When did you last use a travel agent to book ski trip ?

Discussion in 'Snow Talk' started by Hunter, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. Hunter

    Hunter Part of the Furniture
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    Wonder how the likes of travel plan are going ?
     
  2. Kletterer

    Kletterer Still looking for doughnuts
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    Never have done. Only flights
     
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  3. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum
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    I almost always get a quote from Travelplan. I may not use them, but you never know what they might come up with.

    If I was going to Japan for the first time I would probably use an agent for peace of mind into unfamiliar territory.
     
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  4. Donzah

    Donzah Part of the Furniture
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    Interesting thread this
    Personal experience. I'm being quizzed about my Japan knowledge at mo.
    Have friends looking at Hakuba around Valentines day this year. Last minute trip (kinda)
    They go to travel agent.
    "Hakuba is all booked out for those dates"

    hmmmm
     
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  5. robbo mcs

    robbo mcs One of Us
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    I always get a quote. Sometimes I have had packages quoted with airfares and lift tickets that I simply can't beat myself. Other times it is much cheaper to book myself.

    It does depend to some degree where I am going.

    It is not always about $ either, sometimes other factors come into play.
     
  6. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty
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    LOL
     
  7. Donzah

    Donzah Part of the Furniture
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    Interestingly the agent then suggest Okushiga hotel. (in Shiga Kogen)
     
  8. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty
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    Struggling to recall when I last used one. Certainly did in the 80's & 90's, including Travelplan a couple of times. After that mostly just for booking flights eg. Flight Centre, but even that was more than 10 years ago. So easy to do your own research these days when there is so much more readily available than any travel brochure.
     
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  9. Jacko4650

    Jacko4650 One of Us

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    I tend to do my own research for flights (dates, airlines, stopovers(?) etc and once I'm pretty happy I will get in touch with a regular Travel agent that I use routinely and give them a brief. Most of the time they at least match prices, sometimes there's a bit of to-ing and fro-ing but I normally end up using them for final bookings. I have found it easier to get resolution of problems if I go through a well know agent; on the rare occasion it happens. Occasionally they get to book accommodation, but not often. I figure that they can sometimes be more creative and have better data mining tools (ie: lowest price due to minor variations to original plans) and sometimes have some great suggestions as well eg: do the free city tour of Singapore because your stopover is 6 hours. If you allow professionals to demonstrate why they might be better than you, sometimes you are pleasantly surprised. Sometimes not. The reason I go back to the same place is that I have a track record, so too do they. I seem to get better service because (a) I'm never in a rush and (b) I'm a loyal customer.
     
  10. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room
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    first holiday I booked, back in 1994, I used an agent, and was so disgusted with the the first place we stayed at, I cancelled and rebooked the rest on the fly where I could.

    Haven't used an agent since
     
  11. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum
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    Whatever an agent tells you, you should ALWAYS double check them, particularly when they are sending you between major destinations via multiple stopovers.
     
  12. cqen2l

    cqen2l Part of the Furniture
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    Always book flights with points and accommation on online if going to Canada or America.
    Tend to use a travel agent for accommodation in Europe.
     
  13. POW_hungry

    POW_hungry Part of the Furniture
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    Travel agents are for the folks who don't know how to use the internet, or for those who spend frivolously... What a fkn joke of a business.

    P.S. I studied tourism for several years and probably traveled more than most TA's. If you think you have a good agent, chances are you're a lazy bastard with more money than sense. If you're getting quotes and knowledge but not booking though them, then guess what... you're not 'using' an agent. Let 'em burn I say.
     
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  14. Donzah

    Donzah Part of the Furniture
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    Its a boutique industry now.....

    except at the common pleb level.
     
  15. POW_hungry

    POW_hungry Part of the Furniture
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    What other factors?
     
  16. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty!
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    The allocation of rooms to that wholesaler for the 3 or 4 approved options for accomodation might be booked out...

    I’m not a fan of travel agents.
    Have had to use them to organise some sport event group travel (it was mandated by the club to book through a particular TA) - next to useless.

    Also had to use Co-Sport to get Olympic Tix and accomodation. What a complete joke they are!
     
  17. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    The last time was 2002 for a last minute romantic trip to Vanuatu over the Easter long weekend. Did a quick search myself online but couldn't find any availability so let the travel agent do the work. Now I just organise everything myself online.
     
  18. Annabuzzy

    Annabuzzy Part of the Furniture

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    I had an agent book my flights last two trips. There were two reasons for that - one I couldn't be arsed doing the comparison project - and two access to the agent's insurance if something went pear shaped
     
  19. teckel

    teckel Old n' Crusty
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    Yep. Some provide a very specialised service and offer you things you could never do online.
    That said, I haven't used one since the 80s, as I have no need for that specialised service.
     
  20. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum
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    I have actually had a travel agent deny the very existence of a class of room (1 br + loft) that I had found in particular accommodation because they had not taken any of those rooms in their allocation.
     
  21. Richard

    Richard Maintenance Dept
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    Never used an agent for any travel ever.

    +1’s hobby is planning travel. Amy organises ripper travel itineraries and we have yet to have a glitch.
     
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  22. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local
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    Never. But then I like researching and choosing the place that is right for us. I’m rsrely disappointed
     
  23. Gimp

    Gimp One of Us
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    1. First trip OS in 87 started with World X to the Anapurna region and then self guided to the Solu area and have been since.
    2. First trip to Niseko in 01 with the Gouldings
    3. short notice trip to the UK in 04.
    Everything else self serve
     
  24. coolair

    coolair Addicted
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    I do my home work on the net, then go to a travel agent, prices have always been comparable.
    Just peace of mind knowing its all booked right and if not my Mrs can not blame me.
     
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  25. skichanger

    skichanger A Local
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    Travel agents often only work with the places listed on bigger GDS such as Amadeus. Means they only have access to the bigger, well establish places. A good example of how limited this is what they offer for Myoko. They all offer the same places. There are about 10 of them, mostly large Japanese places. So they may think Hakuba is booked out because the limited number of places they offer are booked out.

    Also some of them do not like Hakuba. They get complaints because people have the impression it will be one big resort like Nth America or linked resorts like Europe and are disappointed when they have to catch shuttles etc
     
  26. skichanger

    skichanger A Local
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    Last time I used a travel agent for anything apart from flights, urgent things and group travel, was our 1st trip to Japan in 2010. In hindsight I am pretty disappointed with what we were offered compared with what is available. And their limited offering is one of the reasons people "want" self contained apartments.

    We do some stuff for our mogul skier through an agent because it has to be the same as the rest of the group he is travelling with. And sometimes the agent we use has access to flights and accommodation we cannot get. Also she can sometimes book flights on the same ticket when we cannot. Then if there is a delay on the first flight and he misses the next flight the ailine sorts it out. That has happened quite a few times.
     
  27. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them
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    Step 1 - Decide where I'm going
    Step 2 - Use the internet to find cheapest cattle class airline seat
    Step 3 - Walk down to Flight Centre, get their quote, laugh at them, pull out my quote, have them laugh at me saying that's too cheap, point out they have a price matching policy, they get on the phone, price is matched
    Step 4 - Win
     
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  28. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty
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    I just skip step 3
     
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  29. Crystal

    Crystal Sand skier extraordinaire
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    Canada/States - I have used Travelplan for years and each year will get a quote from them. I mix and match my itinerary using some of their bookings and doing the rest myself. I research extensively and love the process. Sometimes I just can't get the wholesale prices that Travelplan can offer.

    This year we used them for our Sunpeaks portion as they packaged everything and it was super cheap. I found their flights this year expensive so I used points direct with the airline. The Apex portion I sourced through mates and the Hire car I went direct. Basically I do this every year...

    South Pacific - travel I tend to do myself, through mates (expats) and also I found Virgin packages a winner.
    Japan - an agent always (ski specialist) as I don't know a heap about it.
    The dark Continent (Africa) - direct airlines and then expats for all travel planning- cheaper to do booking from within the country so you don't get charged "international tourist" rates.
     
  30. Beerman

    Beerman One of Us
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    Hi Crystal,
    Car hire and vehicle insurance for Canada, any tips?? We are booked into SP for next year.
     
  31. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room
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    Haha beerman there’s a dedicated thread on that “other” forum
     
  32. Beerman

    Beerman One of Us
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    Yeh but no one is really naming any names on that site, except for Doug's hire in Kamloops...................which is no good to me flying into Seattle or Vancouver and driving from there.
     
  33. Crystal

    Crystal Sand skier extraordinaire
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    @Beerman we book through Enterprise generally, but shop around each year. Economy used to be great but have found it hard to get the larger SUV we want. We do an off airport pick up so the price comes down, also we rent for in excess of 28 days, that way you get a monthly rate on the rental rather than the daily rate. Works out heaps cheaper.
     
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  34. Principal Douglas

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    I think you're asking the wrong audience. Everyone here is a keen skier, mostly very experienced. Not exactly the target demo for most travel agents these days.

    The Travelplan's and SkiMax's of the world are still doing ok. I know someone from one of the smaller wholesalers that does very well from return customers. The same people come to them year after year for their annual trips, they tell their friends about them and so it goes.
     
  35. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room
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    Out of Seattle try www.sixt.com

    Ive not used them but I do believe they permit you to cross the border.

    also try www.economycarrentals.com and www.budget.co.uk
     
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  36. Crystal

    Crystal Sand skier extraordinaire
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  37. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room
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    We have collected a Suburban from them but its hit and miss and I think you have to book a loooong time in advance to get their limited stocks. also insurance in the large SUV is extra
     
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  38. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    For Seattle try www.hertz.co.uk and use the CDP discount for an AMEX Platinum card.
     
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  39. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local
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    When I lived in the UK I would most times book through an agent. But generally they contract their own lodge and have their own staff, it’s a different model. Makes it very cheap through for an ex-London ski trip
     
  40. sara777

    sara777 A Local
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    I used local travel agent once in 2006: round the world trip (Indonesia, Europe, Canada, US, NZ). Whilst I was happy with the flights, major things (accommodation etc.) went wrong. Never used one ever since. Planning and researching is part of the fun.
     
  41. robbo mcs

    robbo mcs One of Us
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    Examples have been

    Special events such as Olympics, Soccer world cup, Superbowl : there have been times where I have not been able to either get tickets or accomodation, but have been able to get a package quoted through a travel agent. Examples would be deciding to travel to one of these at the last minute a week out etc

    Wanting to stay in a particular hotel that is booked out : at times a travel agent has magically been able to get me a room (at a price)

    On those occasions it is a concierge service that you pay a premium for, so it is not just about being cheapest, it is knowing that it is more expensive, but paying for the service you get.

    Personally I think it is crazy not to get a quote for a big trip from a travel agent. For sure, price it up yourself, which I do. However, it takes less than a minute or so to send a quick email asking for a quote, especially if you know exactly what you a looking for. If it comes back more expensive, so what? If it comes back cheaper than your best prices you win.

    Edit : for reference I have not physically visited a travel agent for probably 15 years, and probably not spoken to one for 5 years. When I do get quotes or use them it is all by email / web
     
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  42. Hunter

    Hunter Part of the Furniture
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    I am surprised at how many in this thread are still using agents to some extent
    Very surprised
     
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  43. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile One of Us
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    Because were all experts.
    Experts everywhere.
     
  44. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum
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    Why? If they can get you a better deal you would be stupid not to use them.
     
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  45. Hunter

    Hunter Part of the Furniture
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    Reason 1

    I don't know any friends who still use an agent ........
     
  46. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile One of Us
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    Ive always had a pet hate when traveling to Europe and doing some skiing and travelling and then having to waste time traveling back to the same Airport that we arrived at .
    With airlines like emerites we would arrive at one end of Europe then travel across, or up or down and depart from another country back to Dubai etc.
    But years ago it was more expensive if we tried to do it ourselves online.
    Not sure if they have made this easier to do online now.
     
  47. Annabuzzy

    Annabuzzy Part of the Furniture

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    Indeed didn't do so for years, for all the reasons stated by others.

    But recently I've been time poor. I found the first time I tried the agent she found the same flights I did at the same price. This time around I went to the same agent, and didn't check.
     
  48. Hunter

    Hunter Part of the Furniture
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    I have a friend who is an agent and she really works hard for her clients.

    She has just recently had to change careers as she could not make a decent
    living

    And she was one of the good ones......
     
  49. JA2340

    JA2340 Part of the Furniture
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    First Japow trip, we used an agent for a package. Far too structured, no time to sightsee, and so we have done it ourselves ever since. +1 is a super organiser/researcher, and we usually end up with a couple of days of travelling before and after the skiing, no carrying of skis etc around and have explored a number of fantastic ski-jos. We have revisited a couple but tend to prefer to go "native" and just see what happens!

    12 sleeps! :woohoo::woohoo::woohoo:
     
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  50. sara777

    sara777 A Local
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    You can: under ‘multiple trips’ I think