Plan an excellent trip for your next holiday by getting to know the advantages and disadvantages of booking hotels via an online app and travel agent.
The holidays are coming, and you have decided where to go next. But, with so many choices in planning a trip, you may want to find the one that will benefit you the most—the ease of booking hotels, honest reviews, refund policy, and the most important thing: low prices. So, where to find all those features?
Some trippers may opt for booking hotels via an online app, while others stick to a travel agent. Though both ways have something to offer, you need to know the pros and cons so you can decide on which method you will use.
Booking via Travel Agent
For those who don’t travel a lot, using a travel agent might be the best option. With the help of an agent, you will be able to create an itinerary that meets your preferences. Depending on what service you choose, they may help you in booking hotels, finding the best price, picking your tour destinations, and arranging a tour guide for you at the location. These are the perks of using a travel agent:
1. Plan Your Vacation in Shorter Time
Imagine going to a destination that you haven’t visited yet, but you want to go to all the top spots there. Think about all the research you are going to have to do before going. A travel agent usually has it all arranged for you. You only need to pay, hor liao. They may also offer you a list of tourist destinations and itineraries that you can freely choose from.
According to Dailymail.co.uk, the British spend 30 hours on average—spread over five weeks—researching about their next travel. It starts by reading articles, consulting experienced friends, and finding good deals in air tickets and hotel bookings. If you don’t have much time at hand, you wouldn’t want to be stuck in the never-ending internet clicks.
2. No Need to Think about Cancellation and Refund Policy
When planning a trip, there's always a possibility of cancellation, change of dates, et cetera. If you make the bookings by yourself, you will have to deal with the tedious steps of verification and refund system on the online application. With a travel agent, you can sit back and let them set it up for you.
3. You Can Stick to a Budget
Of course, the travel agents have it figured out long before you do. So, they would be more likely to find hotels and tickets at lower prices for you. Hotels, tickets, and airfares may fluctuate depending on the dates and season. If you do it by yourself on a mobile app, you’re going to spend quite a lot of time comparing low prices.
The Downsides of a Travel Agent
Though it seems easier to plan a trip or book hotels via a travel agent, there are also things that you need to consider.
First, not all the travel agents are flexible with the schedule. Some of them have strict departure dates and packages for each destination.
Second, though you may have the best rates for hotels and tickets, there are travel agents who sell their services at a high price. However, it makes sense to pay more for their service since you arrow all the booking and arranging steps to them. It all depends on your budget.
Lastly, it’s all about business with travel agents. They may recommend a hotel or an airline just because they have some commission-related agreement with the companies—not because of the quality or the reviews.
With those things in mind, you can do some research or find a recommendation before using a certain travel agent service.
Booking via Online App
Indeed, the popularity of travel agents has declined over the decade. This is due to many emerging mobile apps. Still, is it true that booking hotels through an online app has more benefits than a travel agent? Let’s see.
1. Online App is Always Available
Whenever you feel like it, the app is always in your hands—24/7. You can even book a hotel last minute just before you go. With easy access to mobile banking and credit cards, the use of online booking apps is even more hassle-free. Still, note that last-minute bookings offer a higher price when compared to hotel bookings in advance.
2. There Are Apps to Compare Prices
Apps like Trivago, Skyscanner, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor help you to find the best price for hotels, flights, and attractions. Once you put your date, the app will show a wide list of prices and alternatives according to your preferences. However, you may need to book the tickets on other apps since these kind of apps only show you the price comparisons.
3. All Bookings in One Place
While the price gap between one app and another may not be too noticeable, you can always opt for apps that have an all-in-one feature. Apps like Kayak and Expedia offer a complete list of booking hotel options, flights, attraction tickets, and car rentals. Using a single app for your travel is an easier way to plan your itinerary.
4. Loaded with Promos and Discounts
One of the good things about using an online booking app is promos and discounts. For example, the hotel room prices might be high in peak season, but you can book in advance to get a discounted price. Since the online booking apps work with Google’s algorithm, you may want to try these tricks in getting the lowest price possible.
It is also possible to get not only the discount price of hotel rooms, but also a free additional room, free breakfast, or an additional discount for tour packages.
5. Honest Reviews
Before booking hotels online, you may want to know a bit about the experiences of other travellers. By using an online app, you can read honest reviews from past users. You can see which hotels offer the best facilities, the food, the price, and the service. If you have enough time, you can scroll down and see which hotels are die die must try according to guests’ recommendations.
Why People Choose Online Apps
If you aim for the lowest price available, booking hotels and tickets online would be the best option. However, it takes time and patience to browse through all the price and date possibilities. A few years back, online apps didn’t have a cancellation and refund policy. Now, most of them have it, and you don’t have to worry if your plan is changing along the way.
Still, there are some drawbacks to these booking hotel apps. For example, many users are deceived by the image of the hotels. Sure, the hotels are trying to sell rooms. It results in excellent solid pictures displayed on the website. More often, the pictures do not portray the real condition of the hotels, especially the lesser-known hotels.
Another drawback is that the apps automatically pick the hotel for you or show you the best deals first. Sometimes, it distracts you from browsing other options that might be better than what they offer. Since you are going to make the booking by yourself, you would want to browse as much as possible to find the best price.
Choose What Suits You the Most
At times, we want to be frugal, but at other times, we want to plan a great trip without being siao. Thus, choosing between a travel agent and an online app for booking hotels would mostly depend on your need.
If you’d like to hunt for the lowest price available, using an online app would be suitable for you. However, if you have more money to pay for a travel agent’s service, it is your call.
A research done by Travelzoo found that the preferences of a travel agent and an online app also depend on the travellers’ origin. Travellers from Europe tend to use a travel agent to arrange their trip, while those from Asia are more interested in the digital system of online bookings. First-time travellers and older tourists tend to trust reviews and advice from someone they know, like friends and family members.
Still, online hotel bookings will help you if you are on a tight budget or short on time. To figure it out, the key to a successful online hotel booking is finding the right app that is comfortable to use. It can also be said that the more you use an online app to book hotels, the more you will get used to it. You will also find the tricks in making reservations online.
So, after reading all the pros and cons, which one suits you the most? Most importantly, you have to prepare a suitable budget so that you don’t have to hold off your trip until the next holiday.