“Why should I use travel agents?” is question most of us have asked ourselves. In today’s digital age where there exists an overwhelming number of sources for travel information (the Internet, cable television, newspapers, magazines, guidebooks, etc.), it’s no wonder that you are confused about booking your next holiday. All those offers of “Cheap hotels”, “cheap flights”, “travel discounts” tempt you to organize your holiday, but is it really that easy? What if your flight gets cancelled, your hotel is overbooked, or the stunning ocean view turns out to be a stunning rock? How about transport to get your low-cost flight or to your discounted hotel?
When you work hard the entire year, you want a seamless experience when you go on holiday. Travel agents work tirelessly to iron out all those wrinkles who work tirelessly to ensure that guests have a memorable experience.
That’s why we, the Yululate blogging team, decided as our first blog, to highlight the unsung heroes of the travel world here in Africa – the travel agents. We would like you to meet some top rated travel agents on Yululate so that you can see that planning a trip does not have to be confusing and time consuming. Travel agents actually help you save money with early bookings, special fares and hotel deals that you would never have been able to find out about.
As we talked with some them, one of the sentiments that became clear is that each of the agents values relationships. They want to learn about interests and lifestyle, your needs as and disposition. Take for instance, Zakale Expeditions, who plan safaris all across Kenya. By engaging and knowing their clients, they are able to come up with an itinerary that creates a ‘unique travel experience which will appeal to a consumer on an emotional level and inspire them to share that experience with others.’ Victor Wahome, Director of Zakale Expeditions
By continuing to nurture a solid relationship with their clients, Zakale Expeditions provides highly personalised services by always being ‘focused on building a real connection with our clients, so knowing exactly what their needs and requirements are becomes our utmost objective.’ Victor Wahome, Director of Zakale Expeditions). Zakale Expeditions will not only work with you to do everything they can to meet your travel needs but also they don’t hesitate to go the extra mile to work with the hotels to request for further room upgrades and special treatments (at no additional costs to you) such as planning and organizing popping the question to your special someone ;).
Not only do travel agents build solid relationships with their clients but as the travel industry grows more competitive, agencies have to increase their quality and type of services they offer. Discover Kenya Safaris has witnessed the rise in the industry since the 1960s when the founders opened their very first agency– 50 years ago! Providing quality service to their loyal customers means that they are always going over and above what is required of them to ensure that every aspect of the safari is reviewed by three members of their team ‘the driver/guide who will be with the client every step of the way, the tour consultant who put together the program, and one of our directors. All three comprehensively go over every detail to ensure that all arrangements are secure, efficient and enjoyable.’ Sadru Chandani Director of Discover Kenya Safaris,
And even when they meticulously plan out the entire trip, the agents at Discover Kenya always know how to handle a crises situation so that even when one of their clients fell badly ill on a Christmas morning while staying at Mount Kenya Safari Club, they knew exactly how to handle the situation. The guest, a young lady, visiting from London, fearing the worst, decided that she needed to be brought back from Nanyuki as soon as possible. One call to the agents at Discover Safaris and a plane…yes you read that right, a whole plane – just for her, was organized, so that she could be flown back to Nairobi within a few hours of her request – a Christmas morning, the young lady will never forget.
It is this kind of service and extra care of their clients which has enabled Discover Kenya to survive the tremors in the travel industry that Kenya has recently faced. They solely rely on repeat clients who have been highly impressed with their service and they hope that their loyal clients will continue to review their services on Yululate.com so that others will find out about them and start to use their service.
By continuously going over and above what is required of them, each of the travel agents have created a niche market within their travel world with a dedicated and loyal customer following. It is this unique market that Francis, the Director at Enhols, who was living in Japan for 10 years till 2010, decided to create a website to answer the many questions his Japanese colleagues were asking him about Kenya, he decided to create a website that would answer all their questions and have all the information they needed to find. 5 years later – the online travel agency at Enhols started.
A web based travel agency that has monopolized on the power of technology to reach their target clientele, Enhols prides itself with its strong on line presence. As long as someone is online looking for a hotel, they want to be found and hence are “constantly looking to see how we can improve our presence online to make sure that clients will land at our website and that they will find what they are looking for. We also make a point of visiting hotels around the country so that when we recommend them to clients, we are sure of where we are sending them. We pride ourselves in not just sending our clients anywhere. Sophie Ndungi, Manager at Enhols
As Enhols has built a relationship with most of the hotels in Kenya they offer a variety of options to the clients so that clients can pick and choose hotels which they think fit their needs. Enhols offers discounts to repeat clients as a way of showing their thank you to their loyal customers. One of their key to success so far has always been to keep their clients informed and updated with their itinerary so that ‘if there is a problem, we are not telling them much later when they are already upset or inconvenienced. Sophie Ndungi, Manager at Enhols.
The common factor among all three of these travel agents is their desire to work for their client in ensuring their client’s satisfaction and providing solutions to sticky problems. All of them are seeing growing demand from locals for holiday travel but still find that the local market has a myth that travel agents only offer expensive holidays and cater to foreign tourists. This is far from the truth. The reality is that the agents we highlighted, after listening to your needs and wishes, custom design packages to suit every kind of budget. So not only can they organize conventional hotels and flights, they also offer travel insurance and unique adventures, customized to client taste and budget.
“Why should I use a travel agent?”
I hope we have answered your question! We would love to hear your experiences with travel agents here. What are some of the best (and not so good) moments you have had with them?