allow up to 48hours, if the quote is submitted during a weekday — a little longer if the quote is submitted to the site over the course of a weekend. Enquiries that are submitted through the website receive an automatic acknowledgement.
Given the nature of travel, it is inevitable that things will go wrong from time to time despite everyone’s best efforts to avoid them in the first place. In such instances, you will receive the 24/7 service and assistance that traditional travel agents have always been renowned for and for which victims of the Icelandic Ash Cloud became eternally grateful for in 2010. You will certainly not be left to fend for yourself which is the fate that befalls thousands of travellers each year who have made their travel arrangements directly with a low cost carrier or other such online entity.
Like all good travel agents, we will never sell on price alone but rather on what we feel represents the best value for money available at the time and based on the criteria of the quote. Cheapest does not necessarily represent best!
The management of Travel Bug/Travel Centres have over 70 years combined expertise managing travel companies such as travel agencies, tour operators, consortiums and GSA’s both here and abroad. The founder of Travel Bug, Dominic Burke, is a Fellow of the Institute of Travel and Tourism and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in Ireland.
Traditional bricks and mortar travel agents depend almost totally on repeat business so it is always in their best interests to ensure that they get the best deal for their clients. In addition to automatically checking all the usual websites known to consumers, they will also cross-compare pricing with the airlines’ own inventories using global distribution systems such as Galileo, Amadeus or Worldspan. They also have access to airline consolidators that you’ve never heard of; global bed banks that give them access to hotel, villa and apartment rates numbering in the tens of thousands in addition to special offers, tactical campaigns and distressed inventory that even the most savvy of consumers will never, ever hear about.
Travel Centres/TravelBug is a B2B (business-to-business) operation, located in the sunny south-east of Ireland. We do not deal directly with the general public but rather act as a facilitator whereby prospective travellers can be connected with the travel agent whose skill set most appropriately matches their travel needs/requirements.
All other websites utilise booking engines and/or ‘white label’ solutions from third party providers such as airlines, cruise companies etc. Whilst the technology they feature certainly streamlines the booking process, it is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Such websites tend to be suitable for straightforward ‘out of the box’ travel requirements whereas if what you want to do is a little bit out of the ordinary, you invariably find yourself returning to a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ agent for a traditional consultation. Travel Bug has been designed to merge the 24/7 accessibility of the Internet with the personal, bespoke hand-holding that you tend to get from a traditional travel agent so that you can enjoy the best of both worlds. In short, Travel Bug is probably most suited to those who wish to book something that is complicated, expensive or just out of the ordinary, although we’re quite happy to deal with the more down to earth stuff as well!