Are Travel Agents Still Relevant?

These days, travel agents and journalists share a common problem: no one wants to pay for what they can get online, free.

Travelers board for an international flight, whether they booked themselves or through
a travel agent is unknown. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

When the general public has the necessary electronic solutions at their disposal, it can be hard to justify the expense of seeking out a professional for the job. People get their news from Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Or, they go on news websites and get the content free, without even having to walk out to the newspaper box.

Travel is slightly trickier business. If you book your airline ticket and hotel reservation yourself, no one, it seems, is looking out for you. And this is one aspect of online booking that travel agents have grabbed hold of, with the hopes of holding on to the customer base they have and gaining market share: when all hades breaks loose on your trip of a lifetime, you presumably want someone in your corner to help out. A real person.

Travelers wait at the airport to board their flight. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

I’ve planned trips both with agents and without. I’ve never had a problem either way. But hiring an agent might have saved me some time and research. Likewise booking myself could have saved me some money.

Now it’s your turn to weigh in. 

What do you think? Are travel agents still relevant? Why or why not? If not, what travel sites do you find protect the traveler? And, if you’re a travel agent, why do travelers still need you?

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Charish Badzinski is an explorer, foodie and award-winning travel and food writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog: Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World, she applies her worldview to her small business, providing strategic communications, media relations and writing support to individuals and organizations. 

Find Charish on Twitter: @charishb
Creative Commons License
Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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