When we think about travel agencies, many of us think back to in-person businesses booking and organizing travel for clients. You might not know it, but travel agencies are still around, and they’ve got plenty of business. The most common kind of travel agencies used today are online travel agencies, and you’ve probably heard of them. Expedia, Priceline, Hotels.com, and many more online travel agencies (OTA) handle tons of bookings every day, but they may not be as smart an option as you’ve been led to believe.
If you need a flight from Harlingen, booking directly through an airline may be the smartest option. Keep reading to learn about a few reasons you should think twice before using an OTA.
1. It Can Be More Expensive
In today’s day and age, most travel agents and agencies don’t take a commission on bookings. However, you still might wind up paying more than you need to. Price guarantees are common for hotel chains, meaning hotels may offer to match rates offered by other hotels, and some may also offer an additional discount.
If you plan on seeking a rate match, be sure to check out the hotel’s specific policy beforehand to avoid any restrictions.
2. Cancellations and Changes Are More Difficult and Costly
Booking your flight through a third-party agency can make it much harder to make changes to your flight if unexpected issues arise. In many cases, the OTA you use will recommend that you get in direct contact with the hotel or airline to make changes, and many hotels and airlines offer less flexible options when you’ve booked through a third party. Your OTA may also charge its own fees for changed bookings, meaning you could face an OTA fee in addition to the fee from the airline or hotel.
3. Customer Service Is Less Accessible
Many OTA sites have very limited customer services, with some restricting access to a human agent until within a week of your booking date. In most cases, you’ll be asked to carry out any changes or ask any questions through online portals, meaning it can be difficult to make progress if you’re having problems with the online systems. If you do need to make a change that isn’t supported by the system, it can be difficult to get in contact with a human being.
4. You May Miss Out on Points or Elite Benefits
Finally, by booking through an OTA, you could be missing out on elite traveler benefits and points. Many hotels consider third-party bookings to be ineligible for points or benefits, so your memberships and special status may not apply.
To check whether or not OTA bookings are point- or benefit-eligible, you should check the hotel’s specific policies.
Fly the Easy Way When You Book a Flight With Valley International Airport
If you’re looking for affordable and convenient travel options, Valley International Airport is where you can find them. You can book non-stop flights to Minneapolis, Dallas, Chicago, and more key travel hubs, or catch one-stop flights throughout much of the U.S. and Mexico.
If you’re traveling to or from South Texas, Valley International Airport is the place to go. Book flights online or give us a call to get more information.