Categories
Travel Management

Full Service vs. Online

I often get into discussions with people concerning travel and how they book it.  There is a tremendous range of choices and reasons given.  I thought I would share with you some of what I’ve heard.
Some of the reasons given as to why people book online include wanting to be in complete control of their travel plans or to pay a lower fee and in some cases people travel to the same destination repeatedly and don’t need any professional assistance to book their trips.  All of these are valid reasons to book your own travel.   What is often overlooked is what you get by booking online through an agency such as Christopherson Andavo Business Travel vs.  Orbitz or an airline website.  Orbitz and the like, provide you with schedules, cars, hotels and pricing, so does Christopherson Andavo Business Travel.  We also provide reporting, we track unused tickets for you via our AirBank system, our corporate clients have access to an emergency line 24 hours a day, clients can view their all of their reservations and itineraries, past and present utilizing AirPortal.
Christopherson Andavo Business Travel is a full service agency.  Our agents have a tremendous amount of experience and expertise.  When you book online, you are responsible for making sure that all the details are correct and that everything is booked correctly.  When you use a full service agent, the agent will make sure that the details are taken care of.  This includes making certain that your name on your reservation matches the ID that you will be presenting at check in and that you have a place to stay and that it is booked at the correct rate, if you need a car, that it is booked, using your corporate discount number and your individual number that permits you to bypass the counter.  In addition, the agent will work hard to get you the best seat assignments possible, they will utilize our exclusive technology to check for lower rates on your car and hotel prior to your scheduled departure.  They also will advise you of ways to cut costs or to get more value for your money.  For example, many people think that Southwest is always the lowest priced airline in a market.  The reality is that it frequently isn’t and other carriers may off a better deal.  Or that when flying from the USA to Marseille, that if you book on Delta.com, you can’t get seat assignments on the Paris to Marseille leg, however if you book that flight as Air France, who actually operates the flight, you can get advance seat assignments.  Other suggestions may include staying one more night in order to qualify for a discounted fare or to spend an extra $100.00 to get a fully refundable fare instead of having a nonrefundable fare that comes with a $150.00 change fee.  The agent will remind you that you need a valid passport for international travel and that you may need a visa to visit or transit a specific country.  As was recently reported, a couple going on their honeymoon to Russia, who had booked with one of the big online ticketing companies, were not advised that they needed passports and visas and thus ended up stuck in Germany for a couple of days while arranging to get a visa.  They thought that they would save a few dollars by doing it themselves, instead they ended up spending a lot more money.  A full service agent brings far more value to your travel than you may inititally think.   In addition, all of the customers who utilize a full service agent, receive the same basic benefits as those who utilize our online booking tools, as well, as all the other services that an agent brings to the table.
Either way, Christopherson Andavo Business Travel provides a greater value to our customers than they will receive booking online or with other agencies.

Categories
Travel Management

The Beauty of Full Service Travel

If text messaging while driving has been, or will be outlawed, do you think that means no laptop use while driving as well?  How many times are you driving in your car and you begin to create that mental list of things you need to accomplish, you know, the list that never actually gets written down on paper?  We’ve all been in those situations where we may not have a laptop at our fingertips, but 90% of us will have our cell phone with us.  This is one of many benefits that come from using a full service travel agency for your business and leisure travel.  The next time you are stuck in traffic and your mental list of ‘things to do’ comes to mind, and booking your next trip has surfaced to the top, you can take care of it easily using your Bluetooth and speed dial to call your favorite travel coordinator at Christopherson Business Travel.  There are times for on-line booking and on-line booking tools, but there is also savings to be gained by using your full service agency.
Using a full service travel agency can, in the long run, save time and money.  This savings can take place before, during and after your trip.  Though on-line booking tools can be convenient and are often known for obtaining low fares, your travel coordinator can provide you with those same fares and at the same time, give you hundreds of options for saving money that an on-line booking tool is unable to do.  Many times you are required to scroll through long lists of options and flights which can be very time consuming, and as the saying goes, ‘time is money’.  A travel agent also has the ability to add comments to your air, car and hotel reservations when you have special requests to ensure that your travel experience is a positive one.
Have you ever finished business early and haven’t wanted to spend Friday afternoon in a crowded and noisy airport?  If you have booked your travel arrangements with your full service travel agency it only takes one call to a familiar voice to make the necessary changes to your reservation so that you can avoid wasted time and enjoy more time at home.  I’ve always said that Dorothy penned it so well, “There’s no place like home”.   On-line booking tools at this time do not allow changes without contacting the airlines or a travel agent directly.
During your trip, when you may encounter problems with your air, car or hotel reservation, if you have used your full service agency, you have an advocate on your side.  There is nothing like having someone to call when a crisis arises and letting a seasoned travel coordinator resolve any issues that may arise with your travel arrangements.  This allows you to focus on the real purpose of your business trip, once again, saving time and money.
Truly, a computer will never be able to replace the human touch, but don’t say this out loud near the IT team.