Did you see the recent ABC show ‘The Checkout’ and presenter Alex Lee’s ‘No Reservations’ feature on Travel Agents? Matt Castell did and he’s cranky about it. Like, really cranky.
Earlier this week I was shown a video of someone called Alex Lee doing a cute little show called The Checkout on ABC2 and a feature called ‘No Reservations’.
I’d never heard of her or the show, because I, like most others don’t watch the ABC unless there are Arthur reruns on during a Sunday morning hangover session.
I’m not too sure why the Australian media loves to bash Travel Agents so often. For some reason, our mere existence puts their knickers in a twist.
The hack job report starts off with the chirpy, smiling host, telling her viewers that “the internet has killed off many things” then goes on to list encyclopedias, video stores and nudie magazines.
Great comparisons, all are media related products or information – which have moved online – for free. Webjet or Zuji aren’t giving away free flights.
Crappy point Alex, good try though.
Let’s address the rest of the misleading “facts” she tries to drum up a storm with:
1. Customers must bring written quotes in
Lee says that to have a quote beaten, customers must bring a written quote to a store.
This simply isn’t true, most Travel Agents will better a price without requiring proof. If proof is needed, it can be emailed through or the Agent can validate the price online him or herself.
2. Travel Agents don’t have access to fares that the Internet does
Lee’s next attempt goes on to report that Travel Agents don’t have access to fares that the Internet does.
I hope the ABC wins a researcher of the year award for checking this with TWO airlines (Qantas and Virgin Australia).
I sell private fares (as i’m sure you do) with VA and many other popular airlines daily that are much, much cheaper than any OTA or direct.
Let’s not even bother getting into the Lufty, Finnair, RTW, Student and Air Passes that can’t be arranged without the help of a Travel Agent.
3. Agents charge for fixing ‘errors’
Lee then mentions that Travel Agents slug their customers with a fee for fixing name spelling errors.
When it’s actually airlines that charge extortionate reissue fees for sorting this out and most of the hard work falls on the Travel Agent to fix anyway.
4. Agents buy tours in ‘Bulk’
Another glaring assumption is made when Lee suggests that Travel Agencies buy tours “in bulk” and then sell them on for a huge mark up.
Even if we did, who cares? As long as the customer gets a great deal, right?
5. Travellers shouldn’t take out travel insurance
One of the last “recommendations” Lee makes is that travellers shouldn’t purchase travel insurance and instead use their free credit card protection.
What she doesn’t take into account is that Travel Agents offer many different payment methods, like interest free finance. She also doesn’t understand that “free” doesn’t mean “best”. Travel insurance is a serious matter, don’t take your health and finance advice from a failed Buzzfeed reporter.
Alex and The Checkout team seem to have overlooked that not everyone chooses where he or she spend their hard earned money based on price alone. All of her points come down to saving a few bucks.
What they don’t know is that using a Travel Agent is one of the best value services you can come across today.
If Alex and The Checkout on ABC want to help their viewers out with a few more ideas on how they can “save heaps of money”, here are a few:
Costly gym memberships – why spend over $1000 per year when you can do push ups in the park FOR FREE?!
Fancy furniture – big furniture companies don’t want you to know about council clean up days because they make HUGE PROFITS selling you their couches at retail prices!
Rip off pubs – Alex and her team must do all their drinking in the backyard because bars and pubs serve the EXACT SAME ALCOHOL you can get in the bottle shop for up to a 400% mark up!!! Do your research!
If you’re catching my drift (and I hope you are) then you’ll understand that there are A LOT of service-based industries out there that provide not only jobs, but also they help create thriving communities filled with interesting people with different skills.
The difference is that most of these services charge hefty fees to use them.
Yes, Travel Agents do charge small fees for certain things, but as a percentage to total amount spent, we’re definitely one of the best value service industries out there.
And Alex, hit me up if you want a killer deal on your next holiday.
Watch the whole segment here
Think Alex Lee and ‘The Checkout’ were way off the mark too? Share your thoughts below.
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