With the onset of new digital technology, the world has become a smaller place with websites like Travelocity and Orbitz popping up on the Web. These travel web sites have been very successful at facilitating travelers to book their own airline and hotel reservations online. So with this huge push from the internet to take over the travel industry, one has to ask, “Are travel agents obsolete?”
If you have browsed some of these travel sites, you have observed that they are amazing in the diversity of travel options that they make available. And it is impossible to deny that many thousands of people have taken advantage of these services. As a business traveler, however, your needs are somewhat different than the typical airline passenger.
There are some very specific services that a living and breathing travel agent can provide that simply cannot be replicated by an automated web site like Travelocity or Orbitz. Some of those services that a seasoned business traveler would be hard pressed to live without include…
Has the Internet Wiped out Mobile Assets?
* Focus. You as a business traveler are not arranging this trip for entertainment. You have specific business objectives in mind. So if you must take time away from preparation for your business task to worry about travel itineraries, hotel and rental car reservations and the like, that is time that you are not being productive for your business. If you can call a talented travel agent who knows your travel profile well and delegate those arrangements to that agent, they do their job in finding just the right accommodations for you and you are freed to do what you do best, focus on your business and the upcoming business trip.
* Economy. It is difficult to find that balance between finding the accommodations that fit the demanding schedule of a businessperson on the road and is respectful of the companies travel budget as well. If you use an automated online travel service, you may have to sacrifice convenience, schedule or location for economy. A good travel agent will work hard to get you the right itinerary while getting as close the corporate travel cost restrictions as possible. And they will do it without taking up a lot of your time.
* Back up. You don’t need help if your trip goes completely as planned. But if you encounter problems on the road, you can find yourself in need or rescheduling flights and finding new accommodations to work around canceled flights, weather issues or other unexpected interruptions to your plans. These travel disasters are not mindful of your tight deadlines to meet your business goals. But if you have a travel agent who is dedicated to providing you service, he or she can find those alternative routes and resources to do all they can to get you to your destination so you can conduct your business on time.
* That personal touch. You may have travel preferences that you want to achieve with each trip you take. A travel agent has your profile and your travel history so they can do what they can to accommodate your preferences. But moreover, if you have specific special needs such as a diet limitation or a need for accommodation due to a disability, it will be a travel agent that sees to it that your needs are provided for and you are well taken care of on the road.
* Complications. If your travel itinerary involves making connections with other business partners who are traveling from diverse offices, complex travel schedules and itinerary challenges that just cannot be described to the generic screens of an online travel service, you can explain these complications to your travel agent and they can work with other travel agents working to organize the meeting and see to it that your itinerary meets your requirements.
While the online travel services do provide a valuable and affordable alternative to the general traveling public, it is easy to notice their limitations if you are trying to book a trip that is tricky or if you have specific needs that the screens do not anticipate. Human travel agents still do have a place in the world of travel and they will help you plan, budget and book the trip that meets your travel needs and purpose.
How to Handle a Crisis when Traveling for Business
Business traveling can be a hassle relying on the reliability of public transport. That means you are going to have to deal with airports, security procedures, crowds of “non business” travelers around you at all times and the inevitable delay or canceled flight.
As a business traveler, you have a mission to complete. This is not necessarily an adventure nor is it something you are doing for fun. Its business and you handle it as business. If you travel frequently on business, you have a standard process you go through to handle waiting for flights and how to store and retrieve travel documents when they are needed.
Most of time we had handle the presence of large crowds around us. After all those families on vacation, groups of teenagers on spring break or young couples on honeymoon have as much right to the airways and the airports as you do. But everything changes when flights begin to get canceled, especially if you are in a situation where so many flights are canceled and large amounts of people are going to be stranded in that airport overnight.
When such a situation begins to loom, it is easy to sense that feeling of panic rise up as you sense it happening in those around you. Inexperienced travelers may have no idea how to handle this situation. But as a business traveler, you are there doing the bidding of your company. You probably are on an expense account of some sort and you should have good credit that you can use to navigate this situation. So if you see an airport shutdown situation happening around you, you may ask yourself that question, “Is this a good time to panic?” The answer is no. But it is a good time to act fast so your needs are met.
It is always a good idea to keep your wits about yourself in an airport situation so you can take action early if you see an airport shutdown situation beginning to happen around you. The thing to remember is that you are the one in control here and you do not have to let yourself be put at the whim of the airlines or the airport. But detecting the crisis coming early is the key and taking quick action.
Often as flights begin to get canceled, you may find yourself in long lines to try to rebook flights or find a solution to the problem. Realize that if the airport is stopping all flights due to weather or other reasons, there is no resolution waiting for you when you get to the front of the line. And staying in line will only add to your sense of crisis and panic.
So get out of that line! You have resources to make accommodations for yourself. The last thing you want is to have to pass the night in that airport. If you can get another form of transportation, you can still get to your destination albeit a little late. But rental car agencies are going to be flooded with people who, like you, are looking for a solution. So the earlier you can diagnose the situation as not acceptable and get a car, the faster you can leave the airport and head for a hotel or for your destination.
Use the same strategy in booking a room at a nearby motel or hotel. If you can get to private accommodations for the night, you can work, make your phone calls and preserve your energies so you are able to conduct business well once the crisis is passed. The key is to stay calm and deal with situation quickly and efficiently using the resources you have on hand.