Did you know that our dependency on websites as an information tool, as the “go-to “source for the details we need before making any major purchase, sometimes make us less informed as consumers than we were before the Internet existed? UNIGLOBE Travel experts reveal that the ease and convenience of shopping for flights, hotels, rental cars and other travel products online actually masks a few crucial, ongoing truths.

The internet – friend or foe?

The answer is…it’s both! The internet is actually a very very big “pipe” to an infinitely expanding universe of websites featuring millions of flight and hotel (and other) options, but it’s actually only one channel through which you might obtain information about buying travel. Did you know that when you enter a date and a destination into a website search screen, no single travel website will return every possible result? If you can’t find a seat on the flight you want using a website, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a seat available. As demand increases, airlines often release more seats for sale, but it may take a few hours for a website to catch up. Or the airlines and hotel companies my withhold inventory and pricing from some channels as a way of improving their revenue yields through selective distribution across the world.

So where IS the best place to find all the information?

Meet the modern travel agency – where the best options can be found by blending online channels with an expert consultant/agent using both skills and tools to see a bigger landscape of options. Expert agents use the Internet for research  too, but they also have at their fingertips a much bigger, more diverse toolbox including agent-only resources such as the GDS ( the ‘global distribution system” – a system fed directly by the airlines, hoteliers and other travel suppliers) and also a private system featuring fares sourced by a network of  living, breathing contacts around the world with ‘local’ knowledge and “local” market fares and inventory. When a UNIGLOBE travel expert searches for an airfare, he or she actually searches several sources or “channels” at once – as a result, travelers stand a much better chance of receiving well-researched travel options. What does this mean? Simply put, it could mean better options, lower airfares and improved availability.

As a UNIGLOBE Travel consultant who handles major corporate accounts for a software firm explains, “I arrange complicated, international itineraries all the time. Some of my clients end up hopping from city to city in Asia. Lots of changes before, during and after travel is common and sometimes the only way to get changes made without big costs is to have a conversation with the airline directly, Over the years, I’ve developed really strong relationships with our airline partners, and where appropriate, I’ll pick up the phone and call my contacts directly to request some assistance in sorting things out. Knowing where to look and who to purchase from has allowed us to to deliver significant savings on airfares because we could find a better fare through a partner UNIGLOBE agency in another country. That’s not something you’re going to find yourself online.”

Should you avoid the Internet completely then? What’s the Bottom-line here?

Don’t get us wrong. The Internet isn’t bad – the real culprit is solely relying on the Internet for travel information and buying. But, what can you do?

Always chose a travel company that offers the best of both worlds, online self service that includes research (and online booking) as well “expert assisted” bookings that improve your airfares, proactively warn you about restrictions and also use cutting edge technology to improve services with tools such as automatic Seat Finder. The fact is travel agents aren’t new to technology. In fact many of them, offer online services such as air, car and hotel to rival even the biggest travel websites – BUT that’s not ALL they offer and that’s where the DIFFERENCE lies.

Let’s face it. You’ll still turn to the Internet when you want to research that personal holiday to Dubai. And, maybe you’ll even share what you find with your friends and family. That’s exactly why the idea isn’t to ignore online travel research. It’s a good thing. Companies like UNIGLOBE Travel are taking your travel research capabilities one step further with hundreds of product listings, traveler reviews and a vast collection of things to do, sights to see and more in your favorite destinations. You can even share your travel experiences, upload your photos and invite fellow travelers to comment and share their expertise. It’s a full-fledged online travel community.

The bottom-line is to recognize that online travel information is not ALL the information so don’t  be caught on the wrong side of the great divide – get BOTH sides …and that’s why working with an expert like your friendly UNIGLOBE Travel agency makes SO much sense.


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