Online booking sites have taken over the world of travel planning, most travel agents know this and must travel planners use them.
However nobody seems to really understand how they work, how they differentiate and how they have real life people, systems and limitations behind the scenes.
When I was growing and my parents were planning their trips, they would go into the city enter an office or shop, sit there for hours on end waiting for their turn while eagerly working their way through glossy brochures which promised paradise and had unchangeable set pricing. and travelling was still extremely expensive!
Now the same people, start up their computer, go to google, type whatever they are looking for and compare the best offer. They have already advanced to second level users, they search and analyse, if it says swimming pool they want to know the size, if it says view, they want to see pictures of the view, if it says cheapest, they want to know what included and specifically what’s not included. They are not the Internet generation but they, like all have had the time to get used to it and they know how to use it.
Travel agents have lost a lot of ground to the booking sites however there is a new trend and some are regaining ground. For one they take the stress out of searching and booking online, generally they have good refund policies when it comes to cancellations which many booking sites don’t have, they can give custom advice and place custom requests and possibly know of the best available deals. On the downside you will generally pay more to the travel agents as they will add commissions to their offer.
Booking sites are many, they give the advantage of a very large offer that can be viewed and compared from the privacy of your own home or office and in your own available time. However they may not always give an accurate picture of what is being booked. Suppliers are not obliged to provide their entire offer and often offer the rooms they have most problem filling by themselves. A fully booked hotel may not be fully booked at all and day prices may not be correct. Some hotels only offer part of their rooms to avoid over booking and with most it is difficult to make a custom request.
Go Discover Portugal is a mix between a travel agent and a booking site, using the best of both world combined to provide a new service.
We work custom the way a travel agents do, advice, search based on our clients requests and needs. We act as a service bureau for hotels and tourism companies and take over part of the work load and a lot of their marketing.
We require access to the entire offer but our bookings are placed by real people directly with the suppliers without the use of a booking engine but in the old fashioned way by telephone so we can ensure availability and lowest day rate. Our payment, refund, terms and conditions are provided by our suppliers and do not differ from theirs.
Travel agents – add commissions to their offer, making your trip on average more expensive than if you would book straight with the supplier.
Booking sites: Generally don’t charge more, allow the hotels to offer what they cant sell themselves to their sites, charge lowest rates but cant promise best offer, don’t do quality control and have no personal contact with the supplier other than an automated booking engine
So how do we differ? As a booking site we offer lowest available rates provided by our suppliers and we don’t add any extra costs, we act as a services bureau in which we take reservation directly for our suppliers which consist of partner hotels, private accommodation, leisure activity companies and restaurants. Comparable to a travel agent we work custom and personal take the stress out of planning and find you the best available options!
We surround ourselves with partners, professionals in tourism that can provide travel services each with their own specialization.
contact 00351 918354714