Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Why do companies use Travel Agencies?

I just booked my next business trip. Out of curiosity and I looked up flights on farecompare.com. Just as I suspected. The same flight on the same airline is cheaper if I booked it myself.

It’s the same story for the hotel. If I booked through the travel agent the rate is about 30% cheaper than the going rate. However, because of the relationship that location has with our company and my long period of stay, my project manager was able to negotiate a rate $20 less than the travel agent rate.

This is not the first time this has happened. Most of my trips could be cheaper if I didn’t book with the travel agent.

Why? Why? Not let us book on our own in cases when rates are cheaper than the travel agency? My coworker pointed out that our company could be under contract to book all our travel with the agency.

I can understand that. In return for that commitment we should be guaranteed lower cost right? Probably that is the deal. But since there is nobody to audit the agency rates they can pretty much charge whatever they want.

Oh yes, I forget. They also charge a fee for booking the hotel. When I can just pick up the phone and book it for free! I shake my head at the waste of money. However, as I have very little chance of getting reimbursed if I book things myself I’m going with the travel agency.