The secret is- those who book directly with the supplier are paying for something they are not getting- the services of a professional travel consultant. You are going to pay an agent fee or commission when you book directly because it is always built into the price of any brochure program. Tour operators, cruise lines and top hotels in particular, love when you book direct because a large portion of that agent commission simply goes directly into their pocket! A good agent has your best interests at heart (they want a repeat customer); they will look out for further discounts for you; and will be there for you in an emergency (think volcano in Iceland). A good agent will compare various travel companies; will advise on the best product to meet your needs; point out advantages and disadvantages of your options; analyze your travel insurance needs, and provide personal service. On the price side, you will never receive better pricing on any online site. A connected agent will have as good or better pricing than you will see on any direct booking site. So, get unbiased travel advice and expertise from a good agent- you’re paying for it!