The role of travel agents is constantly being questioned especially now when information is accessible online.
However, their part in the travel industry cannot be underscored particularly by the traveller who wants peace of mind as they travel.
A lot of information comes up every day on why a traveller should not rely on a travel agent and instead go online and book a holiday and hotels for themselves.
This is terrible advice, says the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) Chief Executive Officer Mr. Nicanor Sabula.
Vacationers, he says are not guaranteed of cheap and affordable vacations when the book their flights and hotels directly.
“There is so much information online and trying to sieve through it all to come out with an itinerary is chaotic. I would advise a traveller to make their search and share the information with their agent in order to get personalised services. The travel agent will also be in a position identify actual and false packages and protect the client from cons” Mr Sabula added.
He urged travellers to use KATA accredited agents as they are bound by a code of ethics that assures one of integrity and professionalism in the business.
“When booking directly, one lacks the security that comes with having an accredited travel agent take care of the travel plans. It is therefore easy for one to fall into the wrong hands and end up with no holiday and no money,” he pointed out.
Like every other industry, there are bad seeds that reap where they have not sown and that is why a travel agent comes in and buffers the traveller.
Ms Rosemary Wanjiku, a frequent traveller to Dubai for business says that she must use a travel agent to prepare her itinerary before each travel.
“The first time I booked directly I was so disappointed. I lost my luggage and the hotel I booked was nothing like I saw online. I tried following up and it only cost me more money. Now I leave everything with my agent and I have realised that I save more time and money and enjoy the convenience,” she said.
She further noted that travel agents have access to information on the best service rates from airlines, car hires and hotels and they can steer one towards deals and promotions therefore saving one time.
A travel agent is with the traveller from the beginning of the vacation to the end, ensuring that their client receives a personalised experience and value for their money.