If you've decided
to use a Turkish travel agency for
help in arranging your trip, here's
what you need to know to get
the most out of the partnership for the least cost.
A travel agency makes
reservations and bookings for travel
services such as flights, hotels, tours,
yacht cruises, guides and rental cars.
It also helps individual travelers to plan the itineraries they want, just as they would plan themselves, but with help to answer questions, anticipate and avoid problems, and be available for changes and challenges while the travelers are on the road in Turkey.
Your travel agent is usually available all the time to help you, often 24 hours a day, with no time limit. But travel agencies don't work
for free. They are paid commissions by
hotels, airlines, car rental companies
and other companies that provide
the services which the travel agency
reserves for you. Generally, the commissions come out of the normal price for the service, so you pay no more than you would if you booked the service yourself.
but may be around 10% or 15% of the
normal price for the service. So
if a hotel room is advertised for TL150, and you book it yourself, you will pay the hotel TL150. If a travel agency reserves the hotel
room for you, you pay the travel agency TL150, the travel agency keeps TL15
to TL20 and sends the balance (TL135 or TL140) to the hotel.
Why would a hotel take less than its normal price for a room? Because it wants to fill as many rooms as possible each night. (A hotel room that goes empty at night earns nothing. An occupied room earning TL135 or TL140 is much better!) The hotel is happy to have the travel agency send clients to occupy its rooms.
That's why you may not
save money by making the reservations
yourself, because travel
businesses don't like to lower their
retail prices. If you make the hotel
reservation yourself, chances are
that you'll still pay TL150
for that hotel room,
keep the total amount.
Indeed, in some cases a tour operator
or travel agency may negotiate bulk
rates for rooms at that hotel,
and may be able to sell you the room
(earning a TL13
price than you could get yourself.
Agencies often work closely with particular,
trusted hotels that have a record of
satisfying their clients. If you want
a reservation at a particular hotel
that the agency does not customarily
work with, you may want to make that
reservation on your own.
If you're planning plane
travel within Turkey and
you buy your ticket from a travel
agency outside of Turkey, you
may pay twice as much for
it as you would if you bought it
from an agency in Turkey. Here's how it works.
That's just how international airfares
are set—a good reason
to use a good
Turkish travel agency. An agency
within Turkey can get the ticket at domestic—not
international— rates, and can also arrange
airport shuttles and transfers.
travel agents love
booking trips and working with people,
and they often give extra
which they may earn no money, such
as re-booking cancelled flights for
you, sorting out missing
hotel reservations, or helping
out in case of illness. My recommended
travel agencies' staff all speak fluent
English and often several other languages
(French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German,
Japanese) as well, and they can usually arrange for private guides speaking almost any language.
Keep in mind that travel agencies are businesses. They cannot
afford to work for nothing.
If you buy only a TL50
cheap flight, and the agency earns
only a TL5
commission, they simply cannot spend
hours helping you to plan your trip.
They'll go bankrupt.
If you plan to use a travel agency,
it's best (if possible) to ask
only one agency to
do everything you want done,
rather than asking various agencies
to arrange various parts of your trip.
You become a more valuable
client to the agency,
they can afford to provide more help
(including providing some services
for free that they might normall charge
for), and they'll have a better
all aspects of your trip and can often
make it run smoother, especially if you need to make changes.
And it's simpler for you.
Some travelers ask several
agencies to quote prices for the same trip in
order to compare. It makes sense, but agencies rarely quote individual prices because of confidential arrangements with service providers. They charge by the complete trip.
You may wish to ask several agencies to quote a total price for a trip, but if an agency cannot be sure a traveler will use their services, they may not spend all the time and trouble it takes to plan an individual trip. They may give you an estimated price, or price range, but the final price will be determined by exactly which services you require for particular dates.
Many agencies are happy to help with unprofitable
services in exchange for
a reasonable service fee.
For example, many airlines no
longer pay commissions to agencies,
so if you ask a travel agency to
do nothing more than book an airline
ticket, they may add a fee (perhaps
to the ticket price to pay for their
time, effort and expenses.
You used to pay this service fee to
the airline (it was hidden in the price
of your ticket), which then paid it
to the travel agency. Now you pay it
directly to the agency. No big difference.
You're still paying for the useful
service you receive from the agency.
Here are my recommended travel
Here's how to decide if you need a
how to check a Turkish travel agency to
see if it's legitimate.