Holidaymakers dissatisfied with web bookings, says survey
23 June, 2008: An increasing number of people are dissatisfied when they book holidays on the internet, with 30% paying more than they had expected, according to new research.
Some five per cent of internet bookers said their holiday had cost £300 more than initially anticipated, revealed research company Specialist News, after a phone poll of 1,001 adults in April.
The research was carried out on behalf of Advantage Travel Centres, which is keen to highlight the expertise of travel agents with a campaign entitled ‘Are You Ready?’
The campaign asks holidaymakers whether they are properly prepared for their trip and encourages them to consult an independent retailer.
The study found that over half of travellers (54%) were buying their holidays online, but Advantage chief executive John McEwan said many of them would actually be booking with a travel agent that had an online presence.
Nearly a third, 31% of people, are crying out for more help about where to go, what to see and what to do on holiday.
The research also revealed that 80% of UK holidaymakers say booking with a travel agent is the best way to ensure a trouble-free trip.
“Traditional travel agents have seen increasing numbers of people turn to the web to book their holidays, but it’s not the holy grail of bargains,” said McEwan.
“Good independent travel agents have access to a far wider variety of holiday products than you’ll ever be offered in a typical web search. And added to that, you are dealing with experts who are trained to answer any query you might have to make sure your trip goes without a hitch.”
McEwan added that much of the business lost to the web were simple transactions, such as point-to-point flight sales with no-frills carriers, where the travel agent could add little value.
“We are seeing people come back to agents for price, because of the complexity of a booking and for holidays of a special nature, such as weddings,” he said.
In addition, the survey revealed that 22% of those aged 16-19, the age group most likely to book online, have fallen foul of airlines’ excess baggage rules, compared to 12% across the general population.