With the availability of a lot of information on the internet today, people can easily research, plan and book your vacation from the comfort of your home. But of course this is not news. What’s changed is the way people get information and place an order.
There are various types of information that can be used to get complete and objective ideas about their goals online, including:
Ratings and reviews from real travelers on the travel portal
Blogs and forums from experienced travelers, discussing certain topics
‘Insider’ photos and videos
Satellite imagery and interactive maps, to assess proximity to beaches, attractions, restaurants, etc.
Opinions from contacts on social networking sites, where the credibility of the review is probably the highest
These are some of the resources tourists use to measure vacation choices that best suit their budget and tastes. This results in a more informed journey, and more information means better preparedness, which in turn maximizes the enjoyment of your vacation.
With this information, travelers can book services such as flights, hotels and tours directly with the service provider, which has several benefits as mentioned below. This challenges the need for intermediaries or agents, even online agents, where adding value is questioned. This has been very relevant in recent times where almost all operators in the tourism industry offer their services directly to the public through their online channels.
The benefits of booking directly with a service provider include:
Lower costs, because there are no commissions or fees that must be paid by the provider or customer to the intermediary.
Elimination of bias – Brokers will naturally tend to choose providers that offer the highest commissions in the market, and can influence perceptions about the offer / quality of service that is appropriate.
More and more hotels, airlines and services offer the best deals (even guaranteed best prices) when booking directly with the provider itself.
Increased reliability, due to direct confirmation with service providers; there is no additional agency interface to deal with, with the possibility of loss of communication between the agency and the service provider.
Less costs and risks in terms of cancellations and modifications – in many cases intermediaries will incur additional ‘processing fees’ for changes in travel plans.
Favorable payment terms – Most agents require advance payment, whereas you can have the option to pay at the time of service completion when dealing directly with the provider (eg renting a car, hotel)
So the only thing left is the best source of information out there, and while different sites and blogs can be found easily on the internet, credibility must be assessed to ensure that it is not the providers themselves who cast their minds, or worse still , a competitor unfairly knocks on the operator. After this is done, making the booking itself becomes a simple administrative task, and you can be sure that your decision is made under the right combination of accurate information, lowest costs and minimal risk.