It’s something we often encounter – bewildered customers wanting to know why the price they found online was so much lower than the quote we have given them. Well the first question we ask in this case is …..
Did you go all the way? Don’t be coy – we won’t judge you. Very often what you see on the first screen is not the whole story and yes – you do have to go all the way!
Booking online is not always that straightforward and there is a great deal of smoke and mirrors and hot competition.
So is it really the best travel deal?
The explosion in online travel sites has witnessed a curious struggle by airlines and tour operators for top spot on the results of travel searches – in other words to be identified by the travel sites search engine as having the cheapest price and be at the top of the list that is displayed. Needless to say the unrestrained urge to appear best has resulted in all sorts of strategic lurks such as moving a chunk of an airfare into the so-called “taxes” and calling it some made-up nonsense like a “fuel surcharge” (which oddly, doesn’t reduce with lower fuel prices). Then there are the hidden baggage, booking and other imaginative fees….I could go on but you’ve all seen them. All these nasty surprises tend to show up in the second or third booking screens with the predictable disillusioned response from the no-longer-a booker.
And then there are the hotels – everyone in North America has encountered the compulsory “resort fees” that suddenly show up after you’ve gone for that killer online room rate. And now it seems those are being increased – largely because consumers stopped complaining. (Read the excellent analysis of that little money-grab by Chris Elliott on the link below) So Caveat Emptor – (Buyer Beware – apparently even the Romans faced similar issues) – that online deal may not be so dealicious when its time to put in your credit card number!