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Did you realize how many travelers spend hours upon hours of research to plan their vacations?  There is so much info out there that it can become just overwhelming.  This article may be a few years old, but it’s still relevant today.  My Vacation Lady  has been busier than every planning honeymoons and vacations for clients because planning a great vacation may just be too hard to do.

They Know More Than You Do!

By Mark Murphy
June 13, 2012 11:45 PM

The next time you think about booking a vacation, consider these facts: The search term “Caribbean Cruise” brings a return of 38,300,000 results  with headlines ranging from “75% Off” to “Cruises from $149.”

Choose the price offer from $149 and you’ll see a matrix of prices that don’t include the “$149” offer, but do include a Carnival offer from $229.  Go through the process to actually book that cabin and you’ll end up with a price for two that actually hits $595.40, a far cry from the $149 Google Adwords price that came up in search results.

It gets better when you scroll down to the bottom after entering all of your information to discover that “this stateroom has upper/lower (bunk) beds that do not convert to a king bed.” Frustrated yet?

Most consumers are frustrated as they start to grasp that booking travel on their own is not quite as simple as buying a book from Amazon.com. They realize that a deal isn’t exactly a deal, and they are unaware of many hidden costs that aren’t in the advertised prices. Resorts fees, change fees, fuel surcharges, baggage fees — the list goes on and on.

Sometimes consumers like to find that “great” deal on their own because they feel empowered by their ability to control their own destiny. They think, incorrectly, that they are saving money in the process. The confidence they exhibit takes a hit when they spend hours working out the details of their trip and grow more frustrated at the choices, lack of insight and logistics that have to be handled. That lack of confidence turns into a feeling of despair when they learn that they could have had someone handle all of this, at no additional cost to them, just by using a travel agent.

That’s right, most of the things a travel agent can do for consumers are paid by suppliers that see the value in using travel agents to connect with travelers. Why do they do this? It’s simply a more effective way of earning consumers’ business.  Travel supplier booked through a travel agent have no cost of sales associated with that transaction until after the consumer has booked, paid and traveled.

It’s strictly pay for performance and offers a tremendous value for suppliers.  Indeed, you’ll see many suppliers say through their advertising to “call your travel agent,” because they don’t want to spend hours answering questions posed by consumers. They also know there’s someone who already knows consumers’ needs and is familiar with them — the travel agent.

Now you might still be thinking: “I can do it myself and save money by getting a cheaper price.” Think again. There’s this thing called parity pricing and almost everyone follows it. That means the price is the same no matter where the product is purchased. So you really should use a travel agent on your next travel booking. A travel agent simply knows more than you do when it comes to booking travel.

Mark Murphy is president and CEO of Travalliance Media, parent of TravelPulse.com, Agent@Home magazine, Vacation Agent magazine, Travel Agent Academy, Virtual Travel Events and Agent Studio.

 My Vacation Lady can help take the stress out of planning your next vacation or honeymoon.  You work hard enough at your job to work hard planning your honeymoon.