The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is traditionally known as Travel Tuesday. If you are looking to book that winter getaway, that is the day you can usually find the best deal. And while hopping on the World Wide Web may be the fastest way to do that, there are still those who prefer using a travel agent. And apparently, it’s not that uncommon. Yet, with all the online competition in the travel and hotel industry, many may find it hard to believe that travel agents can still make a living.
“It’s tough,” said Glenna Clay, owner of Peggy’s Travel in Bowie. She said not only is the job tough, she had no plans to get in the travel business back in 2006.
A longtime volleyball and basketball coach in Nocona, she says she wanted to retire and get away from the pressure that sports can bring. “A friend of mine was going to sell this agency and I asked her if she wanted a partner. So, that’s how I kind of got in on it,” Clay explained.
Clay admitted travel websites can be extremely tough competition. “It’s really hard to say [to a customer]: ‘Come in here and look at an airline ticket for $300 and I’m going to charge you $330.’ They can go online and get it for less.”
But if you really want to know the quality of a certain hotel or restaurant, Clay made it clear: they do have a big advantage over many websites.
“We travel all the time. I have about six people going all the time. Therefore, I have a service I offer to you and my customers. I’ve been there.”
Aside from a select few, there aren’t many travel agencies in the area. Nevertheless, on this Travel Tuesday, we asked some people out and about if they would or have considered using a travel agent.
“It would depend on how intricate the vacation was going to be,” said Tony, a Wichita Falls resident. “If it was something I planned on being for a week or two? Absolutely.”
“I probably would use a travel agent,” pointed out Janice, also from Wichita Falls. “And we don’t have a computer at home. I work on a computer at work. I don’t want one at home.”
Preferences aside, Clay said she’ll help whoever she can. And her secret to staying in business?
“Word of mouth is the key. And I’m not saying we make everybody happy. But we work at trying to make everybody happy.”
Word of mouth is working to this day. Clay mentioned that she has clients all over the U-S, Canada and Germany.