Online Holiday Booking Trends
Online shopping in the UK has taken off in the last few years and most of us now purchase items on the Internet. The most popular items to buy online are probably books and CD’s as they are fairly cheap, easy to browse online, and can easily be posted. Holidays and flights are things that also can be bought easily online but just how easy is it and is it safe to use your credit card for probably what is a high value purchase ?
Global Holidays set up its website way back in 1997 and we were probably one of the first travel agents to see the opportunity that the Internet could bring. We could see that the web offered us the opportunity to display to the world what we had on offer and we could also see that it offered us a chance to advertise our services at a lower cost. Since 1996 we had been a Teletext TV advertiser but we could see that its days were numbered because it wasn’t interactive enough and travel agents were killing it by offering holidays where prices were often out of date or even possibly deliberately under-priced.
What Independent Travel Agents can Offer
Independent travel agents have much to offer the purchaser of a holiday. They have access to a wider number of travel services. For example, we can use the services of hundreds of niche and general tour operators. More importantly, good independent travel agents are passionate about what they do and genuinely do want to find you the best holiday to suit your needs and at the best price. By not using a travel agent you may well miss out on the best deals as they have the technology to help you match your holiday requirements and in a fraction of the time it will take most other people.
What the Large Online Companies Can’t Offer
Whilst the large companies have a big online presence they don’t offer the same range of holidays and they are large impersonal organisations that struggle to offer good customer service. These companies might be ok to deal with if all you want is a simple cheap holiday and you know where you want to go, but if you want some personal advice then you will need to speak to a good travel agent.
What’s Best for Complicated Holiday Itineraries
As more of us want to travel to evermore exotic destinations and have a holiday in 2 or 3 destinations at the same time then this is where booking a holiday online become virtually impossible. This is when a good travel agent can save you hours of time and offer advice on exactly where to stay. Bear in mind that travel agents often know where the best place to stay is and have been using these same hotels for years. They are tried and tested and it beats taking a punt yourself based on any unreliable online reviews you may have read.
Package Holiday Versus DIY Packages
Surveys have suggested that 30% of people still feel safer booking a package holiday online rather than booking a flight and separate accommodation. With the demise of several airlines over the last 12 months or so consumers are right to be wary of booking separate components of a holiday. Remember that if anythings goes wrong with the flight like the flight being cancelled then you might be left with a hotel or apartment that you have paid for but can’t use. If this happens with a package holiday then you won’t be left in this situation as you will be entitled to a full refund.
Our Advice When Booking an Online Holiday
If you are looking for a cheap holiday which is a single centre holiday then use the website of an independent travel agent like Global Holidays or a specialist company if it’s something like a Nile cruise that you are looking for.If you are looking for a more complicated holiday itinerary then do some research to get an idea of what might be feasible and then call to speak to an experienced travel agent who will offer you advice and work out the best price for you.
Prices on the Internet
Cheapest is not always best ! You need to weigh up how much good service is worth to you. Some large online travel companies are very difficult to get through to on the telephone. If you have a problem or a query then you could find yourself in a long telephone queue on a premium rate telephone number. This is where the smaller independent agents score higher because they will provide a better telephone service. It may be worth paying just a few pounds more to get the better service.
ATOL Financial Protection
Finally, remember that if you book a package holiday with an ATOL holder or an agent for an ATOL holder then you will be financially protected should anything go wrong before you travel or whilst you are on holiday.
Should you want to speak to a good travel agent call Global Holidays on 0845 299 4450