Once upon a time…
Before the dawn of the information super highway, brick-and-mortar travel agencies were the key to booking travel arrangements and finding deals on airfare. These agencies helped travelers plan trips and book flights, hotel and car rental reservations, and other travel necessities. But as the Internet started to dominate all areas of commerce, travelers began to turn to online travel agencies instead of the brick-and-mortars. These « virtual » agencies offered all the travel planning options and discounts conventional travel agencies offered without requiring travelers to leave their home. No longer did travelers need to make appointments and meet face-to-face with a travel agent just to make travel arrangements. There was now a convenient online solution to booking travel arrangements and finding discounts on airfare.
Online travel agencies haven’t completely decimated the conventional brick-and-mortar shops. Traditional travel agencies still do a great deal of business with travelers and are one viable solution to booking travel arrangements. However, as busy as our lives can be, online travel agencies do offer a quick and convenient solution to finding airline tickets without taking you away from home, or even work – and the brick-and-mortar shops realize this. Some conventional agencies are also hitting the web and establishing travel websites to cater to those individuals looking to quickly search for and book flights. So even though online travel agencies haven’t completely decimated the conventional travel agency industry, they have established a viable and convenient alternative to booking vacations, business trips, and other travel plans.
Life Still Exists in the Brick-and-Mortars
Conventional travel agencies still command a large portion of the travel booking industry. Their face-to-face service is what keeps them in business and, depending on the needs of the traveler, a more realistic solution to booking travel arrangements. When you book your travel plans through a brick-and-mortar travel agency, you’re working with real people and if you’re a frequent traveler, it’s nice to have a « favored agent » to turn to for travel information and advice. With an online travel agency, you’re simply interacting with a virtual interface that allows you to search for and book your own travel plans without ever speaking with a live person. Many people prefer face-to-face interaction and would never even dream about using a travel website to book their travel plans. There is still something to be said about personal service and the conventional travel agencies are capitalizing on it by offering personalized services and conveniences to travelers.
So Where do We Go from Here?
As you can see, there are benefits and disadvantage to both conventional and online travel agencies. Each one offers its own experience and features that make it unique from the other and in favor with different people. When it comes to selecting the best option for you, you merely need to ask yourself « What am I looking for in a travel agency? » The best way to answer this question is to check out a few online travel agencies, compare them to some brick-and-mortars, and see which ones have the savings, products, and services you desire.