Choosing to book, your personalised Travel Counsellor versus booking direct online

Kerri Kelf on 26 February 2020

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Choosing to book with me as your personalised Travel Counsellor versus booking direct online. What's best for you?

The world, and particularly the travel industry has been put through a lot of uncertainty in the last year or two. With the likes of Superbreak going into bankruptcy and the main bulk of their holidays being UK breaks, not many customers knew that unless you have a ‘package’, inclusive of a hotel and some sort of travel, you are not covered financially in the circumstance that the company goes bust. Leaving people without their UK breaks and without their money refunded. Superbreak was followed quite quickly by the financial break down of the much loved and well-known brand of Thomas Cook. I’ve never worked for Cooks personally, but the impact was so big that I found myself upset and shedding a tear. Thankfully, all bookings made as part of Thomas Cook package holidays were financially protected and the government stepped in and paid out for those on a flight only that weren’t covered.

Now, only a short few months later we have the crisis of the Coronovirus, spreading quite quickly across the world, again, leaving people unsure if their holidays will be cancelled or whether they should be booking for the future. These are difficult times that we are navigating through as we have never seen the travel industry actually come to a complete stop.

In between all of this, we’ve also had the uncertainty of the dreaded Brexit! Do we book before or after Brexit to get the best deals? What will happen to the exchange rate on currency? Lots of questions that customers may have had.

So, I pose the question, do you book with me, a personalised travel counsellor, dedicated to you as an individual or should you book online?

Ok, so there’s no escaping the fact that Yes, the online, direct option will always be your cheapest. But is cheapest best?

By booking with me, I will always pick up the phone and have a chat with you about your holiday needs and requirements and build up a picture of your ideal holiday. From there I can then make recommendations and give advice, using my years of knowledge and personal experience. The internet will only show you what you have asked it to look for. It’s not necessarily your best option.

I’m quite good at remembering my customers and of course, some of your information will be stored on your file, meaning that if you come back to me time and time again, I will remember the little things. The fact that you like particular seats on the plane, a sea view room, that your preferred holiday is adults only or that you have to get the dog into kennels before you commit to booking. Again, the direct, online service gives you a cheap holiday, but there’s nothing personal about it. You even have to print your own tickets!

Going back to me talking about the world of uncertainty, one thing I always find is that people NEVER sacrifice their holidays. Even in the time of recession, people cut back on their food shops before they cut back on the holidays! So, with Brexit and the Coronovirus, you probably WILL still be going on holiday this year. So do bear in mind that...

-I am on the end of the phone and available at any time. If I don’t answer straight away, leave a message. I’ll either be on the school run or on the phone to another customer but I WILL call you back. Online agents either don’t have a number to call or you press lots of different numbers to be on hold for hours on end anyway!

- I have a 24/7 duty office, so if a crisis of any sort breaks out whilst you are on holiday, someone will be available to keep you safe, any time of day and anywhere in the world. - Everything I book is fully financially protected and that’s all included as part of booking with me. When you book components individually online you are only protected for the one component as an individual. So, you’ve booked your flights, your hotel and car hire on 3 different websites and got a fantastic price for the privilege of your hard work, searching around. Then the airline goes bust. You’ll probably get your money back for the flight, but the hotelier and car hire company won’t be responsible, and you will lose your money with them. - I am kept up to date daily on absolutely everything. As soon as an incident happens, I get an email, when an incident is ongoing, travel counsellors organise webinars, skype meetings and trainings, so with the likes of the Coronovirus, if you have a question about your upcoming holiday, I can answer everyone’s questions on a one to one personal basis, because no two holidays and situations are the same. Online will only give you a generic answer that might not be correct for your situation. - Another great example is something like the ZIKA virus. Online will tell you what this is and where not to travel, but I can assess your personal situation. So, if you come to me for a honeymoon in a Zika known country, I can advise you that if you are or plan on becoming pregnant within the next 6 months then we can look at other destinations. If this doesn’t apply to you, the internet won’t know this either way.

So, to summarise, by booking online is a self-managed service. Fantastic when everything goes as straight forward as booking, printing tickets, packing and travelling. By booking through myself, you will have a personalised service from the very first time you call me. I will manage your booking behind the scenes and keep in touch at every touch point. At travel counsellors, we’re all about the personal touches too, so expect a birthday card, a call when your passport is due for expiry, a welcome home call, kids’ packs for the journey, welcome home packs for late flights and much more. Every holiday is personalised, and I promise to treat every holiday as if it were my own, giving you peace of mind that it will be perfect for you and just as you expect. And finally, I’m always a quick phone call away if you have any questions about anything, however big or small. Giving you less time and cause to worry about the world’s incidents and more time to enjoy your well-deserved holiday.

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