Exploring the Benefits of Online Travel Agencies
In the current day and age, the scene in the travel and tourism industry is completely different from what it was a few years back. It used to take a lot of arduous effort for a traveller to contact and visit their local travel agent and vendors and make on-the-spot decisions based on a catalogue or word-of-mouth recommendations. But now according to most people travel and accommodation booking processes have become seamless thanks to OTA or the online travel Agency.
It is true that OTA’s have revolutionised the way we book our holidays. From finding the best prices of air tickets to planning an itinerary that suits your comfort including accommodations and transportation, the internet and online travel agencies have made every phase of travelling much more convenient for customers.
The prevalent technological advancements are now capable of providing customers with a broader array of choices. It gives travellers access to even the most remote locations which would have been considered impossible over a decade ago. With so many options to choose from planning a dream vacation can become a piece of cake for the customers.
Online Travel Agencies also feature some other attributes which can make the booking and planning process much faster and easier for travellers. However, it is not always sunshine and daisies. Like most innovations these days there is always a downside, some of which are often overlooked, but some are very obvious.
For instance, OTAs can charge up to 20% commission for each booking made, there is sometimes a lack of good customer service, difficulty in handling delays and cancellations, and can impose restrictive terms and conditions, and more. But no matter the drawbacks, they can never outweigh the benefits of Online Travel Agencies.
In this article, we would like to further discuss the advantages of online travel agencies and platforms to make the general mass as well as the up-and-coming travel companies aware of them and to help them make well-informed choices. But first, let’s make sure we all understand,
What is Online Travel Agency?
The current generation is slowly shifting towards Online Travel Agencies. It is a one-stop travel marketplace where travel enthusiasts can do research, compare and make online bookings on things related to travelling, like flights, accommodation, transportation and attractions, etc. They are like Amazon for travellers.
There are a number of OTA’s worldwide which gets millions of visitors each day. People seek out services from these platforms as it makes the conception and booking of the entire trip easier. Some of the features of an OTA include the capability to present a comparison of products and services and their prices. While their inventory showcases a wide array of hotels for different budgets and amenities, types of tours and travels.
Online Travel Agencies follow a very easy model to help grow their businesses, which is to charge a commission fee for each booking. Simply put, if you want to employ their services you will have to pay them a certain amount or percentage as a service charge.
Now that we are clear about what it is and what it does, we can take a deeper look into its pros and cons.
Pros of OTA
Time and Cost Efficient
We have previously glazed over how online travel agencies help save time and money for all the parties involved. First of all, these OTAs remain open 24/7, so you can search for and book your trip at any time of the day without the intervention of another person. This will also give the customers ample amount of time to reach a decision and create their desired itinerary. Next, since it is online and can be accessed from anywhere as long as you have a good internet connection, it reduces the time and effort it would otherwise take to drive to the physical location of the travel agency. And finally, it won’t cost the customers a single dime to peruse the website as opposed to a one-on-one consultation with an agent
This is also the case from the perspective of the company as well. Since the face-to-face time spent behind each sale and customer is reduced, the agents can spend that time properly creating and filing the paperwork for the customers' VISA, Tickets, travel insurance, etc. And with OTAs fast-tracking sales, travel companies are turning a lucrative profit during the peak months.
A Review-driven Business
Nowadays every big or small business has an online presence. Anything that has no online presence is not considered legit or authentic. And if there is one thing that drives a business towards success other than ads and paid promotions, it is online reviews. Businesses or products are judged and deemed “worth buying” or a success based on their online reviews and customer testimonies. Customers love sharing their experiences and posting their opinions online, whether they are good or bad. Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor, etc. are great sources for such testimonials.
The first thing a potential customer does when they visit a website or before the purchase of any product is to look for positive feedback from previous customers. Positive reviews can often make a sale without the intervention of any other parties. While using many social media accounts, we have often come across people talking about and using a product that went viral for its efficacy or an attractive attribute. This virality can cause the product or service to be sold out without the producers or the retailers even lifting a finger. It is the same case for online travel agencies. It is very easy to find guest testimonials about travel websites, destinations, hotels, transportation services and attractions.
Expert in Booking Multi-destination holidays
While planning a multi-destination holiday, it can be very tasking for any physical travel agency to manage, maintain and employ international vendors and suppliers at will. Some local travel companies do not even have that many contacts abroad, making it harder for them to provide their client with the multi-destination holiday of their dreams. This leads the client to scout and hire services from other agencies and spend more than they had initially intended. However, OTAs can help you overcome such situations.
There is no limit to what you can achieve from proper use of the internet. With a little research, you too can come across an Online Travel Agency that can help you reach the destinations of your choice. There are travel companies that can arrange custom tours for you overseas on any continent. Thanks to the latest expansions to reach every corner of the world, OTAs can enable you to even book world tours and cruises across Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East. You can book your tour through one OTA and one individual will be responsible for planning your entire itinerary while providing you with their expert recommendations.
In conclusion, though not all the perks of an Online Travel Agency can be summarised in just one article, you can still get the gist of it from this one. Here we have seen how an appropriately designed OTA i.e. Travnet Tech can benefit both the travellers and the travel companies. The ease of use and cost-effectiveness of the platform helps to drive in customers which in turn helps the company reach lucrative outcomes. Hence, OTAs can profit both sides simultaneously, if not equally.