“We have to choose according to our needs and not those of a brother-in-law who has made this or that trip,” replies Marie-Andrée Savard, CAA Voyages in Quebec City. Some questions to ask: What is the purpose of this trip? Do you want to rest, be out of the country, do outdoor activities, visit historical place
“It only takes a few minutes to find a good agency,” says Laurette Pageau of Regence Travel, “because a good advisor will quickly ask you the right questions to better target what you are looking for and what you like.” That he does not listen to us or does not understand our needs well? Better to turn to someone else with whom it will really click. “You can ask for referrals from friends, learn about the experience and reputation of the agency. And as everyone has his style, we do not hesitate to ask to change counselor if we do not feel affinity with the person in question, “comments Louise Gagnon, Voyages Robillard. For his part, Emmanuel Sapina of Voyages Aquanautes advises to check if the agency is accredited by the ” IATA (International Association of Air Carriers). “It can issue airline tickets, which can be a plus, especially if you’re traveling outside of the sun destinations served by charter flights.”
Are there specialists in certain destinations where the agencies are all rather general?
“In Quebec, most agencies are generalists, but most of them know very well the most popular sun and European destinations because of the large volume they represent in our market,” explains Louise Durand of Equinox Voyages. On the other hand, says Huguette Bouchard of the Ideal Travel Group, the more agencies and teams are bigger, the more advisors develop specialties: one will be a specialist in cruises, adventure products or trekking, while another Will develop an expertise on Europe or Asia, often through several personal trips. If you choose a destination or a type of trip that is off the beaten track, you will want to look for an agent whose specialty.
What are the benefits of dealing with a travel agent rather than buying online?
The agent offers expertise that exceeds the simple search for the best airfare price. “On the Internet, people only see a price and a route,” says Emmanuel Sapina. But no one reads the conditions and restrictions written down in small print! The travel agent knows them, as well as the history and viability of the airlines, the time required between the connections, the airports to change the terminal, and so on. And it can anticipate all the scenarios that the customer can not imagine himself! “The more elements to manage in the journey (correspondence, domestic flights, hotels, car rentals, etc.) The agent will be valuable in order to avoid mistakes, which can be costly or downright mess our trip. “Even for the purchase of a package in the South, an agent saves a lot of time,” comments Louise Gagnon. Because we help people to target their choices quickly, which saves them having to look at all the hotels one by one. Not to mention possible mistakes, such as this young couple who bought a flight to Havana, when he wanted to join friends in Varadero, two hours away! “Finally, after-sales service is not to be neglected . Larger agencies generally offer 24-hour telephone service, which is valuable in case of problems. Not to mention possible mistakes, such as this young couple who bought a flight to Havana, when he wanted to join friends in Varadero, two hours away! “Finally, after-sales service is not to be neglected . Larger agencies generally offer 24-hour telephone service, which is valuable in case of problems. Not to mention possible mistakes, such as this young couple who bought a flight to Havana, when he wanted to join friends in Varadero, two hours away! “Finally, after-sales service is not to be neglected . Larger agencies generally offer 24-hour telephone service, which is valuable in case of problems.
Are there any cases where online shopping is more advantageous?
“When it comes to purchasing a plane ticket between two cities, it may be more advantageous to buy on-line or from the carrier, since the agents charge an application fee (about $ 25),” explains Louise Durand. But many carriers (including low-cost carriers) then demand exorbitant costs for suitcases (up to $ 10 per kilo, sometimes) and a host of other surprises! “On the Internet, you always have to The end of the transaction to see the real price (with taxes and other charges added), advises Pierre Couture, Voyages Agathe Leclerc. “Now the aviation sector is a bit like the stock market. Sometimes the companies offer a few seats at a discount to inflame the market, then they raise prices the same day. So, yes, we can find bargains, but especially when we have a lot of time to devote to it! At the time of your purchase, the agencies have access to the same prices as those posted on the Internet. And we must also remember that we also have privileged links with several suppliers because of the large number of trips we buy each year. “” Before, the gap between the Internet and the agencies was greater, but Airlines have almost all cut their commissions to agents, price differences are now too small to deprive the services of a travel agent, “concludes Marie-Andrée Savard.