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Why more and more travellers are visiting a travel agent when planning a trip

IT’S safe to say that the post-pandemic chaos that characterised the travel industry has left many travellers a little spooked. And understandably so. From staff shortages and lost luggage to cancelled flights and overbooked planes, many who went on trips in the last year or two experienced some kind of disruption or delay.

As such, the 2024 traveller is a far more cautious planner than the pre-pandemic traveller. One side effect of this new cautionary approach is that consumers are increasingly opting to visit a travel agency before heading on holiday. Holiday seekers and business travellers alike want the assurance and access to the expertise travel agents offer. Importantly, they don’t want to deal with the complexity that often comes with planning a trip. And the numbers confirm this. Recent research shows that around 50% of travellers are more likely to use an agent today than they were in the past.

Here are a few reasons why visiting a travel agent still makes sense.

#1 It’s their job is to step in when things go wrong

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Let’s face it, there are so many variables when planning a holiday and, thus, there are so many things that can go wrong. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that unexpected things do happen and that your plans can very easily be derailed. This means the additional layer of security offered by a travel agent is invaluable. Should a delayed flight cause you to miss your connection, your travel agent will make sure that you secure a seat on the next available departure. Or if an airline strike means that you’re stuck in a foreign country, it’s your agent’s responsibility to ensure that you are refunded for any additional expenses.

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#2 They understand visa requirements better than you do

If you’re travelling internationally with a South African passport, you’ll know that navigating complex visa requirements is part and parcel of booking a trip. But just because we’re accustomed to these processes doesn’t make it any easier, especially because visa requirements change all the time. While most can fumble along and figure it out, enlisting the help of a travel agent can make the process a lot simpler. This is especially true because they will have the most up-to-date information around things like visa requirements, costs, and how far in advance you need to submit your application, among other things.

#3 They have expert knowledge about the best locations and best deals

A good travel agent will have more knowledge about different packages and destinations than the average consumer. As such, they can help consumers find the best deal for the best price. This level of personalised service is invaluable given the fact that there are so many options out there, which can make it tricky to find what you’re really looking for. Based on the information they are given, agents can hunt down flights, hotels and activities that match the customer’s specific preferences and requirements.

#4 They can (sometimes) get you exclusive deals

Because travel agents have so many connections across the industry, it’s not uncommon for them to be able to negotiate a special rate or an exclusive deal for a customer. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a discount or a deal that isn’t available elsewhere?

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More and more, consumers are turning to travel agents to help them plan their trips. Sure, the industry has taken a dip in recent years but, today, agencies are thriving and it’s because they continue to do what they’ve always done, which is handling the things that travellers can’t or don’t want to do.

  • Kirby Gordon, is the Chief Marketing Officer at FlySafair

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By KIRBY GORDON

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