The Internet has now been in our lives for more than twenty years and has gradually become indispensable, also revolutionizing the way we shop.
Ordering an item online is often convenient, quick and cheaper than buying in-store and this also applies to travel bookings via the internet. While many have now completely abandoned physical travel agencies, some, taken by enthusiasm, end up running into scams and losing considerable amounts of money. So here are the pros and cons that you need to keep in mind when booking a trip online.
The first advantage of booking a trip online is definitely the convenience. All possible destinations and hotels are just a click away on your computer or smartphone, bookable from home in a few minutes. Sites like Trivago or Skyscanner also make it possible to compare offers for a specific date or destination, thus allowing you to organize a travel itinerary that meets all your needs. Another important element is that of savings.
With no need for physical agencies, online booking sites can offer low and affordable prices. But there is more: there are now many different sites that offer bonuses, special discounts and promotions to customers. By subscribing to the Zalando newsletter, for example, you will receive a 10% discount on your next purchase. At Betway Casino, new online casino users are instead entitled to a bonus of up to € 1,000 divided into three deposits to play roulette, slot machines or various card games.
The new all-Italian digital wallet Satispay gives new members 5 euros and also has an excellent cashback program, which returns customers a percentage of their spending. Even travel sites have not missed these new techniques to retain and attract customers and offer different types of discounts and promotions. For example, Airbnb focuses on referrals: by inviting a friend to the site, if he signs up, we will receive a good 23 euros to be taken in the next booking. Expedia has instead created Expedia Rewards, which rewards those who have often booked on the platform. Welcome bonuses are also in vogue: the online agency that organizes Social Holiday group travel offers new members 50 euros that can be spent on the first booking.
But not all that glitters is gold. Booking a trip online has its downsides, which mainly concern the virtual distance between the buyer and the agency. If in a physical agency, in case of problems, you can contact the person who sold us the ticket directly, a person we met face to face, online you must instead contact customer service, which, depending on the platforms, can be difficult to reach and the operator who answers us is not always as prepared as we would like. Booking online also increases the possibility of falling victim to scams.
Sites like Airbnb, with more than 150 million users, are platforms where private individuals make their homes available, not always with good intentions. In fact, there are more and more cases of fake ads, with photos stolen from other ads. In this way, the unsuspecting user ends up booking a facility that does not actually exist. If the transaction took place on the Airbnb website it is possible to receive a refund, but often the scammers ask to be paid outside the platform, and in that case the money is lost. In other cases, offers may seem too good to be true.
This is the case of Ryanair, the Irish low cost airline famous for its unbeatable offers. The company offers travel between European countries for less than ten euros, thus attracting many customers eager to travel on a budget. Where is the catch? Ryanair’s prices include flight only and the traveler will have to pay for any extras. This also includes hand luggage: in fact, only one handbag is included in the basic rate, while the addition of a suitcase weighing up to 10 kg costs up to 14 euros. The same also applies to the choice of seats, the embarkation of hold luggage and the change of booking. The price can thus easily rise, going beyond the previously estimated budget.
Nowadays the era of physical travel agencies is in decline and the advantages of booking travel online are many. If convenience, speed and savings are definitely points in favor, you have to be very careful about scams, inflated prices and customer support that is not always reliable.