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BOOKING ONLINE - PLEASE HELP

Travel Forums General Talk BOOKING ONLINE - PLEASE HELP

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1. Posted by christos (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y

christos has indicated that this thread is about United Kingdom

Hi everyone!

My name is Christos. I am a student at Strathclyde University and at the moment I am doing an MSc in Business Information Technology Systems. My final project is titled "Customer Relationship Management (CRM) within the Airline Industry". The aim of the project is to research and analyse what effect CRM has within the airline industry, how it is applied and how airlines are applying it. The second aim of my project is to identify how customers interact using online booking.

I would be very grateful if you could help out with my research by answering the following...

Have any of you booked online for flights / holidays?
Who with and what were the most important criteria when booking?
What did you think of their websites?
What are your experiences?
What is it you look for when you book online?
What do you think are the advantages/disadvantages?

You dont have to answer all questions!

Thanks for your time!

Christos

2. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 12y

Some answers to your questions:

1. Yes, both flights and accommodation.
2. Security, and knowing that what I book will be what I get.
3.
4. Mostly positive.
5. See answers to question 2.
6. Biggest disadvantage with flights is the inability to book numerous connecting flights; i.e. it's easy to book a flight form "x" to "y", but not easy to book a number of flights from "a" to "b" then to "c", then to "d".

Biggest disadvantge with accommodation is that there is not one single database of hotel rooms. Most web sites that let you book a room really only email the relevant hotel with the details, you are not accessing a database of available rooms.

Sorry, that's all I have cause I'm in a hurry!

3. Posted by kuschi (Budding Member 11 posts) 12y

Yes I have booked flights and holidays on line.

The most important factor for me was the price / availablity.

The website has to be easy to navigate and understand.

I Have had no problems so far from booking on line except that they are mostly ticketless airlines and the e0mails you get to print off are normally about 20 pages long!

I hope this is of some help

4. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 12y

Hi Christos,

Yes, booked both flights and accommodation. I don't book accomm in a different way anymore actually but with flights it can pay off to contact an agent if the flight is somewhat tricky (like James mentions).

Accommodation I usually book through Travellerspoint and I usually use the last minute or budget accommodation sections as confirmations are immediate and you don't have to wait till the hotels are contacted since availability is already uploaded to the system by the hotels. That's the problem with a lot of other systems like James mentions too.

I liked it a lot, but I am biased :)

So far, mine personally are all positive and I got what I paid for. One of the best places I ever stayed at was booked through the last minute service, an apartment in NY.

Availability, good price, good photos (place looks clean) and location. Security at final stage.

Advantages accommodation wise. Easy (I can do it from home), cheap, photos and plenty of choice which isn't dictated or biased by an agents commission.
Disadvantages.... tricky to get discounts for longer stays so would have to book for a short period and then extend after arrival.

Advantages flight wise. Great for short return flights and one ways on low cost carriers.
Disadvantages. Anything abnormal is incredibly tricky to get a good rate. Also, you have to know the best website depending on the country you are travelling from. There is no website I know of that can match the local players but I think this is a problem in the airline industry in general where agents also pay hefty fees for booking flights with departures outside of their native countries.

That's my experience :)

Cheers,

Sam

5. Posted by travelover (Respected Member 494 posts) 12y

Hey Christos!

1. I have booked online accomodations.
2. I used www.hotels.com and most definitely price.
3. Their website presented options in a really convenient manner, with the prices for each hotel showing per night, and with good info on the hotel itself. Pretty much standard with booking online accomodations.
5. What I look for are good prices and specials that you can only get online.
6. The advantages are convenience (you can do it from your home), no travel agent fees to pay, online specials, and you have plenty of choices in choosing your itinerary/accomodations. The disadvantages are mostly in booking airfare I find. If you know the ways to look you can always find a cheaper flight online but sometimes it happens that the website will quote a price that we'll accept right off the bat, but that we can actually get for a lot cheaper. Example, I was checking for a flight to Madagascar on www.expedia.ca from Montreal (Canada). The price I got quoted was 8600$. Now, if I went with a travel agent, I'm sure I could have found a better price being that the price was incredibly ridiculous. But it takes a bit of practice, a bit of going through different websites to find the ones that offer exactly what you want. Oh yeah, I tried the multiple destinations tickets going from Mtl-London, London-Frankfurt, Frankfurt-Madagascar, and I got a lot cheaper... closer to 2500$. And I KNOW I can get if for cheaper still

Tam

6. Posted by applegirl (Full Member 144 posts) 12y

1. Yeah, I've booked both flights and accomodation on-line.

2. British Airways, Ryan Air, The Big Apple Hostel New York... etc etc.
Important criteria; it must be a user friendly easy to navigate site, too much information or if the site isn't clear and well structured puts me right off. The securitey is important aswell, I wouldn't leave out my credit card details somwhere where it's not secure, i.e. http - urls.

3. Apart from Ryan Airs site (bad scripting but alright for the most part) I've liked the websites I've booked through.

5. Good prices, discounts. If I book accomodation; photograps and rates (not all hotels include this, they want you to send an e-mail and ask - I can't be bothered with that!)

6. Advantages - It's so convenient to be able to do it from home...
Disadvantages - I'm not sure... Maybe it might be difficult if something goes wrong with the booking, you need to change something, or talk to someone. (It might be alright as long as you book with let's say The Big Apple Hostel in New York, but with Ryan Air it would be a nightmare, since they are notorious for being very inaccessable + charching something like £1 a minute)

Hope this helps.

7. Posted by ddalet (Full Member 21 posts) 12y

Hello,

I pretty much always book flights and acommodation online, excepting long haul flights (eg a round the world ticket) where, as previous posters have said, it's easier to sit with someone and talk through the options/connecting flights etc.

Who with and what were the most important criteria when booking?
The cheap airlines (ryan air and easyjet). Have also booked online with BA and AirMalta. For accommodation (hotels) I like octopustravel.com as you get great descriptions and photos and I've had good experience in the past - you really do get what they say. And I can't beat Hostelworld.com for cheaper accommodation.

What's important? Security for credit card details, photos of accommodation and a location map for accommodation that I can print out. It's useful to have a direct contact for the place you're booking, so you don't have to go through the agent if you need to contact them to say you're late, or you want an extra person.
For booking flights, I really appreciate sites that allow you to look at a range of dates, or go back/forward one day (like the ryan air site). If you're flexi on dates and want the cheapest deal, this is super. Sites that don't save the choices you've entered in the fields (eg number of people, preferences, dates) when you go back a screen drive me crazy!

What did you think of their websites?
Websites are generally good. Prefer websites for flights that show you when the cheapest deals are available - as opposed to ryan air where they tell you what the cheapest fare is, but you can very rarely find it!

What are your experiences?
As above. Good good good on the whole. Had one baddie where we'd booked a hotel through octopus travel and prepaid, and we arrived late at night (after 11pm as plane was delayed) and they'd given our room to someone else. In the end we were put up in a much nicer hotel, and when we complained to octopus travel they refunded the night which made us very happy!

What is it you look for when you book online?
Lots of info to reassure me of what I'm booking, feedback from other people, photos (of accommodation).

What do you think are the advantages/disadvantages?
Huge selection at your finger tips... there's no way I could get some much information/variety any other way. Quick, simple, can be cheaper sometimes.

Hope this helps!
Lisa

8. Posted by hillary (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y

Hi, Christos! I'm a big user of online travel aids. Hope this helps....

1. I ALWAYS book my flights online.

2. Normally I use "cheap fare" sites. My new favorite is www.sidestep.com, which searches heaps of sites and provides all sorts of available fares. I also use Orbitz, Hotwire, and LowestFare. Sometimes www.united.com will also bring up fares from other airlines. The best thing about Sidestep is that it shows airlines that don't pop up on the other sites.

3. I've been pleased with all of the above, especially Sidestep. (Oh, did I already mention that?)

4. I've never had any problems. In fact, Orbitz is wonderful with reminder e-mails, flight updates, etc. Also, I've found it much more convenient to book online, as I used to be one of those people who'd lose paper tickets....

5. I always look for the cheapest fare. Sometimes I also take the airline into account.

6. Advantages: easy, hassle-free travel; paper-free; usually cheaper; great fares even with last-minute booking; no need to "hold," as on telephone call reservations; all info comes directly to my inbox.
Disadvantages: ?????

Best of luck with your project.

9. Posted by christos (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y

I would like to thank everyone who has responded to my previous questions! You have all made contributions which has helped me with my findings!

If you have anything else you would like to contribute, feel free!

Once again, THANKS TO EVERYONE!

Christos

10. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 613 posts) 12y

Hi Christos,
I think most points have been well covered by others, but just a couple of things I've noticed.
There are two types of hotel-booking websites I think:
Those that take the money off you either straight away, or just before your arrival at the hotel.
And those that make the booking with the hotel on your behalf, but let you pay the hotel when you leave.
The first type (e.g.hoteltravel.com) may have a flashy website, with excellent info, but are unforgiving if you want to change your booking when you arrive, because the hotel is full of cockroaches ! And chasing them down when you're stuck in rural Thailand isn't easy.
I now only use the latter type (e.g. holidaycity.com) whose website is less sophisticated, but who are much easier to deal with, and I know that I can change the booking up until the last minute if I'm not happy.