Business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce has become a popular model of transactions because of the growth of the internet. Internet connectivity has transformed how people interact with businesses (Mayr and Zins, 2009). It has also changed the consumer behavior when shopping or booking trips. Consumers can now shop online at the comfort of their homes and have their orders delivered to their homes, a convenient option instead of driving to a brick and mortar store. Likewise, the people also book for travel plans online because there are numerous internet based sites such as Kayak, Expedia, and booking.com that are very popular. Apart from websites, there are a variety of apps like Corner and Hitlist available for smartphone users that help travelers to make their ticket purchases and book for destinations online. On the contrary, online shopping and ticketing have not eliminated travel agents. According to Blair and Wright (2016), 25% of travelers still use agents for booking and planning for vacation trips. It is better to use a travel agent as opposed to online shopping. The paper will seek to explore the benefits derived from using either travel agents or online sources for booking and paying for trips.
Travel agents are the ideal choice for planning a trip for those who lack the time to spend time planning for vacations or browsing online in search of the best website. Travel agents play various roles. They not only help consumers to plan their trips, but they act as vacation advocates. Agents find the best deals for their clients by searching for the best rates or prices. Since most travelers spend 90% of their flight tickets locally, agents know the right airline tickets for international flights (Meltzer, 2017). Furthermore, travel agents are well-connected and know the right places in a city. If they are not familiar with the destination, they know someone on the ground that does. In addition, while using an agent one does not need to keep checking the booking site regularly in search of best deals. According to Mathew Upchurch, studies indicate that travelers are highly satisfied while using travel agents and the trend is on the rise while online booking has been declining (Blair & Wright, 2016). Travel agents absorb all the stress of a vacation which is advantageous to a client. The traveler does not need to worry about making arrangements for a hotel, excursions, and meals. Studies stipulate that traveler spend approximately thirty hours researching and preparing for vacations (Meltzer, 2017).
On the other hand, the benefit derived from online booking is that individuals access everything in the current online portals. The DIY travel helps people to buy airline tickets, hotels and access rental cars including the last minute bargains. For instance, one does not need to wait for an agent to open. Furthermore, agents work on a commission ranging from $25 to $100 and for complex trips the commission can be $200 (Blair & Wright, 2016). Therefore, booking online saves travelers money. Online booking is convenient because travelers only have to access the internet to make their travel reservations. Travelers also have access to numerous flights and hotel options as well as choose the best deals (Mayr and Zins, 2009).
In conclusion, traveling for vacations is now very easy and convenient because there are numerous options to choose from. Depending on one's preferences, online booking and travel agents offer varied services. However, the benefits derived from using travel agents are greater than solely depending on the internet for travel solutions. Agents are offering personalized services and advocate for a client's vacation as opposed to regularly checking the internet for deals.
Blair, D., & Wright, P. (2016, July 8). When and why you need a travel agent. Boston Globe.
Retrieved from https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2016/07/07/when-and-why-you-need-travel-agent/dnZAIO5Lh3szeLUScMn2HM/story.html
Mayr, T. and Zins, A. (2009). Acceptance of Online vs. Traditional Travel Agencies. Anatolia, 20(1), pp.164-177.
Meltzer, M. (2017, December 6). 10 Reasons Travel Agents Are Better Than the Internet. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/thrillist/10-reasons-travel-agents_b_5591994.html
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