Advantages of an online travel agency

November 6, 2014

With the wealth of travel resources available online, it's sometimes hard to believe that there are still many travel agents with brick and mortar offices. These days, most people prefer the convenience of an online travel agency. Here's why.

Advantages of an online travel agency

Online vs. traditional travel agencies

One of the reasons traditional travel agencies persist in the Canadian marketplace is that consumers are presented with face-to-face services. This is a social interaction that plenty of travellers prefer. When booking with a travel agent in-person and asking about the best deals, most people report they feel they are getting honest answers. However, the less personal experience of booking with an online agent rather has done nothing to hurt the industry. Indeed, according to statistics collected by Experian Hitwise, websites like Expedia Canada, Flight Network and Hotwire now lead the way with travel agents' online presence in the country.

Despite the popularity of a personal sale, many consumers like being in control when using an online travel agency. This means doing the entire search themselves. By refining their searches, people are able to compare similar trips - even those offered by rival travel agencies - quickly and easily. This is in stark contrast to the length of time it would take to do the same thing by visiting multiple travel agents in person.

Speed and convenience

An online travel agency can afford more choice because they usually operate with extensive search facilities that track down the right deal easily. With so many hotel breaks, cruises and self-catering lets on offer, the majority of sites work by getting the user to refine their own search.

Commonly, this works by asking some key questions, such as the numbers in the party, the likely dates of travel and the preferred destination. Although some online agents allow these details to be left open-ended, further questions are usually asked to help reduce the number of potential choices. This approach allows users to go back at any step in the booking process to change trip details and explore all available options. In addition to the basic data that is required to get a number of search results, users are encouraged to add further details. Frequently, the star rating, room type and available accommodations can be filtered for the customer's convenience.

The ability to control all of the aspects of a holiday search online, both quickly and easily, is the key advantage that many Canadian consumers now consider to be essential for their future travel plans.

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