Orracle and Family

Orracle and Family

Monday, September 29, 2008

Third Party Travel Sites

Why do people use third party travel sites like Orbitz, Expedia, etc?

Obviously, people use them as their growth and longevity is proven. I use them to research but leave it at that. I generally go to the hotel, airline, car rental company directly once I have completed my research. Only in a few cases have I found the rate on the 3rd party site to be lower. For airfare, when it is, it usually involves one or more stops and usually is more than one airline which sounds like confusion and disaster when "flight A" is late. The second airline really could care less and may not have a need or requirement to help you find your way to the final destination. Furthermore, many of their itineraries involve weird connections with 10 hours between and "arriving the next day".

In the Strib Sunday, they run a column called "Travel Troubleshooter" by Christopher Elliott. He also has this website with many more stories.

My observation when reading these is that the resounding theme is, "I booked with Expedia"...."I booked with Orbitz", etc. They get overcharged. They get unreported fees. The hotel could care less about their reservation specifics such as "King bed", etc because it was a cut-rate, surplus room rate reservation. If you read some of the stories on his site, yes, some were booked direct with the carrier. airline, etc. My observation is that the complaints are heavily weighted to third party sites.

What is the draw to these sites other than to provide one set of options as a form of research? I just do not see it. Maybe YOU can tell me!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've never heard this and use one of the sites you mention almost exclusively for travel reservations. I've been doing this for about 10 years and can't recall ever having an issue. Initially I checked multiple sites as well as the site for the airline, hotel, or whatever for comparison. At the time I don't think the direct site ever had a better deal. Often the travel site had some kind of special price "exclusive" to them.

Since I started doing this the travel sites have become more mainstream and have now added their own charges for airline tickets (clearly labeled as such). Maybe I should check this out again to see if I find differences.

Although you may well be right that there are more complaints about reservations made through third parties I suspect the reasons relate more to the person making the reservation messing up something. You're far more likely to get an airline or hotel to fix a problem when your realize a mistake was made if it happened on their site than a third party. That might be a reason to go that route.


The ORRacle!

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