by Jackie Davis
The whole world is now just a click away!
Booking travel online has never been easier, internet spending on travel is nearly 50% of ALL internet purchases, so it’s HUGE business!!.
This move to internet booking & away from the traditional travel agencies has placed a lot of power in the hands of the consumer to make their own decisions & reserve their own travel arrangements.
However, in this new age of internet traveling choice it’s really important that you are “savvy” to the in’s & out’s of the industry inorder to get the very best deals and discounts available.
So before you race ahead onto the internet, just take a little time to read this article, which should help you considerably.
*ALL Travel Websites are the Same!:
NO, there are two distinct groups you can use;
1: traditional travel web sites such as Expedia, Orbitz,Ebookers and Travelocity.
2: travel search engines, which include SideStep and Kayak.
The main difference between the two groups is in the search capabilities offered. Travel web sites like Orbitz only searches its OWN database of available flights, hotel rooms, and car rentals. So the searches are more restrictive, but you’ll get more search features and booking travelservices offered at these sites, but NOT necessarily the very best deals!.
At the travel search engines such as SideStep, the results will include selections from multiple airline sites, travel web sites, and other databases containing flight, room and car rental availability.
The only negative associated with this is that it’s a more “spartan” search capability, and you won’t get many of the “bells & whistles” you’ll find at a travel web site, BUT potentially you will get the best possible deal!.
* Does it REALLY Pay to Shop Around?:
YES, if you want the very cheapest fare or room, ALWAYS check out multiple websites before booking travel online. Many travel websites negotiate and purchase large blocks of fares and rooms directly from airlines and hotels, and then pass the savings onto consumers.
But because the reduction varies between sites, the quoted rate for the same seat on a flight, or room in a hotel, can vary dramatically… and many times from day-to-day.
So it not only pays to check and compare other sites, but if you’ve the time, to do it regularly.
Do Travel Websites / Search Engines ALWAYS Get the Best Deals?:
NO,even with the incredible competitiveness of the travel industry there are still further savings to be made by adding a step into the purchasing process. You have found a good deal on a flight, hotel or car – BUT, hold-on, just before you click the “submit” button, print off all the exact details, and do one more check DIRECTLY with the chosen airline, hotel or car rental company quite often by checking their websites DIRECTLY you can pick up the “best deals” reserved specifically for their own websites, it’s certainly worth the time & effort!.
* What’s the REAL Cost of Booking through an Online TravelWebsite?:
Whenever you book ANY aspect of travel through any kind of travel web sites usually involves a service fee. In most instances it’s not outrageous and is usually between $5-$10 per ticket or booking, if the fees are higher than this, ask the question why they are so high & negotiate, it’s your hard earned money & you have the right to the very best lowest cost deals possible!.
Whereas typically the booking fees are usually reasonable, the “smallprint” that surrounds the “transfer fees” needs to be fully understood, as if you try to either change or completely cancel your booking it can cost you $100’s AFTER you have confirmed everything, along with the costs you will also have to spend countless hours by phone trying to get a refund or changes authorised.
The travel search engines make money from paid advertising and a referral fee from the airlines or hotels, so usually you don’t pay a fee when using them to book. But this is changing so always check for fee disclosure before booking.
Generally, the fees should never be hidden from you, but in a rush to book you may easily overlook a charge that wasn’t obvious before. The profit margins for online travel sites are low, and they can be very creative in their fee structure if you don’t pay close attention.
* What is “The Hidden Link”?:
Many of the prominent travel websites now also contain a link that allows you to join their particular “affiliate program”, it’s usually tucked away somewhere near the foot of the page & joining is typically free.You may need to search a little for it, as often they are very well hidden.
As an affiliate to their travel website you can earn a small commission for everybody you refer to them that purchases a ticket, reserves a room, or rents a car!, but before you plan giving up the day job, you would need to send literally thousands of prospects to them to make a reasonable return.
The REAL reason to consider becoming an affiliate is that most sites will allow you to purchase your own tickets and still get paid the commission, which is effectively a DISCOUNT. Just make sure to check the “smallprint” to ensure they allow this practice & how they will reimburse you.
As the whole internet develops at break-neck speed, their are new players arriving on the internet travel scene all the time, but hopefully armed with these tips you’ll be better prepared to navigate through the maze to the very best deals for you!.