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Booking On-Line


Booking Your Holiday On-Line

More and more people are booking their holidays, cruises and flight on-line and with the growth of the internet the trend is set to continue.  There is little doubt that you can get very good deals by using the web, particularly if you book directly with the service provider. We get many e-mails complaining that a tour operator or travel agent has charged X pounds for a room, when the hotel rate displayed is considerably lower. Take that a step further and you will find that the tour operator has not even paid the displayed rate, but one considerably lower achieved by a quantity discount. That rate is available to the traveller if they book direct and negotiate.

Consider this! What is your package holiday to the Greek Islands? It is simply a return flight to Athens, coupled with a transfer from the airport to the ferry port at Piraeus, the ferry journey to the island and two weeks in the hotel. For booking these elements on your behalf, the tour operator/travel agent takes a good profit from each element and passes the extra cost on to you. None of the elements in this holiday are difficult to deal with. If it is your first overseas holiday, you may feel daunted at the prospect of tackling it alone, but if you are an experienced traveller, why would you not save money and book it yourself. In the illustration above, you would ned a couple of Easyjet flights to Athens and the underground or a taxi from Athens Airport to Piraeus. The ferries are easily identified and tickets can be obtained at the port. English speakers have no problem. All of this can be booked on-line using a credit card which offers additional protection. The same applies to a fly-drive to California or a two month trip to Portugal.

However, be exceptionally careful when booking on line. Particularly with the faceless giants like e-Bookers, Expedia and Last Minute. If you make an error, they will not be interested in sorting it out. Their personnel are directed at the sales effort and not customer service. The days of Broadband have reduced wait time on web sites, but still be aware that you should Never press the submit button twice. The software used by on-line booking agencies is extremely poor and is not capable of detecting double bookings. The operators wouldn't have it any other way! You will be charged twice if you submit twice. Over the recent months we have had several cases of travellers fighting to get back their overpayment for duplicate bookings: most have failed! If you are still using a 56k modem, the response after pressing submit may be several minutes. Go and make a cup of tea, do not be tempted to 'try again'.

If you are completing an on-line form, check the details carefully before submitting. Make certain you read the terms and conditions, particularly about ticket cancellations, transfers etc. As soon as you have made the booking, if you do not already have travel insurance, obtain it immediately. Always use a credit card if that is possible as it offers additional protection.

Before booking with an on-line travel agent or tour operator, Google their name and read the articles. There are many shysters on the net. If you book with the major providers like OPODO, E-Bookers, Expedia and Last Minute, you will be booking with an established provider, but they are very poor to deal with. if something goes wrong, you will have serious problems in trying to put matters right. Prima-facie, when your money is in their bank you become a problem rather than an asset.

The Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas - A simple DIY Trip

Most of the time things will go smoothly, but when they don't you are dealing with a faceless entity, with a call centre in a foreign country and call centre staff who are trained to get rid of you as their first action. On the other hand, if you buy from a smaller provider without a reputation, you may well be facing a scam. Companies like, prey on the vulnerable from the safety of Monaco, but their web presence makes them look quite respectable. Google the company and read the comments of users who have gone before you.

Beware of cheap flights advertised in the newspapers. Almost without exception those fares do not exist. They are an invitation to someone is interested in flying to a particular destination to ring the advertiser and give them the opportunity of selling something at a higher price. Think about it! They get calls only from potential customers who they could not identify in any other way. The usual reply to your query is: ' those seats are all sold, but we can offer you ..... at twice the price, but you will need to book immediately as they are almost sold out'! Dishonest? Yes! Don't be vulnerable and fall for the line.

Companies like can provide an excellent service, if nothing goes wrong. But what happens if your booking does go wrong? How do you get their attention? Unfortunately, we get more complaints about e-bookers than any other company involved in travel and contacting them can be a nightmare. They will do everything to shake you off, ignore your complaint or get you to give up.

Do not let them get away with bad practice. What they sell on their sites is sold by description and you are entitled to get exactly what they describe as being for sale. We started this site ten years ago as a result of being subjected to misrepresentation by e-bookers. After weeks of correspondence, all via recorded delivery and dozens of telephone calls together with setting up this site to record the sorry details we had spent more than £30 on getting matters put right. We are still waiting for the £30 some three years later!

If you have booked on-line and have an experience to relate, please tell us about it by following this link.

The killer application will not be a shrink-wrapped programme that sells in millions. The killer app will be a Web site that touches millions of people and helps them to do what they want to do.

Lou Gerstner Chairman of IBM