I just wanted to start a thread about the one question we end up answering without fail for every wedding we do...
"If my guests can find it for less online, what is the advantage to using a professional travel advisor?"
There are many reasons but I am only going to point out five. Ideally, your guests will call your TA after spending their entire evening shopping for deals online but often they will call you. We like to prepare our brides with an explanation when this happens.
One - The internet is an amazing tool for travellers and one of the best places to get â€œdealsâ€. Your wedding is not a â€œdealâ€; itâ€™s one of the most important days of your life. Planning this day is going to take more care and attention than you will ever get from a website so make sure there is one real person overseeing the handling your wedding (and all of your guests). Make sure you can contact them directly when you need them.
Two - â€œDealsâ€ found online are released when airlines need to liquidate a few seats on an aircraft and only last until those few seats are gone. If two of your guests book online, these could be the last two seats at this price. The ThThe TThtkj fdThe next two people may get another price. It is inconsistant and everyone in your group will end up paying different prices.
Three - Lead in pricing is shown on the first page to lure you in, but most online booking engines donâ€™t actually check availability until you have entered a credit card and click â€œbook nowâ€. If that fare isnâ€™t available, it will come back with the next fare category that is. Don't think something is confirmed at the advertised price until you have paid.
Four - The deals you see on websites like Expedia, Red Tag, Bookit.com, and other websites are usually based on double occupancy. Advanced search engines may be able to accommodate as many as six passengers but you cannot book any more than that on any website. You will have to send in a â€œgroup quote requestâ€ to the groups department. If your guest took the time to submit a group quote, they will end up getting quoted the same price your TA quoted you.
Five - There are advantages for group rates that online deals cannot compete with. The price is locked in and will not change once a deposit is made. Then everyone can breathe a sigh of relief and not have to worry about the remaining amount until 60 â€“ 90 days prior to departure. Online deals must be paid in full immediately and are 100% non refundable. Most importantly, if all your guests are booking online to save $40, your wedding will not be considered a group and many of your group perks will be taken away, including the ability to hold space with just a deposit, free room nights, free wedding packages, and more. Occasionally there are group rate price decreases which will also effect your group, and that's always a pleasant surprise!
We have found keen guests that want to play travel agent will be one of the biggest stresses of planning your destination wedding. We advise our brides if they run into this to have their guests call us directly to alleviate that stress! One less thing you need to worry about!
Hope this helps! I'm happy to answer any questions you guys may have about this topic.
Ginger @Blue Petal