We have gone through the great revolution from the old days, when everything needed to be booked over a phone call or personal visit, to the new, when a few minutes online can connect you with almost anything you could want or need. But, like with all revolutions, we tend to throw out the baby with the bathwater and forget that there are times when older methods are simply a better fit for the need.
But how can you know which is best?
When it comes to travel, simple trips are simpler to arrange online, whether that is through an automated online service, or through your travel agency’s business site or app (which usually means more guarantees and services).
The more complex travel gets, however, the more useful it can be to have someone on the other end of the phone, not just booking through an algorithm, but actually thinking through your needs and devising the best way to get you where you need to be. Trying to book a trip from London, to Paris, to Miami and back to London, for example, is asking a lot of an automated service, especially since the options and variables multiply exponentially with each leg of the journey. Add to this a tight schedule, a tight budget, or special travel needs and online booking simply isn’t a good fit.
Match Your Priorities
If your priority is speed, for example, a more expensive option might get you there faster. Last-minute bookings are also easier through an agency. Or, if your priority is thrift, then something else might work out cheaper. If you need special meals, seating or accessibility options, booking online can make it difficult or even impossible to ensure your needs are covered.
That’s when a phone call can make all the difference.
In cases of more complex travel, your travel expert can list your needs and destinations, however complex or detailed, and then work through an itinerary that fulfils everything you need it to – speed, budget, timing, or special requests. Because an agency deals with many clients, it is seen as a high-volume purchaser and can get through to airlines, hotels and other services far more effectively than the general public can. Any specific requests or assurances you need before travelling are therefore best gathered by a travel agent. It’s more effective, and it saves you time and hassle.
No mention of current travel needs would be complete these days without some mention of COVID-19. This new reality makes social distancing, cleanliness and safety a matter of life and death – not just preference. Your travel expert will know what the current advice is regarding COVID safety and will make sure that your trip conforms to (or exceeds) that guidance. Since rules vary from region to region, and can change rapidly as new data comes in, it is also important to have someone knowledgeable about regional differences and recent changes. Meon Valley Travel staff have access to specialist software which gives us the latest detailed travel advice. In this way, you stay safe, informed, and able to adapt to new rules and situations.
Online booking for simple travel can be quick and painless, and we should all keep doing it, just ensure you adhere to any internal travel policies so you don’t end up out of pocket. The safest way to book travel is through a travel management company site or app, but if you don’t have one currently stick to company policy or email us for a demo of the software available to you and your organisation. If you have more complex needs though, or your trip is more than just a round trip flight and a night in a standard hotel, then a detailed email or phone call to your travel expert is the right way to go.
If Meon Valley Travel is your go-to expert, don’t hesitate to ask for the personal touch – we’re waiting to help you.