The Elusive “Good” Indian Travel Agent

Travel to India from the US means purchasing tickets from travel agencies run by people of Indian origin in the US.  These folks clearly give you the best deals for whatever reason. The flip side though, is that customer service is virtually non-existent. Its almost impossible to get a call back from these folks.  I suspect this situation also has a lot to do with us, the customers.  Many of us are ruthless bargain hunters and would contact so many travel agents for quotes and haggle till the cows come home before deciding  on a deal. So these folks are eternally suspicious that you are about to dump them in favor of the next travel agent who is willing to give a tenny-weeny break on the price.  So its an interesting tussle, with the agent on the one hand, aggresively going for the close, while the buyer on the other, desperately heading for the door so they can evaluate “all” options before they can make the call.   The result is that the agent calls you back maybe once or twice before they determine if you are a good prospect for their business.  If you make the cut, then you might receive another call or two, else you are out of luck until you decide you want to make an actual purchase and call and explicitly express your sincere intentions.  

I suspect that the money in this business is in volumes. This means, you are likely to get a little more attention if you are purchasing tickets for a family rather than the one off ticket.  So single ticket buyers are certain to be at the bottom of the rung for already pathetic service. Of late, some travel agents have started to communicate via email. While this certainly helps, there is no doubt that the poor customer service in this business is unparalleled and almost endemic, and unlikely to change until market monopoly of these outfits is challenged by some newcomers. After over a decade of experience in dealing with these outfits, my self-learned conclusion is as follows:  They are all equally bad, stick with one agent and your loyalty is likely to be rewarded with some reasonably decent customer service!

Author: Pran Kurup

Pran Kurup is founder and CEO of Vitalect, Inc.

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