With the world now becomes a global market place, travel is increasingly turning into the number one activity that people do on a regular basis. Equipped with rapid internet penetration at travel destinations around the world, people are making travel arrangement online.
Websites such as priceline.com, travelocity.com and cheaptickets.com all of sudden attract high interest to savvy travelers who are looking to plan their travel at convenience.
Besides the above three travel websites, there are numerous sites that specialize into different market niches.
Like the old saying ‘don’t put all your eggs into the same basket,’ selecting one travel website for all your travel needs is unnecessary. You should find the best site that meets your objective. After all, competition is always good for customers.
What question should you ask yourself before jumping into the one travel website? Here are a few criteria that you should consider when selecting travel websites:
If you take a step aback a little bit and ask yourself your current travel situation, you should be able to find out what the real goal is at that time.
For example, if during holiday you unexpectedly receive news that one of your close relatives just passed away and you need to be there the fastest way possible, how do you make your travel arrangement?
Would you still go to priceline.com and bid for the lowest fare – or hit for ticket at lastminute.com right away? Priceline.com specializes in the lowest fare on bidding situation, so it will take a certain while to get the best deal. However, if you go to lastminute.com, you will be able to get the lowest fare at the last minute.
Under other circumstances, bidding through priceline.com can be more desirable than lastminute.com.
Forget about purchasing directly from the airline company. It costs more for them to serve your purchase – customer support, advertising, maintenance and all the sales overhead are incurred to fulfil your purchase. This translates to higher ticket price for customers.
On the other hand, travel websites acting as ticket middlemen purchased tickets at wholesale price. They are in competition with other travel websites to attract you to their websites. More competition translates to a better pocket for customers.
Next tip is about the country you are visiting. Each country has a specialized or national travel websites that cater to foreigners.
For example, if you travel to the Great Britain or Paris, the national travel association offers unlimited entry pass to visit a multitude of attractions at one price. If don’t know about this offer and purchase tickets at a number of independent websites, you are guaranteed to spend more money, time and hassle.
On other occasions, if you travel to unfamiliar developing countries where infrastructure is not as adequate, it is better to make your arrangement via a trusted national agency who has long been in business.
Purchasing online is essentially the same as purchasing offline. The difference is security and convenience. Now that you are aware of the convenience, I will explain about security.
Online travel websites need to be secure and trustworthy. I am not talking about fraud only. From handling promotion, sales process to customer support, the company needs to be able to demonstrate its strength in doing business online.
I would typically look for Better Business Bureau (BBB) sign, investigate how long they have been in business, what guarantee, terms and conditions that the company holds before landing on one travel website.
Another indication is browsing through customer testimonials. Although they might be orchestrated, reading testimonials is a great way to understand the products and services of the company.
For budget-conscious customers, saving money on flight is definitely a win. The best advice is to plan your travel way in advance. Take advantage of pricing comparison websites or recurring promotions from each travel websites.
However, if you are on a time or budget constraint, knowing what website to baseline from will be beneficial. Again depending on your situation, I would recommend you start with priceline.com and bid for the lowest price. In parallel, you would go to special niches websites such as lastminute.com to shop around for ticket pricing.
For business flyers though, they are prepared to pay a higher fee for their ticket price. Business customers usually fly during weekdays and make last minute arrangements. The airline companies know this – that’s why last minute tickets are costly.
The last important factor to select the best travel websites is how unique they are, compared with other websites.
Some websites are more user-friendly and informative; some others are very clunky yet professional. Finding what makes each website ticks will play well in your decision.
Availability of travel guide or blog is also crucial in my opinion. It shows that the company cares enough not only to sell the best priced tickets, but also the best total value experience.
In conclusion, selecting travel websites that suit your particular travel situation is important. Due to a heightened competition, customers will find the best value to their dream travel experience. Taking the time to understand which website is good at which niche will be beneficial in both short and long run.