Tuesday, September 26, 2006

An alternative intro

Doug Read, executive director at Metro Newspapers, who coordinated one of our exclusive State of the Nation surveys for the September edition of Travolution, wrote two comment pieces to run alongside the research.

The first we produced in the magazine and here. The second is below…

“First and foremost: congratulations to those who have forged the travel revolution in the last 10 years. Some amazing brands and services developed in record time.

“Meanwhile in the Metro offices… ‘I can’t f**king believe it, I can’t believe they are doing this to me’.

“About 9.20 this morning, my normally calm and thoughtful colleague who occupies the seat two to my right explodes.

“Oh god! Is it her boyfriend, parents, friends, pet, estate agent…Mentally I’m thinking of a list of usual suspects. ‘And now they want to charge me £5 for my damn luggage’.

“OK, relax, it’s only an online travel booking moment. But then across the office comes another shout: ‘Yer, and there’ll also charge you for using your card to book, I think that’s outrageous’.

“Ok we’ll park that conversation there because the language got worse and worse.

“And the really interesting bit about this little outburst?

“Only a week before there were squeals of delight emanating from the same desk when the same person discovered that the price of her particular flight had dropped £200 quid since the last time she checked the availability.

“In that little story lies the most interesting issue our research produced. We had thousands of answers to open ended questions regarding the best and worse things about using the web for booking travel arrangements.

“I just found myself pondering how the travel service on the web might develop in the future.

“By and large the customer is certain they are paying lower prices than before and to about the same degree they like the ease and freedom the web provides.

“However the run away leader in the negative column is the lack of human help, advice and interaction available when booking on-line.

“Which begs the question: with so many firms using low cost business delivery mechanisms that help to drive low cost travel options for the traveller, will the service that wins in the future be the one providing a little TLC? Just a thought...”

The world of the online travel agent is taking a bit of a battering this week. Surely someone can defend them…

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

1 comment:

Darren Cronian said...

Haha I laughed when I read this blog post, because it’s so true – something I forgot to add to my rant yesterday about booking online. I was given a price, which included an extra 5kg of weight for my luggage, on-flight meals, airport transfer, a charity donation, and all sorts of different taxes.

I don’t begrudge the charity donation, or airport transfer, hell, I’ll even pay £12 for some soggy sandwiches, what I do not like is not being able to remove the extra 5kg of weight allowance, and on flight meals from my holiday quote – yup, you had to pay exactly what it said on the tin, which annoyed me somewhat.

Other than that I love online holiday booking! :D