The dangers of seeking anonymous travel advice | TravelResearchOnline

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The dangers of seeking anonymous travel advice

Sometimes after looking for some online resources, I leave just shaking my head–or as the kids say now, SMH. Recently I was reading a travel forum last week and came across one that specialized in beach resorts. What struck me was the questions that were being asked. 

What struck me was the questions. I know the old adage about there not being any stupid questions; but I might suggest a corollary that there are plenty of incomplete ones!

  • Which resort has a nice beach?
  • Who has a great pool?
  • Where can I rent a bungalow on the beach?

With no qualifying statements or details, how could any travel professional  give any acceptable answers? They couldn’t, the answers were subjective and very well could have represented properties or amenities and locations that were miles apart from the experience the original poster had envisioned.

I was discouraged that these people were possibly about to make a very important decision by listening to complete strangers on an obscure Internet site who may or may not have any experience. In essence, they are trusting an anonymous person whois the self-procalaimed “Queen of Travel.”

I am always eager to see where these conversations will go. And,with some amount of fascination, I read on. I regained my faith for a minute when a poster  began to talk about uncertainty in the choices she had for her honeymoon; but that she felt OK because she knew her travel agent would have these answers and would find just the right resort for her and her new husband!

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It was here where I probably should’ve stopped reading; but like any good train wreck…

I read just a little bit more. Here is the advice given to a woman looking for the perfect honeymoon on the beach.

“I would ditch the travel agent and book everything online by myself, as easy as it has become, even a Chimpanzee could do it.”

I know that there are a huge number of people who will never call a travel agent. These people love the hunt. They feel like they have “won” if they think they have found a good deal on a vacation.

Often, they celebrate their victory right up to the point before they realize they booked a red eye and a connection so short that it can’t be done. The Rocky Balboa dance will continue until they find out they booked the room over the kitchen with one window facing the dumpster or the cabin under the all-night disco.  What is their recourse?  They have none–after all they got a good deal! Right?

I had had enough of the train wreck and left without chiming in. It was probably for the best. I can only pray that the bride to be understood the perils of listening to online advice. I hope that her gut instincts told her that she was not dealing with “travel royalty” and that she sought a professional. I hope her gut instincts told her the need to invest in someone who is really “in the know.” I can hope!

Carla Boscarino is the owner of Beaches and Boats Travel located in Houston, Texas.  They specialize in planning unique and custom anniversaries, birthdays, romantic getaways, honeymoons and family holidays.

  One thought on “The dangers of seeking anonymous travel advice

  1. David Holman says:

    Something all of us who use social media run in to every day. I, personally, make it my mission to pump travel agents at every opportunity. My response to the person telling them to book on their own would have been “Yes, but how many chimpanzees have pesonally inspected the property, and will call the resort and speak with the manager to make sure you get the best room? Sorry, but there is simply no downside to letting a professional travel agent book your travel, and a lot of upside potential, like better prices, personal service, and an advocate in your corner if something does go awry before, during or after your vacation.”

    Relentlessly promoting the value of travel agents needs to be EVERYONE’S mission!

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