There is a vocal cohort of consumers out there who believe that they save money by not using a travel agent and whilst there are certainly certain, limited scenarios where that might be true, such claims tend to be somewhat disingenuous since they don’t compare like with like and what I mean by that is that they rarely factor in the time and effort that they expend in searching all the multiple websites that they explore when researching who they’re going to book their next trip with. If you’re going to compare apples with apples, at least acknowledge the fact that, if nothing else, using the services of a travel agent saves you your time and we can presumably attach a value to that!
Research in the US suggests that the average person spends between 10 and 20 hours researching their travel plans online. Expedia’s own research shows that online surfers visit 38 websites before finally booking something whilst Google’s own research labs have determined that consumers make 32 visits to 10 different websites before eventually booking something.
If we take the hourly rate of the average industrial wage in 2017, as documented by the Central Statistics Office which is €25.91 and multiply that by the lower figure mentioned above (i.e. 10 hours) that suggests that as soon as a consumer commits to placing their travel enquiry with a travel agent, they immediately save almost €260 in the time it would otherwise take them to arrive at the same booking decisions —or possibly even a less informed one! Since time is a finite resource for all of us, it should always be factored in for what its intrinsic monetary value is worth as otherwise, consumers are only conning themselves.
And that’s before the travel agent even gets started by comparing multiple options that perhaps the consumer hasn’t even thought of or was aware of — let alone the advantages that quickly become apparent when things go wrong such as flights being delayed or cancelled; hotels being overbooked or any one of hundreds of unforeseen circumstances that can bedevil even the most experienced and prepared of international travelers.
The most common premise for why many people avoid using a travel agent is because, by cutting out the ‘middleman’ they assume that they’re also cutting out a cost layer which will manifest itself in a lower price to them and whilst there are certainly some companies who do engage in that practice, they are, believe it or not, very much in the minority so most of the time, you do not enjoy lower pricing by going direct.