Recently, Google announced upgrades to its Google Flights price comparison tool. The tool is designed to make booking flights and planning trips in general easier for consumers. News of the enhancements drew little noise from travel agencies though, who claim that despite technological advancements in travel, many avid travelers still prefer the relationships and expertise they find from travel agencies.
Some travel agencies like David Travel, view new booking tools as convenient allies to be shared with clients. But agencies have no fear of being replaced, as they say clients generally use Google Flights as starting point for travel and leave it to their travel agents to book and buy. Plus most agents note that while Google Flights can effectively help clients find flights, it can’t replicate the clout and relationships that most travel agencies have.
Tour operators have the ability to combine hotel and airfare to get fantastic packages with lower deposits. Some travel agents cut out the competition all together. Judy Nidetz, a Chicago travel agent, refuses to book a plane ticket that does not include a travel package through a tour operator. Nidetz doesn’t believe her clientele would want to waste their time using tools like Google Flights as they would rather leave it in the hands of someone they can trust. In addition, Nidetz states that she can book flights and entire travel packages faster and more efficiently using her own specialized booking software.
A common theme amongst travel agencies is that they don’t fear new consumer travel tools, because their educated and sophisticated clientele prefer the expertise and connections of travel agencies. This argument may have some merit. In the last year, there has been a significant resurgence in travel related services and agent services. Although the average consumer can book individual tickets with online systems, travel agencies are more equipped to handle more complicated scenarios, especially with large groups.
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