I stumbled upon an expertly written post about the dangers of working with mega-sites such as Expedia.com to book your travel. This article is in particularly interesting, as it is written from the point of view of a boutique hotel owner, who has suffered severely under Expedia.
As a travel agent, I always encourage my clients to book with a reputable travel agent. I understand that price is an issue, and sometimes you will find a price on a site such as expedia.com or hotels.com that is lower than what an agent is quoting you, but you really have to take the time to explore why the pricing is different. The public needs to understand that travel is not a discount business. Suppliers will offer discounts and specials based on their own corporate strategy, but you have to know when and where to look. Travel Agents are not magicians, we are just here to do the research for you, and keep you in the loop of what is currently available.
The dangers of working with these travel mega-sites is that there is no one to answer your questions, deal with your problems, etc. You can call a 1-800 customer service number and be passed from person to person to person without ever getting an actual answer to your question or resolution to your problem, if you can even talk to a person at all! These companies do not operate in order to provide customer service. They operate in order to take a commission cut from the supplier itself, the customer means little to them. In fact, they can get away with offering basically nothing in the way of customer support because they can blame any issue on the hotel supplier and take none of the blame for themselves.
Okay, off my soapbox for now… Anyway, please take the time to read the article linked here. It is definitely worth the time, and will hopefully offer some insight into the real world of online travel mega-sites.
Expedia: Bad for the Traveler, Bad for the Hotel by Luna Blue’s Playazone.
- One small hotel’s long nightmare with Expedia (theverge.com)