In the past decade we have seen the internet slowly changing the way we travel and how we plan our holidays. The revolution have changed the horizons of the travel and service industry. Information is at your fingertips and you really don’t rely on anyone to get your things done. Gone are the days where you call up your local travel agent to book flights and to make hotel reservations. You have a huge array of online travel agents competing to be first in the search results with best possible rates, under cutting each other. Again you have another bunch of Meta search engines, that scan the rates from multiple OTAs and gives you the best rates. The booking process have become so simple that you just need to use your credit or debit card details to go through the hassle free payment gateways. Yes, the booking is through and you have it in your mobile phone to show at the time of check inn. Business travel has gone so simple, fast and convenient.
however, did you really find it so easy to plan and book your holiday the same way you planned your last trip for that business conference? There are hundreds of tour operators operating with websites trying to reach the customers through ads and search engine campaigns and optimization programs. The leisure travel business is still not the old way and internet is helping people with information on how to plan holidays! With review sites like the TripAdvisor listing original reviews from real traveler have influenced the traveler even up to deciding the type of room that he want.
Like business travel, do these OTAs really help you in getting the right destination and the right accommodation facility that match your taste and interest? The leisure travel have multiple aspects which needs attention, like the type of destinations, the type of activities they want to get in, the type of resorts, their special requirements and needs, sometimes it is a family that has to be considered and much more. OTAs are mechanized systems where you feed data, and this information is listed in a systematic manner. There are filter systems to get the right choice of the traveler. Most OTAs work very well, if the traveler is booking just one hotel for his entire holiday, say like a beach destination for week. He plans the destination after some terrific research on the web; the review sites help him in identifying the right hotel and he makes the complete payment. He arranges a airport transfer from the hotel… Its Done! Is it really effective when one plans to connect multiple destinations and build up and itinerary?
Most travelers, who plan to connect destinations, have gone into big trouble paying much more than the original cost. They miss the right information or the most required information about the destination. Even though booking sites have their own online guides, this does not really serve the purpose during most times. I would always suggest to reply on a reliable tour operator who is very much knowledgeable about the destination or the sector. Transportation and the driver play an important role; this inevitable service is not available with most OTAs. The driver could make your tour wonderful, however at times you might go unlucky with someone who does not meet the expectations. But you always have the liberty to complain :-). OTAs have a list of offering, it is your wish to take the one you want, but the fact is, there is much more available than what is offered. And you literally do not have an option to raise your concern with an OTA. Many hotels keep the OTA customers in the bounce list when overbooked, the payment is not made as rooms are blocked against credit card, which does not work everywhere.
The travel trade is changing day by day, innovative products and solutions are hitting the market that reflects the way people travel and book travel. At the end of the day the thumb rule still remains the same, depend on a reliable tour operator for your leisure travel, specially when you are on a family holiday.