Humans > Robots: 5 Reasons to Ditch the OTA
Are you ready to ditch the OTA (online travel agency)? In a world where more of our lives have become operated by our computers, the human touch matters more than ever. More importantly, a human travel agent is essential when it comes to booking your vacation. The age of booking online makes it seem simple to plan your entire trip without talking to a single human being. But is it really that simple? Are you missing important information or setting the stage or a travel catastrophe?
Here are five reasons to ditch the OTA and book with a real, live travel agent.
1. An OTA is not very upfront about fare rules
If the price seems too good to be true it might be because it is. What might seem like a small saving through an online purchase can end up coming back to bite you in large fees if you need to cancel. Or, even worse, your tickets might not be changeable at all. When you book with a travel agent, you can ask and know exactly what you are getting. Are your tickets refundable and changeable? What is the baggage allowance? Will you have to pay extra to select your seats in advance?
2. An OTA doesn’t know your needs
Travel advisors place a high value on knowing their clients personally. They want to learn your travel preferences and needs. They might keep track of dietary needs and help you make in-flight arrangements to get you what you need even mid-flight. An OTA knows nothing about you (except how to use your search history to get the most of your money) and cannot help guide you towards travel plans that work perfectly for you.
3. An OTA doesn’t care if your trip goes smoothly
An OTA doesn’t really care if your trip goes smoothly. Once they have your payment, it’s a done deal. A travel agent, on the other hand, wants to build a trusting relationship with their clients. Some long-time travel agents think of their clients like family. They’ve booked everything from the honeymoon to the babymoon and beyond. A good travel agent wants your trip to go smoothly just as much as you do!
4. An OTA won’t help during an emergency
Emergency assistance is one of the most important things for travelers going abroad (or even domestic)! There is a lot of uncertainty around travel, especially in the current tourism climate. While a great travel advisor lives to smooth out emergencies, an OTA likes to hand off the responsibility to the airline.
5. An OTA isn’t accessible
When you book with an online travel agency, you won’t get a friendly email saying, “Please call me any time!” You’ll get your receipt and that’s about it. If you attempt to call an OTA on the phone, you are likely to be passed from person to person for a while. Eventually, you may reach someone who will tell you that you should have read the fine print better, or that your situation is out of their control. Travel agents work around the clock to assist their clients with questions and concerns. When you book with a travel advisor, you know you have a friendly human you can call or email whenever you have a question!
➡️ Read next: 7 Things Your Travel Advisor Wants You to Understand