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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    12

    Default travel agent or online booking agent???

    I'm booking travel to CSA today or tomorrow. After reading many reviews of online travel sites I'm getting nervous about which one to use. I was going to use Cheap Caribbean or Book It. Feedback greatly appreciated. Flying out of Ft. Lauderdale.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    732

    Default

    We always use a real Travel Agent, for a couple different reasons, first of all the ability to pay a minimal amount down and make payments, and the confidence of a real person you have dealt with all along to help you in the event something happens or goes wrong.

    Northwest/Delta is the hub here in Detroit, so we typically stick with Northwest now Delta Vacations for our miles.

    I play on the computer myself before calling an agent, I let them tell me what they found, and we compare from there and go with the best deal. So far for us it has always been the same Northwest vacations.

  3. #3

    Default

    I'm new here. Dont you have to go through Couples.com to get the specials?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,338

    Default

    We have done it both ways. We have found out it is better to book direct with Couples, that way we can make a change if they offer a better deal. When we booked this year is was a garden view room and with a Wednesday special we got a Premium room for the same price. We also did this a few years ago with some other special.

    We also book our air direct with the airline.
    Irie Mon

  5. #5

    Default

    We always use our local travel agent. We feel more secure being able to talk to someone directly. Also, she keeps us abreast to any travel changes that may occur(we buy the trip insurance----definitely helps when the price decreases).

  6. #6

    Default

    I have found it just as easy to book myself rather than using a travel agent. I have had an agent check prices for me and it was the same price as the Couples website. I also look at pricing with airfare and without. Sometimes it is cheaper to purchase the airfare elsewhere, sometimes it is the same. In the long run it doesn't really matter - you won't be thinking about the price after you arrive!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    732

    Default

    Couples offers the same the major discounts like FILA and Early Booking Bonus to all their booking agents they partner with and we have found Couples to partner with most all of them.

    When booking with a Travel Agent simply ask them if the price is reflecting the current Fall In Love again Special it should.

  8. #8

    Default

    I have not officially gone on my vacation yet (1st to Couples and Jamaica) but I booked through Cheapcarribean and it went smooth. They also offer a pay half now, pay half later plan if you wish at a small fee.
    The Special offered on a Wed. through Couples, free upgrade, was also honored through the website. I found their prices to be better, and I spent weeks checking.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    259

    Default

    We have done it both ways, but before I went to the travel agent I'd completed all the research so I knew what room type we wanted and what flights. The only thing she had to do was press the keys on the PC to make the reservation. I'm just about to make our reservation to CSA for 2010 and will manage that myself using the Couples website for the hotel.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    810

    Default TA

    I usually use our local TA. I will check out pricing on line and other places, and let her know what I found. She usually comes up with a similar price. Occasionall it is a few dollars more than some of the on-line sites like Travelocity, but I feel more secure with her. Also, if anything comes up with our flights or any thing else, she is there to help us out. An example is last year my husband had bronchitits (along with his empysema) just before we were to leave. His doctor said he would need oxygen on the plane if he did not improve before we left. She checked it all out for us, and was ready to help get the oxygen if we would have needed it. Thank heavens we didn't, but she was there for us. And since it usually doesn't cost us any more, I book that way.
    Linda

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    12

    Default WOW, thanks

    All you guys are great for your tips and hints. I called a TA today and she ended up being about $230 more than Couples website. SO, I'm going to wait to book until tomorrow to see if there will be a Wednesday special booking offer and hopefully there will be, and then be able to get on with life and wait anxiously until we arrive at CSA!!!!

  12. #12

    Default


    We have found booking directly with Couples to be more satisfactory. TA's are not flexible when rates change. Couples always will adjust the rates if they've changed since your booking. Trip insurance through Couples is worthwhile. Purchasing your own air as you watch fares, etc. seems beneficial. Couples will match online prices, if better than their specials, if you can send them the quotes!

  13. #13

    Default

    It's always best to support your local TA. This gives you an advocate in case something should go wrong. Your TA will fight for you and be able to use his/her connections to make sure you have the best vacation possible. Travel is very much like insurance...book it online without an agent....you get little or no support. Use an agent, you have an actual person to deal with in case there is a problem!

    Just my 2 cents......
    Glenna Hailey
    Jerry Hailey
    Couples Certified and Preferred agency!
    Life's to short to spend it on the couch, find a beach and watch the sunset.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    308

    Default

    When you book online through online booking agencies, you actually DO get support. Granted, it's 1-800-based support, but the argument that if you book online you'll have no advocate is simply not true. Only booking engines are travel agencies. Some people feel more comfortable booking with their local agent then with a faceless online one, but it's still a travel agency.

    We've found janeyb's experience to be true, which is why we ALWAYS book directly with Couples. We booked last year with a TA for the first and last time, the rate went down over $400 and she said she couldn't do a thing. This year, we booked through Couples, the rate changed, and they were able to rebook us no problem, saving us room even though we upgraded rooms.

    To each his own - if you prefer working through a local agent, do that. But don't be scared off that you'll be left out to try unless you book with a TA, especially if you book directly through Couples.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    732

    Default

    Finding an actual package deal like with Delta vacations, for example, we will only have to put $250 down per person and pay any insurance we choose in full, then make payment as we can. Trip typically has to be paid in full 60 days before the trip. This is a major reason why we use a TA.......

    Not all resorts have contracts for packages with the airlines which is downright stupid for this reason alone. I'm so happy Couples does! It just makes it much easier if you are budgeting for a trip rather than if you have the money upfront which in this economy many of us do not.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    12

    Default

    We booked with a real travel agent after doing our homework. We were prepared with the final price from the Couples web site, allowed the agent to try to beat it.
    Eventually (not at first) she was able to save us ~$150. I would have had no problem using her or booking it myself...I just went with the lower cost.

  17. #17

    Default

    Personally I have done a lot of research on this topic. If you can find a TA that does "bulk" rooms with a specific resort, then you will get a better price through them versus the actual website page.

    Also, again when booking with a TA as previously noted, you only have to put a certain amount downpayment and then within 60/65 days paid in full.

    If prices drop or a special is announced, you can always go back to your TA and have them give you the special if they do so.

    Either way, as stated above, once you get there, you totally forget about price! Enjoy!

  18. #18

    Default

    One of my friends works for an online booking agency and even she agrees that the level of support that you would get from one of those agencies varies from little to moderate. Nothing to compare to the support you would get from a good TA. As in any field, some travel agents are better than others. I would shop around for a good one and stick with them

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    251

    Default

    I also always book with a TA. I do alot of research myself. Tell her the lowest price that I found and she ALWAYS comes up a little cheaper. And the one time that I found a price reduction after we booked she was able to match it. I find having someone to talk to makes me more comfortable. But as everyone else has said...to each their own!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    181

    Default

    We have always used an online travel agency - great prices, awesome personalized service and they had all the deals Couples had. I couldn't be happier with our experience. Email me for more info: cacaps82@gmail.com

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default

    My advice is to go with the local travel agent. Ours is always up to date with specials and what is offered on line. He knows the numbers we researched before we even arrive to discuss the vacation.
    And if you need them, my wife and I did on our honeymoon, hurricane Dean in August2007, the peace of mind that you can talk to someone, to get you home safe and sound, is priceless. Rare occasion, but we never thought we would have to leave due to a hurricane threat.

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