After reading recent poll results on global travelling and online travel agencies, I had a good laugh! It came out in the limit circle poll,that travel newcomers find it easier to just book online and have an agency sort everything out for you.Keyword here - newcomers.
Because in my personal opinion,and from past experiences,online agencies mostly just go with the "Next Please!" approach.When things go wrong they tend to turn it around and call even the most seasoned travel new to the system and blame-shift so that liability falls to you,the person that keep them in business and in demand.
I recently went through eDreams.An online travel agency with a lot of clout.I booked my tickets almost 6months in advance to avoid issues and get a guaranteed seat on the flight and airline I want.I then paid over my hard earned money to these people. This was my first mistake.
I went through 3 different flight,airline and even stop over country changes in less than 12 hours due to their inadequate notification system.When asking for assistance at the European airports,I was asked who I booked through.Before I can answer a rep would say "Was it eDreams by any chance?"
This does not fill me with confidence while I sit in a foreign country,in an airport where I don't speak the language and all this 8500 miles from home.When you then decide to contact them and get it resolved,you get a cut and paste reply that basically reads between the lines as "It's your fault,you idiot! Now we have your money and there is nothing you can do!"
After 3 uncomfortable flights back home on an airline I didn't choose and wouldn't recommend,I get home feeling done in an extorted.As someone with constant daydreams of traveling the globe,I want to feel safe and secure when I spend money and travel to a foreign country.Are these companies the only way to go? What happened to the personal touch? What happened to the face to face with an actual agent? I miss the day that we had one person you can call to "Sort it out for me please,John?" and a person who you can speak to after your trip about any issues or further bookings.
Travelling is stressful enough,and adding a stomach ulcer due to call center closures or double payments taken from your credit card or visa issues isn't worth it.Why not just stay at home and be happy? Because as humans we want to explore and expand our knowledge base and experience something new. Why should our experience be ruined by the big companies that control our holidays?
I hope that they realize that most of the times it's not that people don't have money to travel,but that they have used your company or one like it before, and do not want to repeat the experience.
Spend less time and effort on your Facebook and Twitter pages and more time on customer service and after sale satisfaction.Spend less on advertising and more on upgrading your call centers and training rude and unhelpful staff.Don't treat your customers like just another face in the crowd and maybe we will come back.
This traveler is looking forward to some globe trotting in the next year,and I for one will seek out the old fashion agent with a cheap tie and Madonna microphone,so that I can put a face to the person in charge of assisting me in recharging and relaxing in our stressful and busy new world.
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