Remember the good old days, when, if you needed a travel deal, you could go to two or three websites? My, how times have changed.
Time is reporting that the days of going to Travelocity and Orbitz are being confused because of new startups and consolidations. At first, those two, along with Expedia and Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” dominated travel for millions of people worldwide. As the websites grew in popularity and effectiveness, traditional travel agencies lost their market share, and were forced to close.
The next phase was the proliferation of new travel websites. The second generation brought us sites like Kayak and Trivago. The newer websites were able to find meta search engines that were getting tougher to find to get better deals. Quickly, Kayak was bought by Priceline, and Trivago was purchased by Expedia. However, instead of streamlining the market, the websites tended to provide the same information across the internet. No one website could distinguish itself from the other.
For now, the newest of the travel websites, CheapOAir, Homeaway, and Skyscanner, who utilize more meta-search data to find deals with travel agents, seem to be the way to go, representing a return to the more traditional reliance on travel agencies to book trips.
So, what are some step a potential traveller can take to still find that great deal? All the previously mentioned websites can still help find good deals with airfare, as well as booking hotel rooms and securing rental cars. Take some basic steps while looking to book, and you’re on your way to your travel destination.
The NCBJ recommends that first and foremost, you decide where you want to go. That sounds simple enough, but for college students readying for spring break, there are many potential destinations. Now you can find a travel plan using those websites. Keep your eyes open for potential package deals, which can include hotel rooms, or rooms and a rental car. The long-term savings could be quite considerable. There is also what you might call mystery discounts, deals that come and go rather quickly. If you see such a deal pop up, do not hesitate, because it will sell quickly and be gone for good.
Another possibility is, if you’ve found a way to your destination, use a lodging-only website, like AirBNB, to book a place to stay. AirBNB specializes in rooms, apartments, homes, so you can pretty much find something that will fit your budget and your needs.
Finally, for the truly adventurous, there is the “Let Them Pick It” option. You tell the website how much you want to spend, and the website will choose the destination for you, along with room and rental car, if you so choose. Whichever way you choose to go, have fun going.
[Image courtesy of CN Traveller]