There are several reasons why even seasoned travellers still prefer going through a travel agent for planning and booking their holidays. In fact, regular holidayers often have a trusted travel agent, just like families in yesteryears used to have family doctors!
The first reason for taking help from a Travel Agent is the trust and comfort the agent brings into the transaction. A customer is not bothered about being stranded in an unknown country without help if a well experienced travel agent is involved in helping them plan and book their holiday. More importantly, if the agent has known you and your family for a few trips, he knows your likes, dislikes, preferences etc.
It is also hence recommended not to switch travel agents. If what you are looking for is a specialized experience like a Historical tour of Italy or adventure through Bhutanese landscape, you may want to go with a pre-planned itinerary provided by specialists. But for most travelers, as writer Larry Olmsted puts it,
“it is better to find an excellent generalist travel advisor and stick with them, because a big part of the equation is that they get to know you and your wants, likes and dislikes, and make suggestions accordingly. You would not use a different financial advisor every time you opened a new bank or brokerage account, so why keep switching travel agents?”
The second reason is convenience of being assisted and waited upon. On a holiday, the last thing you want is to be haggling with the front desk of your hotel about why your reservation is not confirmed (I personally went through such an experience once, when I booked the hotel through an Online Travel Agent aka booking portal). A trusted travel agent not only makes the booking for you but also ensures throughout the period leading unto your travel date that your booking is intact and has not been tampered with.
The third is cost associated aspects – lets first talk about the intangible; constructing a row-house on your own looks cheaper then employing a contractor, but eventually when you add the cost of your own time spent in construction; and some times incidental expenses you incur due to your ignorance, make the deal much more expensive, than hiring an experienced contractor. Similarly, employing a travel agent usually gives customer a better deal than booking on their own.
And now, the hard core cost – booking through a travel agent usually will cost a customer cheaper than booking their own tickets online. This is because travel agents rely on annual contracts, wholesale suppliers and have many other tips and tricks up their sleeve to help you get a better deal than doing it yourself. Finally, Travel agents usually don’t charge customers for their services [source]! Their payment actually comes through the hotels and wholesalers, meaning that you can simply tap into a free service!
Summarizing, as Forbes website says, Travel Agents know more than travelers themselves, they are better connected, they have access to benefits travellers can’t get otherwise, they can often beat any other prices available (even online, yes), and after travellers have planned everything, they provide a safety net during the trip that travellers simply won’t get by booking yourself or buying insurance.