We spoke to Karen from established, local family-focused travel agent, TRAVEL MATTERS to bust some myths on using a travel agent & to understand the benefits vs. doing it yourself online …
Tell us a bit about you & why you set up Travel Matters?
I set up the travel agency 20 years ago. I had extensive travelling experience around Europe especially and had worked overseas gaining knowledge of places to visit. I was very keen to share my knowledge and enthusiasm with others so decided to set up my own business.
Essentially, it was to provide a service for others who had busy lives with juggling families with working life and did not have much time on their hands, in choosing suitable holiday destinations and family friendly accommodation worldwide.
Does it cost more to book through a travel agent?
It should not cost any more to book through a travel agent. They exist to add value to your holiday experience. The holiday experience and enjoyment should begin from when you start to plan the holiday. We have many contacts with various hoteliers and travel specialists around the world so where we can use our network and contacts for a customer’s benefit, we do – whether that is in the way of room upgrades or VIP treatment, complimentary lounge passes – various “add ons” to make the overall cost of the holiday a worthwhile reason for using Travel Matters.
Can travel agents secure better deals than a layman?
We are proud of the relationships we have with particular hoteliers around the world and collaborate with them on exclusive offers for our clients at different times of the year. We enjoy securing ‘added value’ for our customers – it makes our jobs really satisfying as well as having satisfied clients who come back to us and recommend our services to their friends.
What are the things to look out for when booking a family holiday?
Most importantly you need to check out the room configuration or ensure that rooms are going to be interconnecting or guaranteed next door. You will want to check if rooms have terraces or balconies. You need to double check on whether the rooms are large enough to have a cot in them. When travelling in a private car or hiring a vehicle you should ensure you have child seats organised. With flights, although you could get cheaper flight seats on certain airlines and routes, it is always good to consider the more civilised timings when travelling with the children.
Is there a type of holiday where the benefits of using a travel agent are greatest & why?
I would say when organising a “multi – centre” holiday or a self driving tour. It is very complicated and time consuming to try and organise that alone. These days more and more people visit a country or a region and explore different areas of that destination. That might mean sourcing four or five different types of accommodation and not really knowing the driving distances and how long you need in each area in the first place. Insightful knowledge is key!
How do we get in touch & how does it all work?
Just give us a call or email (020 8675 7878 / email@example.com) or drop in and visit us. Travel Matters is open from Monday to Friday 09.30 to 5.30pm. You can email us your ideas although we prefer conversation either on the phone or in person to really understand your holiday choices and preferences before we start any work for you.
Can you tell us about your ‘Make Travel Matter’ initiative?
This campaign started about nine years ago when I was having a wonderful trip in India. I was on a boat on the River Ganges and I prayed for wisdom of how I could give back to the industry, which had served me so well. From then, I set up an awareness campaign of educating people how their travel could make a positive contribution to the destinations and the people they visit when on holiday – so www.maketravelmatter.co.uk – was developed.
Travel Matters is offering Clapham Mums cardholders £50 off their travel booking, contact Travel Matters to book your trip and redeem your offer.
Travel Matters Shop : 10 Blandfield Road (off Nightingale Lane) London SW12 8BG
Phone: 020 8675 7878