Book via the travel agency — What are the advantages?
Many travelers book flights and hotels themselves on the web. However, travel packages through various agents can provide collateral if the tour operator changes the itinerary.
Thanks to search platforms like Skyscanner or Tripadvisor, booking by your own is no longer an art that is hard to master. But, if everything does not go smoothly before or during the journey, then you are on your own.
If you book via a travel agency, it is much safer. For organizers, the package travel law applies — as soon as the customer buys more than just a single service, such as a flight. As the organizer, the travel agency is then liable for all its service providers (e.g., airlines, hotels).
Otherwise, if the travel agency merely mediates — then, the hotel/airline are direct contractual partners of the customer.
Scenario 1: The Organizer Changes the Itinerary
Environmental disasters or dangerous political issues can put a stop to the travel plans.
Customers who have booked a package holiday can sit back in such situations: If the organizer changes the trip substantially or even has to cancel it, the customer has three options if he does not want to accept it.
- They can stay home and get the money back.
- They can take on a higher-quality alternative journey without surcharge (if the travel agency can offer one).
- In case of an inferior journey, they receive the price difference refunded.
However, as long as the travel agency carries out the journey, the customer must "take it on". If they cancel the trip, they won't get back any or all of his money ( a lot depends on the terms and conditions).
However, travelers who have booked a flight and hotel by themselves, cannot choose certain journey aspects. The same applies to customers who have booked a single service with a travel agency, for example, only one flight. Then the package travel law doesn't apply.
Scenario 2: Problems during the Journey
Is the hotel room missing the promised sea view? Rattles on the construction site or next-door jackhammers? Is the way home not possible due to floods or a volcanic eruption? The travel agency is liable for its service providers. That's why their customers can contact the agency person anytime. If all else fails and the travel agency cannot fix your issues, its workers will have to calm the customer down a bit because the trip is spoiled a little. What is important for customers: report any difficulties immediately, document them, and ask the travel agency to remedy the deficiencies. Anyone who complains at home is too late.
The situation is different for travelers who have booked the journey by themselves or only receives individual services. Thus, you must try to find a solution yourself with the help of local providers.
Scenario 3: The Organizer Goes Bankrupt
Usually, customers have to pay for bookings in advance. The law, therefore, obliges tour operators to protect these funds from bankruptcy and insolvency. If a travel agent runs into financial difficulties, then customers don't have to struggle with their bankruptcy — they get paid by the guarantee fund.