What travelers want from travel agents is old-fashioned service – except that there’s nothing old-fashioned about today’s travel agents. The truly skilled, modern travel agent combines skill, knowledge, and the most up-to-date technology to provide a wide range of services to clients.

When a travel disaster strikes

Ask any business colleague or friend you know about a travel disaster and you’ll probably hear some pretty amazing stories.

Imagine the couple who used an online travel service to book a vacation only to discover they had an invalid airline ticket. Worse, the airline on which they were booked didn’t even serve their departure airport! The “deal” for using this cost-effective service had a unique catch to it: the travelers would not know exactly which airline or hotel they were booking until they made their reservations (all final, all non-refundable). Phone calls to the online service “were met with cool indifference.”

Even more amazing, the couple had been assured they did not need to re-confirm their booking through the airline; the airline had discontinued service to their departure airport and the online booking agency had not notified them.

The couple finally managed to get to their destination vacation – at an additional cost of $700.

When travel goes right

Now let’s look at the travelers who used an agency to book a luxury vacation. This was a detailed multi-stop vacation at luxury destinations and with luxury accommodations. Just because this was a luxury trip didn’t mean that the couple didn’t want to also save money.

Their agent found the best fares, rearranged flight reservations when there was a weather-related cancellation, and even switched hotels at one destination when the couple wanted to change their itinerary. The agent provided safety information for all the countries the couple visited, and concierge-like services in addition to the travel “basics”. The trip was customized to the couple’s specifications and desires.

Tools of the modern travel agent

Today’s agent utilizes the latest technology to investigate and book reservations. If you are working with a travel agent to book a vacation or a business trip, chances are that your travel professional will be using a Global Distribution System (GDS) such as Travelport’s Galileo, Apollo or Worldspan. These are automated services that store and retrieve travel-related transaction information such as the hotels, airlines, car rentals and (in some cases) railway and bus reservations. The information gathered through the GDS is in real time, meaning the data is continually updated.

Travel Technology & Solutions (TTS) is one of the major companies providing IT solutions and commerce platforms to the travel industry. The “new old-fashioned” travel agent may be using the newest edition 3.0 of TTS’s Travelport Mobile Agent application to access real time scheduling information in seconds. The application functions on iOs and Android smart phones and tablets.

Travelport Mobile Agent is cloud-based and allows for full synchronization with all devices. This means greater travel agent flexibility and mobility. You are no longer dependent on working with your agent during traditional working hours. Travelport Mobile Agent enables your agent to work on your behalf 24/7, anywhere, any time. The agent can book and change reservations, issue tickets, refunds, or void a reservation in less time – all with mouse click or a touch of the finger.

So what’s your time worth?

Sure, you can do all the reservation booking online for most of your travel needs, but is it really as reliable and easy as the advertisements imply? There will always be a place for online booking services. But it can be very easy to get caught up in pursuit of The Deal and lose track of all the online time you are spending.

Despite creative marketing messages that tell you otherwise, travel agents have “insider” resources that can save you money at various levels – on your hotel, rental car, or air reservations. The agency fee is nominal when compared with saving you time and money.

People who utilize a traditional travel agency expect to work with knowledgeable agents who can take the details of their travel plans, prepare a customized itinerary and quickly forward the details to the client’s smartphone or computer. With sophisticated systems like the Travelport Mobile Agent app or TTS Web Agent, your agent can quickly assess all options and forward an itinerary, changes, or problem-solving information to you via smart phone or email in seconds. All in all, your agent is always working on your behalf to keep you traveling safely.