The internet, online shopping and social media are daily features of our lives. Indeed it is questionable whether a business could operate successfully without an online presence in today’s market. Many consumers have become increasingly reliant on the facilities and convenience that come with being online. Smart phones and tablets offer mobility and flexibility, making the concept of being “always online” a practical reality.
Businesses offering online shopping services have a legal obligation to provide a safe and secure service to their customers. This obligation applies to the travel industry just like any other sector. If you do book your travel on line, could you be at risk?
There are many instances where customers have run into problems when booking travel exclusively online. Some examples…..
- Booking.com has admitted that it has had to compensate as many at 10,000 customers whose personal details have been stolen. By accessing booking.com’s reservations data, thieves have been able to obtain contact details to send customers demands for prepayment. Furthermore,would you have thought that booking.com was based in Holland?
- Another company that recently had issues with online bookings was Airfasttickets, who have just lost their licence in this country owing over £10 million but carried on operating and taking money online through their overseas offices before they were also closed.
- On The Beach recently cancelled a customer’s flights for their 2015 summer holiday stating that the the price the customer had paid online was too low. To rebook the flights, they were asked to £890 more, with no apologies and no regard for their being a loyal customer.
- On a broader note, its not clear whether well established online travel brands such as lastminute.com are profit making entities, despite the hype which has surrounded them.
For 100% consumer protection and excellent customer service, we recommend harnessing the power of the internet to research your travel and holiday plans and using an ABTA registered travel agent to finalise your plans and book your trip.
In our experience, travel is generally no cheaper online and travel agents have access to all the contracts that the online travel companies have. You will get better service from your travel agent, a personal touch that no website, however well designed, can offer and confidence in knowing your booking is protected. So next time you are planning a trip, take your online quote into your travel agent and see what they can do – you may well be pleasantly surprised.