The guest speaker was Ted Friedli, owner and Chief Vacation Officer of Excel Travel.
With over twenty-five years in the business and a staff of travel counselors (whose average experience is twenty-three years), Friedli explained four reasons (with comments), on why you should use a travel agency for booking your next vacation.
1. Best Price. In answering the question of “I can get better pricing online,” Friedli said, “Have you ever seen any proof that you can better prices online? I’ve never been able to find a survey that confirms that you can get lower prices on Expedia, Travelocity or Travel Zoom compared from what you get from a travel agency. Never.”
2. Expert Advice. Friedli talked about the inside knowledge his travel counselors have, one even having gone to Disneyland 39 times. “Yes, you can do it online. When we do it for you, you get free expert advice. You pay for the services of a travel agency whether you use a travel agency or not. We’ve had a customer come in with their Expedia print-out for a cruise. We pointed out that this is a great cruise you bought, a great cabin. We can get you the same price, but for $50 more, you can get a cabin that’s not above the nightclub so you can actually sleep at night.”
3. 24/7 Emergency Service. In discussing airline cancellations or delays, “If there is a problem with your flight, we can help bail you out. We know what airlines can and cannot do.” If warranted, they can get you compensated.
4. Shift the Risk. “People make mistakes when they book their own vacation. He spoke about a wealth couple who booked a trip to Europe, but selected a cruise to take them to their destination where their flight was leaving from. What they did dot know was that a cruise line can change their destination at anytime. The couple lost thousands because they could not make their flight.
“It’s not about cheaper. You can always get cheaper, it’s about getting value,” said Friedli.
Friedli also reminded the NBG members that in many countries, passports must be valid for three or six months past the return date of their trip.
Excel Travel knows the tricks of the trade in saving money. “If you’re traveling for a long weekend getaway, book between Saturday and Tuesday. If you’re planning a roundtrip, always price two, one-way tickets. It’s not always less expensive, but always worth a try, especially for international flights. If you have a family of five, you’ll get the lowest online price for all five tickets. If you price one ticket at time, savings could be significantly more.”
This you'll want to read and print out: 10 Tips to Save on Your Next Vacation.
Do you do your own plumbing, electrical work or taxes?
More than likely not. You want to deal with professionals. You want to deal with Excel Travel.
Remember: The Internet is for looking, Excel Travel is for booking!
Wrapping up the meeting, the local NBG business entrepreneurs each offered a two-minute pitch on their company and services. Several thanked, praised and recommended other NBG members for the services that they themselves had used.
What works? Networking works!
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