Booking travel online is big business these days and on the plus side puts a lot of power in the hands of the consumer to reserve their own travel arrangements. But it’s critical you know 5 things to get the best deal and discount available. So before you begin your travel research and booking online read this article.
ALL TRAVEL WEB SITES ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL
When booking travel online they’re two types you can use: the traditional travel web sites such as Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity, and what are being called these days Travel Search Engines, which include SideStep and Kayak.
The main difference is in the search capability. A travel web site like Orbitz only searches its own database of available flights, hotel rooms, and car rentals. So the search is restrictive. But you’ll get more search features and booking travel services offered at these sites.
At travel search engines such as SideStep, the results will include selections from airline sites, travel web sites, and other databases containing flight, room and car rental availability. The drawback is a more “spartan” search capability, and you won’t get many of the cool features you’ll find at a travel web site.
IT REALLY DOES PAY TO COMPARE AS MANY AND AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN
If you want the cheapest fare or room, always check out multiple sites before booking travel online. Many travel web sites 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 often.
TRAVEL WEB SITES DON’T ALWAYS GET THE BEST DEAL
Because of the competitiveness of the travel industry these days here’s another worthwhile step to take before you press that “submit” button at your chosen online booking site… hop over for a final check at the airline, hotel, or car rental company web site for any special offers or lower rates you may get if you book directly. Sometimes the best deals are reserved for their own online customers or preferred clients, and you’ll even avoid fees.