Anne Majumdar

Booking through a travel agent has emerged as the more expensive option for those planning a holiday in a recent study. But does that mean doing it yourself is necessarily the way to go?

Consumer watchdog CHOICE created three travel scenarios – romantic, solo and family – then compared the cost of using an agent and doing it yourself (DIY).

Image credit: Ayana Resort & Spa

Image credit: Ayana Resort & Spa A romantic escape to Ayana Resort Bali was one of the scenarios

In all three cases, the agent quotes came in more expensive.

However, the agent interactions came out on top in other ways, according to the investigation.

“Each travel agent catered to our specific requests, they responded quickly, and were attentive, friendly and personable,” it said.

“The agents also asked specific questions, which helped with decision making.”

Using an agent also saved doing hours of research.

TravelAgent

“We found there were so many accommodation options in Bali it was hard to know where to begin,” the report said.

The agent’s knowledge enabled them to cut down the large number of accommodation options swiftly.

However, it also pointed out that doing your own research had its own benefits.

booking online

“On the other hand, researching and booking your own holiday gives you the flexibility to browse lots of options at your own leisure,” CHOICE said.

“You’re in control instead of needing to trust someone else, and you don’t have to deal with two sets of terms and conditions (the travel agent’s plus the airline or hotel’s policy).”

In addition, the report said booking it yourself gives consumers access to a wealth of online reviews whereas with an agent, you are dependent on their own opinion.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

However, CHOICE had a couple of suggestions so you can get the best of both worlds.

“If you use an agent you can always check customer reviews online for the options your agent has put forward,” it said.

Furthermore, if you’re willing to put the time and effort in to research your own holiday, then you can take the prices you’ve found yourself to an agent and get them to match or even beat them.

 

What do you think of these findings? Share your comments below!