It seems that anyone can be a pro these days. Need to know how to change your oil? Watch a YouTube video. Curious which restaurant is best for fresh sushi? Yelp it. Wondering which airline still serves free food? Type it into Google. With so much knowledge at our fingertips, it seems that everyone has become an expert at things we used to need professionals for. While figuring things out on your own is cool for certain things- like learning a new recipe or DIY (do it yourself) projects- when it comes to travel, the internet just doesn’t cut it quite like a real person. To travel right, you need professionals.

The internet has taken over every aspect of what travel used to mean, from finding flights to booking hotels to comparing activities to renting a convertible. But these internet services all rely heavily on recommendations and reviews from other people. Since the online travel agencies (OTA’s) don’t know much about travel themselves, they depend on tips from those that (claim they) do.

Most of us are under the impression that ‘the internet knows best’ too. But you wouldn’t replace your doctor for the internet, right? So why replace your travel agent? Why are we convinced that the internet is the best place to do anything and everything?

It is true that many people were choosing to book their vacations on their own before the internet became so handy. But in an increasingly unpersonalized world, there’s seems to be a new trend taking place. Personalized service. We’ve made a complete 360-degree turn. Finding a real person behind the service, and more importantly finding the personalized touch behind customer service has taken a forefront for many travelers again. They just want to talk to a live person who knows what they’re talking about!

Why? Because customer service used to mean something. A warm smile, eager assistance and a genuine desire to help wasn’t rewarded, it was expected. And it meant repeat clients and better business. Being knowledgeable in the field was important too. Now with the internet, we’ve removed the need to deal with a live person for customer service, therefore businesses don’t even have to be well-versed in customer service! Automated phone lines, help chat rooms and conversation threads have replaced live customer service agents, and I think many consumers are starting to really find it frustrating. How many times have you looked at a company’s website for a customer service phone number only to realize it doesn’t exist? Many OTA’s require you fill out a request form for customer service, instead of providing clients with a direct number for help.

This is especially true for travel. I can’t think of anything more frustrating than having to deal with an OTA like Expedia or Traveolcity during a stressful situation. Need to change your ticket because you booked the wrong date? Looking to switch from a king bed to two doubles for your business trip? Did you miss your connecting inter island flight? In these types of scenarios, the last thing people want to deal with is an unenthusiastic, disconnected representative that lives in a different state, or even a different country. When spam hits the fan, you want to be sure you have a dedicated person helping you sort things out.

Sick of my rant? Then listen to my advice. Book your vacations local. Do business with the local companies and agents that live in the vacation destination you seek. Who better than a local to explain the ins and outs of booking a vacation, and then to help you once you arrive? Which brings me to my next point… online recommendations.

The content that is published online has no boundaries and no barriers. Anyone can post anything. So when it comes to recommendations about hotels, restaurants or activities, chances are you’re not getting a review from a local. It’s true that Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews can prove to be helpful, but they tend to be based on only one experience, and probably aren’t as useful as if you were talking to a knowledgeable resident. Which is why Hawaii Aloha Travel prides itself on being based in Hawaii and using only local agents. Because locals know best!

If you’re planning a trip to the Islands, then I highly recommend speaking with a travel agent from Hawaii Aloha. Not only is each agent a resident of the Aloha state, but most of them are born and raised here, and eager to share their local knowledge with clients. These agents can tell you where to find the most romantic restaurants in Waikiki, how to navigate the Hana Highway best, when the ideal seasons are for all ocean activities, which food truck is most authentic, where to find the nightlife of each island, which beach is best for babies, what hotel accommodates kids best and so much more.

It’s worth a try, right? Plan your next vacation with Hawaii Aloha Travel and you’ll be happy as a clam. Or a sunrise scallop. I guarantee you will get personalized service from real people who live right here in Hawaii. From finding the best deals on airfare and hotel room upgrades to pointing you in the right direction for romance or family-friendly activities, Hawaii Aloha Travel is real. They bring it back to the basics. Good, friendly customer service. Personalized vacations. Reputable recommendations. Hawaii’s experts since the start of the 21st century.

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