Read the text about choosing a holiday. First read the questions:Have Internet will travel
This used to be the time of year when we would collect a handful of glossy brochures from the travel agency to plan and book the annual summer vacation.
The brochures, with their tiny photographs of hotels and villas, gave few clues to important questions such as how far it was to the beach, while the painstaking process of finding a vacation destination involved tiresome cross-referencing to the pricelists and small print.
But now, armed with only a credit card and an Internet connection, we can all be our own travel agents. Increasing numbers of people are purchasing transportation and accommodation components separately and putting together their own packages, a trend that has been driven by the Internet.
One thing hasn´t changed, however. When it comes to securing the summer vacation of your choice, it pays to start looking and booking early in the year. Start today, at home, or, as is more likely, in the office - where the majority of people conduct their initial travel research, let´s say during their lunch hour. Most will book from home, often via the telephone, because of a reluctance to divulge their credit card details online.
According to a recent survey, the Internet makes it easier to shop around for the best deals on each component of a vacation package. However, shopping around is something conventional travel agents would like to prevent. Of course, there are great deals to be had at the travel agent´s but as more and more reservations systems are moved onto the Internet, most products will be available to most people.
Meanwhile, many of the big tour operators sell package tours over the Internet through what amounts to an online brochure. Unlike the paper version, these brochures are, in theory, updated regularly and can provide layers of information and links. Not all do, however, because providing information on this scale takes a lot of work. Sites such as www.goaheadvacations.com work efficiently and are ideal for consumers whose prime consideration is price.
Consumers increasingly expect to find late and cheap vacation deals on the Internet. But securing a low price usually involves a compromise.
The consumer should be flexible about travel dates, which are usually linked to 7- and 14-day charter flight fares, and should not expect to stray too far from mass-market destinations. One of the trends we are clearly experiencing is that the higher the cost of the vacation, the higher the likelihood that the non-virtual travel agent will be involved.