Go your way, step by step: guided tours help you get the most out of your travel experience.
The internet has made it possible for anyone to book travel online. There are dozens of websites that compare airfares, hotel rates, car rentals, and other services that the traveler needs. It is very tempting to assume that you can save money by booking your trip yourself rather than using a travel agent because the travel agent charges a fee for his or her services. Cut out the middleman and save.
One of the early movers in the online booking business was Travelocity, a subsidiary of American Airlines. As far back as 1978, American began offering access to its electronic booking system to customers, allowing them to make reservations themselves without the intervention of travel agents or airline personnel. The system was a hit, and was followed by many other competitors like Orbitz and Expedia. These online sites are still popular.
However, the business of booking travel remains strong and travel agents still book the vast majority of cruises and package tours. There are many reasons for this, and learning about the advantages of using a travel agent is knowledge that anyone planning their next trip could use. Here are some reasons why a good travel agent can save you time, money and stress:
1. Booking travel is their business. You only do it once in a while.
If your trip only involves getting away for a weekend to a place you already know, booking it yourself is pretty straightforward. However, when the vacation is something special, a place you have never been before and may never see again, it is the travel agent who knows how to get you there and back in the most comfortable way that suits your particular needs. The agent also knows the hotels, local customs, best sights to see, and dozens of other little details that can make the difference between a trip you will always remember fondly and one which will leave you thinking that you should have seen something you missed or experienced a bit of local color that you didn’t know about until too late.
2. Recommendations for experiences you didn’t know existed
Booking the flight and the car and the hotel is just part of the work involved in planning the perfect vacation. What makes a trip special is having a unique experience. It’s why most of us travel. Trying to research all of the offerings available can be even more time consuming than sorting through all of the websites to get the best deal. Even so, it is very hard to compare one experience with another, and many are not advertised on the internet. In fact, most of the hidden jewels that an unknown place has to offer will not be on the internet…..that’s why they are hidden jewels. But your travel agent knows people who have been there before, lots of people, and can steer you towards a place that will make your trip extra special.
3. Travel agents are your friend in the business
Airlines are notoriously unreliable, hotel rooms can be a disappointment, the driver for your safari may not show up, or you could have an unforeseen circumstance requiring a last minute change of plans. In a foreign country. Where you don’t speak the language. All of these things happen in the best planned vacations, and if you booked the trip yourself you are on your own. With a travel agent, you have an advocate who knows how to solve these problems because he or she has seen them before. Your agent also sends a lot of business to these service providers, and when they get a call from someone who represents a big chunk of their income, they listen. They are much more interested in maintaining a good relationship with your travel agent than they are with you. You, on the other hand, could waste an entire precious day of your vacation just getting to the right person, who may not find it worth his or her time to deal with you.
4. Travel agents know about deals and perks that you will never find
One of the benefits of having established relationships with other professionals in the tourism business is that they tell you things they don’t tell just anyone. Whether it is access to places that don’t have any more tickets open to the general public, getting discounts or upgrades on accommodations and passage, knowing who the best safari guides are, and other things that require intimate, local knowledge of the place you are visiting, the travel agent is the person most likely to hear about it. After all, people who make their living in the tourism business find it much more efficient to tell the agents they deal with and allow the agents to pass the word along to their clients.
5. The more complicated your itinerary, the more important a travel agent becomes.
One of the reasons that travel agents dominate the package tour business is because putting these tours together is complicated business. Coordinating flights with reliable hotels, guides, museums and special events can be difficult. If you are arriving in the high season or when a big sporting event or festival is in town, it can take months’ of advance planning to make everything happen. Your travel agent has already done all of this legwork. He or she started planning your vacation months or even a year or more in advance. Proper coordination is a huge factor in ensuring that you get to see and do all of the things that you want in the limited amount of time that you have.
6. There is a specialist for practically every vacation
Tourists have a lot of choices, and people at tourist destinations work hard to differentiate themselves from other locales. This means a wider variety of offerings, whether they be local color, archaeology or art, or guided excursions to other unique places. As the offerings become more specialized, travel agents who do a lot of business in those areas become more and more valuable for their expertise in helping you plan that trip so you get the most out of it. If you need a local expert, your travel agent already has that person’s phone number and a relationship that will get you perks you couldn’t get otherwise.
One such specialist is Lanka Tours and Travel, located in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Lanka Tours offers packages for travel in Sri Lanka and several countries in the region, and have won several awards for their outstanding customer service and quality.
Lanka has years’ of experience packaging complete vacation tour packages for buddhist pilgrimages in India and Nepal, tours to Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore and Malaysia. Packages range from 3 days to 2 weeks or more, and are all inclusive, from the time you arrive at the airport until you get home.
Booking with Lanka Tours means you will have the benefit of expert guides, safe and reliable ground transportation, access to shrines that are often difficult to see, and the chance to enjoy the people, culture and scenery of some of the most pristine and unusual places on earth. Whether you want to see untouched beaches, the breathtaking peaks of the Himalayas, ancient temples, or walk in the footsteps of Siddhartha, Lanka Tours can arrange it so that you make the most of your trip while saving time, money and stress.
Typical itineraries with Lanka Tours include all airport transfers, ground transportation with English speaking drivers to and from your hotels, meals, guided tours and cultural experiences that will make your trip special. In Malaysia you can ride the spectacular Genting cable car, in Sri Lanka you can see shrines from ancient civilizations, in Myanmar you can visit one of the least visited countries on earth, Thailand offers the bustle of Bangkok and a safari in one trip, and India and Nepal are unforgettable as the cradle of Buddhism and one of the world’s most diverse regions.
Because of its commitment to continuous quality improvement, Lanka Tours and Travel has been selected to receive the BID International Star Award for Quality for 2015 at the convention in Geneva.
About BID and the International Star Award for Quality:
BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries.
The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level.
Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.