Welcome to our first column for the Bedford Independent.
Eagle Travel on Goldington Road, Bedford was founded 28 years ago and is a proudly independent ABTA & ATOL bonded travel business, and as such we look forward to bringing you travel related news and inspiration each month.
“I am so pleased we are able to bring you a monthly blog, we hope to keep it fun and informative,” says Managing director at Eagle Travel, Sue Alexander.
”We are small team of award-winning agents with years of collective service within the travel industry.
“We’ve travelled extensively on land and sea so we can tailor make your holiday with your budget and holiday “must-haves” in mind.
“I have learned a lot over my 40 years in the travel business so if any readers have any travel related queries, or anything they would like us to cover then please get in touch.
“I am sure we can add some useful advice”.
Why do people still need to use a Travel Agent?
In the pre internet world, even a quick beach break was traditionally booked through a high street travel agent.
The peak booking months being January and February where you would have a read through many different brochures before choosing your perfect holiday, you could even have a free child place if you booked early enough.
With the dawning of the internet travellers now have a bewildering number of operators, opinions, reviews, and unlimited variations to choose from.
People are looking for ever more remote locations, greater cultural enrichment and increasingly unique experiences.
A good Independent travel agent is able to put their clients first because they are not affiliated to a tour operator or cruise company, meaning you can be assured you’re getting unbiased and impartial advice.
Even the most qualified travellers benefit from this.
In a recent report, ABTA analysed the resurgence of the trusted travel adviser: “In an age of limitless choice the service and information a travel professional can provide is now of significant value.”
How valuable is your precious time?
Do you really want to spend hours of your own time exploring innumerable options when you an experienced and independent travel agent can do the research for you?
Part of the luxury of a holiday is to sit back and relax, so why not start as you mean to go on and relax in the knowledge that you are in safe hands with the planning too?
Independent travel agents have evolved, becoming much more than just ‘order takers’.
They are there to make sure you experience the smooth transition of a complete holiday experience, from the first time you give your brief through to when you return home.
Travel consultants should take care of all the time consuming “holiday admin”, such as flight check-in, arranging transfers, making reservations at restaurants, or putting you in touch with private guides.
They get involved with planning unique experiences and acting as a concierge to assist you in all aspects of your holiday.
They bring personalised service and human contact, which is simply not available when using an online only booking tool or remote call centre.
A good travel agent spends time getting to know you so they can make personalised recommendations and create an itinerary that fits your personality, preferences and budget.
Working closely with their suppliers they can also help their clients access special discounts and promotions, a cheeky upgrade here and there might also be found.
Something that just isn’t possible when dealing with an online booking portal.
These added bonuses may sometimes mean an independent travel agency is not always as cheap as the internet, they also can’t always price match the ‘big boys’.
But, often their large chains own high street shops can’t match their own internet prices either.
You can be sure though, if an independent travel agency can beat a price, they will, so it’s always worth speaking to one like Eagle Travel before you book elsewhere.
When things go wrong, who’s got your back?
Price aside, the true value of using a travel agent is seen when things don’t quite go to plan.
Airline failures, natural disasters, and security threats can all wreak havoc with your holiday plans.
Booking your package or tailor made holiday with an Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) protected agency, such as Eagle Travel, gives you peace of mind.
Should something go wrong, you will have the assistance of a network of travel professionals working on your behalf, something that isn’t possible when you book individual elements of your trip separately online.
According to Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) more than 5,000 people fell victim to holiday fraud last year.
The Travel Association said victims lost an average of £1380 each, plus experienced emotional distress as fraudsters use increasingly sophisticated methods to target people looking for a good deal.
One in four cases involved accommodation, such as payments for upmarket villas which are either fictitious or being offered without the owners’ authorisation.
To avoid becoming a victim of holiday fraud, ABTA has the following top tips:
- Check whether the company is a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA
- Check the company has an ATOL licence
- Check the booking agents web address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes – such as going from.co.uk to .org
- Study receipts and invoices as well as terms and conditions
- If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Using a respected and established agency such as ourselves eliminates the risk of being ripped off.
Properly bonded travel agents and accommodation suppliers are required to contract properties that have been through strict health and safety checks.
Although we know that things can sometimes go wrong, accommodation must meet the highest of safety standards.
These checks are not always carried out with online providers or direct rentals.
Your holiday enjoyment, security and wellbeing are a reputable travel agents’ priority, not only so you have a great trip, but so that you come back to them to plan your holidays year after year.
11 Goldington Road, Bedford MK40 3JY
Monday to Friday 09.00am – 5.30pm
Appointments available upon request – Ample free parking at rear
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