Hi everyone! A few years back when my family took a trip to Cherokee, North Carolina we used the internet (Kayak, I believe it was), to book a room for a couple nights. This was the first time I used online travel site to book a room. After the first night, we wanted to head home. However, at the time there was no way to cancel online with online travel sites like Kayac. I then spoke to the hotel receptionist. She mentioned that booking over the phone with the hotel is always best, as you can simply cancel and get a refund, if needed. So lesson learned. I now find better deals by calling a hotel (nationally) directly instead of using a third party way of booking. In this way, no payment is given, most of the time, until you arrive, and cancellations are much easier! Always make sure to call the direct number and not a ‘800’ number to get an actual person at that hotel, especially if you have questions about the rooms themselves. Even today, I hear from others how difficult it is to cancel a booking online though these travel sites.
When it comes to travel, sometimes the ‘old fashioned’ way is still best!
This past summer, in 2017, I researched for months online for a German flight for myself and my son, Taliesin. Online thru Kayac, Expedia, etc., it was pretty expensive. Well, I knew it would be, as we planned to head out to Frankfurt in June, right before the busy European holiday season in July! Yeah, this time I wanted to visit Germany in warm(er) weather! I couldn’t find anything less than a thousand dollars per person. Sounds right for an international flight in summer. Or is it??
I’m a member of AAA (American Auto Association). If you are, they have discounts for hotels and all sorts of travel packages, and have their own offices. No appointment necessary, you can walk right in for information. So I thought I’d give them a shot. I walked in the AAA office and gave them my request.. The average $$ they gave me, with at least one layover, was $1200.00 each! Yikes. The kind woman explained that summer in Europe is expensive, and I most likely would not find a better deal to Frankfurt. Now, I’m not certain, but I think she simply looked at online sites like Travelocity, etc, as I did at home.
Refusing to give up and accept that price, the very next day I found the old email from a travel agency I used to obtain a flight to Frankfurt in 2010. A travel agency called RP Tours & Travel out of Florida. I paid $800.00 for a non stop flight in September from Charlotte, NC to Frankfurt, with Southwest Airlines. Sweet, right? Cold too, by the way, but that’s for another blog post! 🙂 I emailed this travel agency asking for a flight, and gave them the dates I was interested in. Less than 24 hours later, I received a reply from Steven at RP that he could get me a flight for me and my son on Delta for….$800.00 !! One layover, not a long one, in Atlanta. I immediately booked it through them. One week later, I emailed asking for a window seat for my son, and an aisle seat for myself. No problem! email@example.com if you have more questions. They are a great help and deserve recognition.
So my conclusion is: a call, an email…something more personal, can really get you a great deal. Do your homework, and contact the hotel you are interested in directly, for more questions and to get a great price.
Online sometimes works great for some I am sure! However, the travel agency is not gone by a long shot!