10 things that annoy me when booking holidays online

4 04 2008

Today I read a great post on Travelrants called Ten things that annoy me about booking holidays online. Darren made a list of 10 things that annoy him while booking holidays online.

It’s clearly the kind of feedback/information people that work for Online Travel Agencies or Hotel Portals would love to gather from their visitors. That’s why I have decided to add my 2 cent and make my own list of things that really annoy me while booking online. Hopefully other bloggers will continue the discussion and post their own list on their blog! That would be VERY interesting!

Annoyed traveler

Here goes my list:

  • Being obligated to create a member account before I can get all the details of a (potential) booking.
  • Searching for hours for the cancellation fees of a hotel before I complete a booking.
  • Not knowing the total price of a booking before I filled out any personal information.
  • Not being able to use a booking engine with Firefox!
  • Promotions that never match my holidays periods.
  • Getting an expired sessions of a search when being idle for a short period of time.
  • Chosing to book a flight, filling out ALL the personal information asked (including credit card number) and getting an error message saying it’s not available anymore (but still offered and listed on-site and on all travel meta search engines).
  • Browsing a little deeper to know the services a hotel is offering, and not being able to get back to the result page I came from.
  • Picking an available hotel room, and discovering that was not a real time displayed availability and that an email that has been sent to the hotelier, who replies room is not available anymore for this period of the year.
  • Having to query availability/rates twice. Once for displaying the system cache of available hotels of the site, and another time for confirming the hotel is really available at that rate!

That’s my list, I hope travel bloggers will follow that “10 annoying things” thread and add their personal opinions. If you do so please add a trackback to this post so we can follow you.

Professionals are, of course, invited to comment my list.

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First TV ad for Expedia in France

23 04 2007

Expedia.fr launched a new campaign of advertising in France. It started with a TV ad on national TV; this was the first TV ad for Expedia on public TV, before that, Expedia did TV spots but only for 15 channels on cable TV.

(Update: Expedia also sponsored TV shows on Canal+ and TF1 in the past.)

The name of this new campaign is “Expedia, le voyage que je veux.” (Expedia, travel as I wish”). It is very similar to the famous slogan of Club Med : “Club Med, Le bonheur si je veux.” (Clud Med, Happyness as I wish”). The spot draws a parallel between a tailor made clothing shop and the way a couple can customize its future vacations.

According to Marc Ruf, former Vice President of Expedia France:

“[Expedia] gives the ability to anyone to become its own travel agent. Who better knows the needs and desires of the traveler than the traveler himself?”

Expedia kindly sent me the link to watch their TV spot:

[display_podcast]

Besides this TV spot, Expedia also launched another wave of offline advertising on buses and on the walls of the subway with the following offline ads:

Expedia Offline Advertising

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UK online travel agencies ready to blacklist hotels!

15 03 2007

I just read an article on Travelmole stating that Lowcostbeds.com and OnHolidayGroup have decided to blacklist hotels!

Lowcostbeds logoOnHolidayGroup

Both UK companies will use a system called Travelsafe in order to be able to determine what hotels must be blacklisted or not. I know for a fact that in the past Opodo also partnered with Travelsafe in order to perform health and safety audit with its hotels.
According to Travelmole, Lowcostbeds.com and OnHolidayGroup will use the system to be Travelsafe systemable to blacklist the hotels, apartments and villas that does not satisfy the new standards; I have no information about those specific standards yet, but there will be a focus on safety standards in such areas as fire, food hygiene, and swimming pools.
About child safety, upon completion of the audit, Travelsafe will classify hotels into 4 categories: Gold, Silver, Bronze and the ones that are said to be non compliant.
It will be offered the possibilities to assist hotels that are said to be non compliant to implement the necessary improvements. If they refuse, there will be “blacklisted and banned from all Travelsafe member sites.

This new “hotel trend” for safety accommodations got its root from last September tragedy when two young children past away from carbon monoxide poisoning in Corfu. I found an article of the Independent (London) reporting that the mother of the two children was highly motivated to push the industry leaders to take measures to prevent such tragedies in the future. It seems that she has been heard!

There are already “no fly” lists, I guess a “no-stay” list is a logical next step in the industry..

Note: ABTA signed an agreement with another system called Argent Health and Safety to release its own health and safety database this week: ABTA Resort Check (I removed the link.

If British OTA are about to blacklist hotels, Australian hotels already blacklist guests

Guest Behaving Badly logoI have seen several different types of blacklisting in the past:I have read about hoteliers in Australia who blacklist “bad” guests on a dedicated website launch on December 2006: Guest Behaving Badly GBB. Its product manager Josh Ginty said “more than 1000 holiday property providers nationally have already joined the database.

This article on USA today’s hotel blog also has very interesting comments regarding this issue.

The rationale behind this hotel trend? “Customers have the ability to rate hotels with websites such as TripAdvisor.com. So why shouldn’t hotels be able to rate customers?” as reported by Daniel J. Solove in a very interesting article called “The rise of customer blacklists”.

Who should be blacklisted next?

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Accor sold Govoyages.com to LVMH

5 03 2007

The famous french Online Travel Agency Govoyages has been sold by Accor (the world’s fourth largest hotel company) for $364 million to the investment company Financiere Agache Investissement (Groupe Arnault) and members of GoVoyages management.

Govoyages

Accor and GoVoyages will maintain a three-year marketing deal “to ensure the preferred distribution of Accor hotels by GoVoyages.”

Jean-Marc Espalioux

Back in Sept. 2006, Accor doubled its profit and its board of directors curiously asked its CEO Jean-Marc Espalioux to step down (see hotelmarketing’s article) after many years at the head of the group Accor (from 1997 to 2006).

Now at the head of Financière Agache Private Equity (Groupe Arnault *) Jean-Marc Espalioux has his revenge by acquiring majority stake in Govoyages.com. This acquisition came along with the announcement of very good results for Govoyages.
* Groupe Arnault owns 51% of LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), along with Christian Dior SA. Bernard Arnault is the Chairman and CEO of both companies.

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