Travel Discounts, Real Deals and Why Use a Travel Agent, Anyway? What’s the Real Scoop?

Travel Discounts, Real Deals and Why Use a Travel Agent, Anyway? What’s the Real Scoop?


Have you ever wondered what the real deal is with discounts on cruises and escorted tours on the Internet. Up to 75{625323b24af37c24f5a97fddb81c67dba8bd357996214eb0318c02ab7c1b66cd} Off! 2 for 1 Fares! Up to $4,000 Off! Free Airfare! What does all this really mean?

First, I’ll deal with 75{625323b24af37c24f5a97fddb81c67dba8bd357996214eb0318c02ab7c1b66cd} Off. Off what? Some travel companies and travel agencies publish a brochure rate that is inflated to purposely show a huge discount. For example, a brochure rate is listed as $10,000 and then is offered at 2 for 1 rates. That’s 50{625323b24af37c24f5a97fddb81c67dba8bd357996214eb0318c02ab7c1b66cd} off. The 50{625323b24af37c24f5a97fddb81c67dba8bd357996214eb0318c02ab7c1b66cd} off rate is the real price offered to everyone. Then, the actual promotion may be 25{625323b24af37c24f5a97fddb81c67dba8bd357996214eb0318c02ab7c1b66cd} off. Voila! There’s your “up to 75{625323b24af37c24f5a97fddb81c67dba8bd357996214eb0318c02ab7c1b66cd} off.”

One large river boat company actually prints their brochures with the inflated prices crossed out and the half-price listed as the deal. For everyone! So who pays those inflated prices? No one.

Many large travel agencies have a tech staff whose only job is to publish deals on their website showing various discounts ranging from 61{625323b24af37c24f5a97fddb81c67dba8bd357996214eb0318c02ab7c1b66cd} to 77{625323b24af37c24f5a97fddb81c67dba8bd357996214eb0318c02ab7c1b66cd} off. If you look at the bottom line, you will see that their prices are the same prices as booking direct with the cruise lines. They are just displaying the prices in a more enticing fashion. When you see these promotions on the Internet, you will see that these are deals that are available to most travel agencies.

So why use a travel agent? Read on.

Last minute deals? In a weak economy, a supplier that has lots of inventory to move may offer heavily discounted promotions. Generally, these are for large ships with loads of unsold space. The cruise might not be exactly what you would have chosen 8 or 9 months ago, or the cabin might be in a less than perfect location, but if you are flexible, this can be a good deal.

Why book with a travel agent? Read on.

As for 2 for 1 Air promotions, would you really pay $3,000 for a $1,500 ticket? If the travel company publishes a rate that looks unreasonable, it most likely is, so they can run a half-price promotion that reflects the real market rate. Department stores have been practicing this marketing ploy for years. Mark the price tag double or triple so they can advertise a sale. Consumers are catching on to this marketing strategy by looking at value.

What separates one travel agency from another and why use one over the other? Read on.

Many cruise and tour companies have changed their business model, some recently, to a no-discount policy. Among those are Silversea Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Tauck Tours, Collette Vacations, Celebrity Cruises, and Royal Caribbean Cruises. Does this mean that agencies can no longer shave dollars off the cruise price for their clients? Are the deals going to be the same from one travel agent to another? Yes and no!

Some travel agencies have a strict no-discounting or extra-incentive policy. If it works for their customers, and they are successful, more power to them.

Some travel agencies offer only deals or what are perceived to be deals, but don’t go the extra mile if the customer needs help or advice.

What then will be the incentive for booking with Key Traveler? Read on.

For those suppliers that do not allow discounting, we have put a Key Traveler Rewards program in place for all our booked guests. This assures that you, our client, will be rewarded for booking with us. Rewards may be in various forms: Loyalty checks. Extra Amenities. Upgrades. Prepaid Gratuities.

Where we are able to discount, Key Traveler meets or beats all travel deals from our preferred suppliers. Deals that are offered by some of our travel partners can change from one day to the next. As long as the suppliers allow, we will always adjust your price, should a better promotion be offered after you have booked. Our hands are only tied if the supplier restricts deals to “new bookings only”.

Try not to get bored, as we’re about to toot our own horn.

First, and foremost, as soon as you begin working with us, you’ll feel comfortable dealing with our agency. We are a family-owned company and have been in business for over 20 years. Our agents and support staff are super friendly and extremely knowledgeable. We will get to know you, your travel preferences and more. And you’ll get to know us.

Better Business Bureau ratings are a reliable indication of whether we do or do not service our clients properly. Key Traveler’s BBB rating is A+, the highest rating given.

The largest portion of our business comes from repeat travelers and referrals. Satisfied clients are our best sales people. Our clients bring their friends and family to Key Traveler. And they themselves return to us again and again when they’re ready to book their next vacation.

Are we knowledgeable about the companies we represent?

You bet! We are well traveled and have personally experienced nearly all of the cruise lines and tour companies we represent. We do our research and we talk to our clients about their experiences.

Do we answer your questions promptly and accurately?

Absolutely! And if we don’t have the answer right away, we will find out. We will never leaving you hanging or tell you to call the travel supplier. That’s OUR job.

Are we available when you need us?

Since Key Traveler is not a “call center” company, we are not open 24/7 and we do not have clerks who simply wait for the phone to ring and read notes from a computer. We are a family-owned company and as such, have business hours and hours during which we’re closed. If you want to reach Key Traveler after business hours, leave a voicemail message or drop us an email and we’ll get back to you as soon as we are able. That’s what Blackberrys and IPads are for and we utilize these during off hours. If you’re out of the country and experiencing a travel emergency, write us an email and we will respond within a reasonable time.

So, now that you have the scoop, who are you going to reward your business to?