The Travel Professor
Join me on a journey across the broad spectrum of interesting travel topics. We’ll discuss destinations domestic and abroad, some familiar and some off the beaten path. We take a look at suppliers like cruise lines, air carriers and tour operators and find their bargains and special offerings. Got questions? Email

Friday, July 18, 2008

Another good reason to use a travel agent

You've got a business meeting scheduled at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, 181 Peachtree Street NE in downtown Atlanta GA and your Internet search provided a great rate. With a few clicks the room is reserved, guaranteed to your credit card and you're all set.

Upon your arrival into Atlanta’s Hartsfield airport you retrieve your luggage and take the MARTA light rail train to the N1 downtown station. Upon exiting the train, you go toward the Ellis Street exit go up the two set of stairs or take the elevator. Once you reach Peachtree Street you turn right and the hotel is half a block on your right as the Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta is at the corner of Ellis and Peachtree streets.

There is a short line in the lobby but it moves quickly. You approach the check in counter and present the hotel agent with your printed confirmation. She greets you with the legendary Ritz Carlton smile scans your document then starts to feverishly punch the keys on her computer.

After a long day of air travel and TSA security procedures you’re ready to get to your room, lose the professional business attire and relax. After what seems like an eternity to you the professional and very pleasant customer service agent explains: “I’m sorry but your reservation is for the Ritz Carlton in Buckhead GA. That hotel is located at 3434 Peachtree Road NE we are at 181 Peachtree Street NE. I’ve checked our availability and we are very over sold so there are no rooms available here. There is no way that we can accommodate at this location. I’m so sorry. I will gladly coordinate with our Concierge and arrange transportation to our Buckhead property and they will honor your reservation.”

Awed and speechless by this declaration what do you do? Who do you have to contact to correct this error? Surely you are not going to hold the person (YOU) who booked this reservation accountable.

It’s a simple mistake between Street and Road and downtown Atlanta and Buckhead. I see this common error all the time in travel. Someone wants to fly out of Charleston WV (CRW) but instead books flight departing from CHS (Charleston SC). I do not do brakes on my car and rely on a brake specialist. When my air conditioning is not working I call my A/C guy. So yes I rely on specialists and industry professionals. I learned long ago that a 2 hour home improvement project for the handy person did not equate into the same time commitment for me. When I get out of my comfort zone I seek help. That’s why your travel professional is there-to help.

The Internet is powerful tool if used properly. Most of you have good intentions but unless you deal with the travel product daily you can make the simple errors that I’ve cited above. These can end up costing you lots of dollars, plenty of time and more importantly piece of mind.

Remember that without a travel agent you are on your own!

Happy travels and email your questions or comments to me at