Once upon a time, in a place not far away, but in an era long since forgotten, there was a magical thing called a full service gas station. Do you remember? People would actually come out and pump your gas for you! It may sound like just a fairy tale, but it’s true, it really did happen!
Now days, our travel agents are going the way of the full service gas station. People just don’t have time anymore, time to go in and meet with a travel agent, time to go over options, basically – they don’t have time for full service. Online travel agents are all around us now, on the internet. They are convenient, but not quite the full service “station” we are used to when making our travel plans.
What is an online travel agent? An online travel agent is more like an online booking resource. It is any website that you can go to make travel arrangements. I am sure most of you have visited a site like this. You can log in, do multiple searches for flights, hotel rooms, car rentals etc. and place your order online – very convenient!
Online travel agent bookings sites are helpful in many ways; people can explore all of their different options for travel right in one spot. If you are looking for a flight to Europe, for example, and your route is flexible, users can map out different itineraries online. Then, the user can pick which works best for them and make a decision about what they want to do. Also, the user gets exposed to options that they may not have thought of before; therefore broadening their horizons of what type of travel arrangements are available to them.
Another pro for using an online travel agent website is the wide variety of products that they offer. Not only can a customer browse airfare, car rental, and hotel options. Travel insurance, airport shuttles, and tour tickets are also available for purchase. This is very helpful to an online travel planner, as they can cover most of their travel planning needs in one visit to a website.
After booking a confirmation on a travel website, the customer will receive an email with confirmations and contact information. The information that is provided to the customer usually includes information about any E-tickets, car rental policies (or where to go to look for the policies), and provides information on what to do if the travel plans change. All of this information right at the fingertips of the travel planning consumer.
Many people wonder if booking these types of travel arrangements online is safe. Yes – it is. Websites spend a lot of time and productivity making sure that their payment systems, whether outsourced or not, are safe. It is important for their reputation to provide reliable payment systems and to maintain secure sights. Bad news travels fast, and if a website wasn’t taking care of their customers, it wouldn’t take long for the world to notice.
Taking from personal experience I have never had a problem with booking with an online travel agent. I have been booking travel online for over ten years and I can’t say that I have had one problem! I have even found that after booking my super cheap airfare on a we site, after I received my reservation information via email, it was s easy to tweak my reservation details with the actual airline after the fact. I have never had a situation where I have paid for my booking online, and had it not be legitimate when I showed up for the reservation, either. Basically, booking online with an online travel agent website is an easy, affordable, and safe way to book your travel.
Online travel agents may seem scary to some. With news about security breaches and privacy issues, I can’t blame people for being shy about booking travel plans online. I have to say though, give it a try! You are bound to have a great and educational travel planning experience. And who knows, it might even be fun!