Many people have stated how certain industries will, are, or have become obsolete because of the internet, included among those is the travel industry.These conversations have not only resurfaced, but have also been refueled with a new ideology, that which they believe COVID-19 has exacerbated the rate at which these industries will fall. I wholeheartedly object this notion a sit relates to the paramount existence of travel agencies, and here is why.
Over the past decade I have traveled domestically and internationally sometimes using a travel agency, and sometimes not. I say with completely certainty, I wasted too many hours of my life in the past decade planning, researching,comparing rates, dealing with onsite issues, and countless hours arguing with customer service. More so, sometimes those customer service calls have included a language barrier that made it that much more difficult to get my point across. Those are issues I never had to deal with when I was smart enough to use a travel agency, especially when I have booked through House of Travel.
House of Travel has a business model that cannot be compared to Kayak, Hotels.com,booking directly through the airline/hotel, or even in my experience, a model that other travel agencies lack. That is 24/7 on call customer service. I don’t mean to underscore this, but I don’t know of any other agency or customer service representative anywhere else that would give me their personal cellphones so I can call them at any point during my travels.
Here are just two examples of how House of Travel has saved me time and money because of their commitment to customer service.
- A few months ago I was traveling from LaGuardia (NYC) to Fort Lauderdale. I missed my flight because I was running late, as usual, and by the time I arrived to the airport HOT had already issued a new ticket for the next flight out. Conveniently, on my way back from Fort Lauderdale, it was the airline that was delayed, once again, HOT put me on a different flight out. Mind you, I never had to be on hold with customer service, I simply called my HOT agent for a matter of 60 seconds each time there was an issue, and within minutes after that, they sent me a solution directly to my inbox.
- Another time, HOT planned this incredible vacation for me throughout Spain and Portugal. My friend and I arrived at our last destination at 8 AM Portugal time. We headed to the hotel knowing full well that we would not be able to check in at that time and we would just be dropping our luggage off. Nope! HOT knew that we were arriving at 8, so they arranged with the hotel to make sure we would be able to check-in early. they also managed to upgrade our room, and even had the hotel leave us a bottle of champagne in our room. The only way that was possible, was because HOT worked hard to build the relationship with the international director of sales for that line of hotels.
I could go on for hours comparing experiences with House of Travel and without,but the common thread remains the same, I had a better experience, less hassle,and spent no time on endless customer service calls. To those who say travel agencies are becoming obsolete, I say ‘you have yet to travel with House of Travel.’ I’ll leave you with one last thought; you wouldn’t ask a stock broker to tell you why you are coughing up a lung; you wouldn’t ask a real estate agent to sell you a car; and unless you are a lawyer, you certainly wouldn’t pretend to be a criminal defense attorney to get you out of your attempted murder of the customer service agent that had you on hold for 5 hours and didn’t resolve anything. So why would you pretend to be a travel professional to book your own trip knowing full well that a quick cost-benefit analysis would show the small fee you pay for a travel agent is nothing in comparison to the amount of time and money you will waste trying to it yourself.
Be smart. Be safe. Be HOT.