DIY Online Booking: Pros and Cons for Travelers
As the Covid-19 pandemic wanes, the travel industry is picking up again. Thankfully! Many travelers are considering how to go about planning their next big adventure. Should you book your trips directly yourself? Or should you use an online travel agency like Travelocity, Expedia, or Priceline? The number of reputable online travel agencies (OTAs) has grown over the past few years, giving consumers plenty of choices when it comes to online booking. But if you can book flights and hotels directly, why would you bother using an OTA?
In this article, I share the pros and cons of using an online travel agency. Let’s get started!
Online Travel Agency: Pros 1. Easy To Use Using an OTA is pretty straightforward. You simply go to their website, create an account, and start searching for whatever service you want. An online travel agency is a web-based marketplace for travelers.
2. Less Stress Trying to piece together a trip on your own can be difficult, but most online travel agencies now offer packages including hotel, car, and airline tickets. Booking in this manner makes it easier for you to see all of your options so you can compare costs, making the best choice for you.
3. Costs Can Be Lower Online travel agencies partner with travel brands to offer exclusive discounts to travelers. These discounts often make your trip cheaper than booking directly through hotel and airline websites.
4. Good Comparison Tools Using an online travel agency means you can easily compare the costs of flights, hotels, and other travel components. You can usually filter your search results by specific desires, such as proximity to the airport, price, star rating, and average review. 5. Plenty of Choices Online travel agencies partner with thousands of brands, which means travelers have plenty of properties, experiences, and airlines to choose from.
6. One Account for All of Your Travel Needs You can use a single online travel agency account for all of your travel needs, saving yourself the hassle of entering details each time you book something.
Online Travel Agency: Cons
1. You’re On Your Own Online travel agencies don’t provide personalized travel assistance. These agencies function more like online order-takers. If you like the security of having a professional in your corner should something go wrong during your trip, you may prefer working with a travel advisor.
2. Risk of Cybercrime As technology has evolved, so too has cybercrime. Like any online marketplace, online travel agencies have their fair share of hackers and scammers. Before purchasing anything through an online travel platform, do your due diligence to make sure the site you’re using is legitimate and secure.
3. Difficult Last-Minute Changes Always read the fine print! Most online travel agencies charge hefty fees for flight cancellations and changes to itineraries--if these options are even available at all. Using an online travel agency can be beneficial if you need something basic like an airport hotel. But if you’re looking for a positive travel experience, consider hiring a travel advisor. They are usually able to make changes to travel itineraries without charging enormous fees.
4. Limited or No Customer Support During the pandemic, did you know anyone who had difficulties cancelling or changing their travel plans booked on Expedia, Priceline, or other online travel agencies? Most of these travelers had to spend hours upon hours on hold, only to be told, “There’s nothing we can do.” What kind of service is that? When you book through an online travel agency, you risk having little to no support should your trip not go according to plan. A travel advisor, on the other hand, is available to help 24/7, and you know you’ll always reach a person!
Here at Cultivating Connections Travel Planners, I provide the personalized service that an online booking agency simply cannot offer. Are you ready to plan your most memorable vacation yet? Get in touch for a complimentary travel planning session!
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