Search engine giant Google whose innovative approach to Internet searching transformed the online travel industry some ten years ago has decided to enter the lucrative travel market directly with the acquisition of ITA Software who provides flight information.
It is Google’s intention to allow users to search directly for flight destinations since the ITA software can provide fares, flight and journey times. It has been reported that Google paid $700m in cash for the US based ITA Software Company which was founded back in 1996.
Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said “What we’re going to do is build new flight search tools that focus on end users.” He then when on to stress that that Google will not be selling airline tickets to clients. This may well prove to be an interesting time for the online travel industry and Google since ITA current clients include Microsoft’s comparisons website Bing Travel, Expedia and Travelport.
There is concern among regulators that Google may well have a considerable influence on flight data and would the acquisition be good for the consumer. Google have made it clear that it is their intention to work in the best interest of the consumer offering a progressive opening up of the travel marketplace. Currently, within the aviation industry there are systems in place to allow fight booking for different destinations e.g. London to Dallas via Philadelphia and a fee is paid for each segment of the journey. The fear is that Google could challenge that process making the future very interesting.
There are numerous travel sites, advisors and agents operating across the globe to provide services like booking air tickets for your vacation, accommodation, renting cars for you in the place you intend to visit and giving you suggestions about various tourist attractions and adventure activities, for example snorkeling at a Caribbean island. Good agents work on a one to one basis with every client, giving them advice, and are like a consultant between you and different travel companies. You can depend on his advice to plan your trip or for any change in travel plans, changing your reservation or any other problems you may face during your vacation. He charges a fee for all the services rendered, and that is usually a percentage of the total sum you are going to pay the travel company for the vacation instead of a flat fee for any vacation.
If you happen to like any travel advisor, you would want to take his advice for all your trips. It therefore becomes very imperative for the travel agent to offer personalized services to every client, in addition to the regular bookings, for building a strong relationship for future business. It has often been seen that people recommend their very own travel agent to their friends and relatives, especially if they get additional discounts for these recommendations. It is a good career choice for those people who get pleasure out of working with people and maintaining good interpersonal relationships.
Travel advisors have in-depth information of various places, vacation ideas and tourist attractions, and besides making reservations for the vacation, he also suggests the best time for visiting a particular place. He is also aware of the most preferred tourist places and some unusual places, away from main towns and roads for those who want an adventurous or one of a kind vacation. Quite often, they get to know deals and discounts which other people may not be aware of. It always pays to check with them before booking a vacation.
The travel advisor will solve any issues concerning visa requirements and currency exchange even after your travel itinerary has been finalized and all your reservations have been made. He can help with making a change in reservations, and propose you to take travel insurance for the vacation, should there be an unexpected illness. He can be contacted to solve any other problems that may arise during the vacation.
When using a website to book a holiday or vacation, you should consider online travel research to price the individual components, e.g. flights, car rental, hotel etc separately to make sure you are getting a good deal. Prices can vary significantly, so comparison shopping on several sites could be a distinct advantage.
If you favor a particular hotel or airline, you may be better off going directly to the hotel and/or airline of your choice to get the best deal. Also, some travel websites are unclear about their cancellations and refunds policy; therefore if you book directly with a hotel or car rental company online, you could cancel a reservation without penalty up to 24 hours in advance.
So, when it comes to searching online consider using a travel site as opposed to a search engine like Google. Google may find the best fares but a travel website offers better searching flexibility for holidays and vacation packages and in some cases they also negotiate their own deals with real travel opportunities and packaged offers.
Generally, many service providers including travel companies are guaranteeing ‘lowest prices online’ so it is a good idea to check and compare travel websites pricing with the hotel or airline website. In addition you may found incentives to book directly with a hotel or airline, e.g. air miles or popular retail vouchers.
Also, consider reading the clauses about cancellation when booking. These will vary from site to site. Rates will vary and may come with penalties and deadlines and some cases non refundable deposits. In addition to cancellation fees be aware of potential booking fees. Travel website may charge you a booking fee, where booking directly with an hotel or airline usually does not incur a fee. But be careful here, as some sites may charge you if you use a credit card.
Finally, it is worth checking individual country sites of particular internationally based online companies to compare local prices to the company’s global website. This may prove beneficial depend on your International travel plans.