Two new risks of booking your own travel
It's no secret we'd recommend using a travel company (Cadence, in particular) for your corporate travel reservations. But it may be for different reasons than you think...
Online booking websites were a game changer for frequent business travelers (and the reason that silly rumor started about the internet killing the travel agency). Not long after, Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz became household names as they paved the way for self-sufficient, cost-conscious travelers.
But, never the satisfied consumer, we continued to think there must be a better deal out there somewhere, right? Cue the influx of "scam artist" vendors- highly discounted booking sites promising incredible offers from our favorite brands only to dupe us into a pretty frustrating situation. Yikes.
So how does it work? The third party sites lead the consumer to believe they are booking amazing offers directly through the hotel, but can't honor much more than the price. Often, the traveler shows up at the hotel believing their requests have been processed, only to find that the hotel has no record of room preferences, bedding type, special needs, etc. Many consumers are charged a "booking fee" unrelated to the hotel or, in the worst case scenarios, are subject to compromised credit card information. If that makes you want to cancel your reservation, it may not be a possibility. Your cancellation process is subject to the rules of the third party, not the hotel.
Technology makes reservation searches incredibly convenient. Except for when it doesn't. It's been recently brought to light that the way your Internet browser caches information actually affects the pricing that shows up in a search engine's results.
Say your computer caches ("saves") a certain price you saw for a hotel. The query then tracks this activity and will only offer up hotel rooms at a similar price, rather than the lowest available rate. You can stop this by frequently clearing your cache, but it may not be enough to completely erase your tracked buying behavior from your computer. A little scary, isn't it?
If there was ever an industry that needed transparency and damage control, it's travel.
Our sophisticated online booking tools and live agents have immediate access to the lowest available direct rates of flights, hotels, rental cars, etc. Additionally, we are able to offer flexibility and preferred partner amenities that you wouldn't find through booking through the hotel directly. Free breakfast, anyone?
But more importantly, we are passionate people obsessed with two things: customer service and travel. We think that might just be a match made in heaven.
Have you ever run into a disaster from booking your own flight or hotel? Let us know in the comments section below!