Cruise Expert vs. Booking Engine
Online technology was supposed to be the death of the travel agent. But lo and behold, 25+ years later, we are still alive and prospering. Why you might ask... Because the traveling public still needs and values the services a good travel consultant brings to the table.
We offer so much more than pretty pictures of ships, beaches and turquoise waters online. You can actually talk about what's in the photos, elaborate on the anticipated experience and provide inspiration to cruise, whereas an online booking tool can do none of the above. Here are a few more ways we are better than the machine:
A professional travel consultant will take the time to properly qualify clients and uncover your needs and desires, then recommend 1 or 2 ships that best fit those needs. An online booking tool will ask for travel dates and destination, then offer up a myriad of options and price ranges to weed through. A couple looking for quiet solitude may end up on a party ship, young honeymooners may end up cruising with seniors.
A cruise expert can advise where the best cabin location is - the online booking engine will simply offer the next available stateroom, even if it is underneath the nightclub or next to the noisy elevator corridor. A cruise expert can you choose the dining option by pointing out pros and cons. A booking engine offers the choices without any guidance on which is better for that specific client.
A cruise expert will answer queries and research on client's behalf. A booking engine will direct them to the list of FAQs online. Is there a benefit in cruising eastbound vs westbound through the Panama Canal? Why should clients sail to Alaska from Vancouver instead of Seattle? A booking engine will never be able to address such specific details, factors which might affect a client's enjoyment.
We take the time to build a personal relationship with our clients, learn your likes and dislikes, keep track of travel preferences, and reach out periodically to say hello. An online booking engine only cares about getting their name, address and credit card, and sends an automated thank you note to your inbox.
In short, an online booking engine will never exude enthusiasm, look out for a clients' interest, or counsel you to make an educated choice. In fact, an online booking engine spits out prices and does not try to convince a client that cheaper isn't always better. And in today's price-conscious world, there is a high chance that clients could end up on the wrong ship. But does the booking engine worry about getting you back as repeat clients? Probably not.
Technology is here to stay, but it will never take over for an efficient, intuitive, human travel consultant.
The world needs cruise experts, and we're here to help you!
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