Sick of computers saying “no”, more than half of internet users decided to book their
own holiday last year, and more than half of them did it at work. The online holiday industry is booming; highstreet agencies are moving online and lower overheads
mean more new agencies starting up than ever before.
Better broadband connections, cheaper computers and mobile internet means only 9% of internet users still choose to book on the high street. The industry is worth billions and sites like Lastminute.com and Expedia are household names, but according to the holiday makers, price is not the bottom dollar.
According to the forums, the benefits are convenience, freedom and trust. In the past hotels were booked on the ratings travel operators gave them, now it’s about how they treat the people, not the VIPs. Not only is the customer now the agent, but they’re also the critic and photographs, blog posts, amateur videos of building sites under balconies and the 911 on the buffet are all out there to be found.
And DIY has a big impact on the price. Which? magazine recently reported price differences of up to 500 between brochure and online quotes… with the same operator. Competition is so tight the value added extras like free nights, breakfasts and transfers are becoming standard and if you want no frills sun it’s probably cheaper to have a week on The Med than the south coast of England.
The industry has adapted well, investing in secure booking systems and top grade websites with galleries and virtual tours. Clients create their own pick and mix trips from a wealth of material, at their fingers tips, in their own home. You could get nostalgic about not thumbing through holiday brochures, but online bookings allow spontaneity, impulsiveness and above all the sense freedom a traveller is always seeking.