Once upon a time, when people were considering a vacation, it was standard to visit a travel agent, explain where you wanted to go and how long you wanted to go for, then sit back while the travel agent organized everything from flights to airport transfers and accommodation.
These days, intrepid travellers are far more self-reliant, particularly when it comes to booking accommodation. Often people will scour the internet in search of the best hotel or holiday home at the most affordable rate.
But what is behind this rise in self-reliant travelling? Why are people forgoing travel agents and taking matters into their own hands?
Direct to Consumer Websites Made It Easier
The practicalities of booking your own accommodation have become far less complicated than they used to be. Direct to consumer sites now allow travellers to book their accommodation, from luxury hotels to small holiday cottages, in just one click.
Online price comparison sites like Kayak and Expedia allow tourists to quickly compare hotel deals and book their accommodation with relative ease. Sites like Airbnb are going one step further and providing a platform for tourists to connect directly with locals.
These platforms make securing affordable accommodation simple and reduce travellers’ reliance on booking agents and their outdated relationships and connections.
Customers Can Make Special Requests
Vendors and agencies usually block book rooms in hotels and b and bs. As a result, guests usually don’t get a say in what room they get, nor can they make any special requests. All dialogue between the hotel and the guest goes through the vendor.
Booking directly with the hotel allows guests to request specific rooms and provides more flexibility. Similarly, if your travel plans change, one phone call to the hotel is all it takes to modify or cancel your reservation. Booking through a third party will often invoke a cancellation fee or penalty which can be avoided through direct reservations.
It is Often Cheaper
Depending on the broker, making independent accommodation plans is usually cheaper than going with a middleman. The third party has to make money somehow, and usually, this means charging a higher nightly rate than the hotel charges them.
Some brokers and vendors have negotiated significantly discounted nightly rates for their bookings, however, most are paying rates that are available to customers if they approach the hotel or resort directly.
The possibility of making significant financial savings is enticing more travellers into booking directly with the accommodation provider.
There Are No Hidden Charges
Because you are using a direct channel of communication with the accommodation provider, the charges are disclosed up front. You know if there are additional charges for parking, internet, towels, or hair dryers.
Even if they don’t inform you immediately, you can ask the question. When dealing with a broker or vendor, they often do not have all the answers. This can mean waiting for them to get a response from the accommodation provider directly or providing you with the wrong information.
There are still travel itineraries when many tourists prefer to go with a travel agent or broker. Most honeymooners and tourists embarking on round-the-world trips prefer to let an agent orchestrate the travel and accommodation arrangements out of convenience. However, the vast majority of travellers now prefer to seek out their own accommodation and secure all the discounts and benefits that come with self-reliant travel.