Social Media channels like Facebook and Twitter have been game changing in the way online businesses conduct themselves and deal with their clients and prospects. Take advantage of this by checking if the online travel agency you’re interested in has a social media profile. Keep a lookout for how active they are in their social media – do they respond to their fans and followers, when did they last post and how many fans/followers do they have? In addition to social media, many online businesses will have a blog where they can ‘open up the floor’ to their followers and encourage industry related discussion. Check if the company you’re interested in has a blog and you’ll soon be able to tell whether or not they’re a suspect fly-by-night or an authentic travel company.
Find out what others are saying about the online travel agency you’re leaning towards by carrying out a quick online audit. A few search engine searches and you should be able to come up with some balanced reviews and testimonials.
Are they displaying airfares including taxes and fees? It’s one thing claiming to have the cheapest airfares, but many OTA’s that make these claims fall short in that their cheap flight prices suddenly skyrocket when you come to the booking page and see the total. They’re wasting your time and are not giving the online travel industry a good reputation. Save yourself time and money by finding an online travel service that displays the total cost of the flight including taxes.
Internet is a faceless business and reputable online travel agencies should be easily reachable through channels other than their website. Check their website for a valid business address, phone numbers and email addresses. Some online travel agencies will have the option to chat to them directly from their website.
Check that the website has a safe and secure Internet payment facility. This is usually identifiable by a clickable badge that will take you to another page that displays the security certificate.
How much flexibility does the travel agency allow? In other words, how flexible are they when it comes to booking a flight online, how long do they hold the seat for you if you don’t pay immediately, what is their cancellation policy? The top online travel agencies will usually have a full customer support team and experienced travel consultants to help with any flight bookings for business and leisure travellers. Also check on the added services the OTA offers. This will usually be things like SMS itinerary reminders and travel insurance.
What can you find out about the company on their website? You will usually find this information under the ‘About Us’ or ‘Company History’ sections. Avoid fly by nights and try to book with a company that is established within the online travel industry. Look out for press releases and carry out some searches on local news websites to see if they’re getting any media coverage.
Finally, make sure the company you book through makes it clear what you need to bring to the airport when you fly. To get on the plane it’s usually an e-ticket (provided by the OTA), a personal identity document (passport if you’re flying internationally) and in some cases the credit card you used to make the booking (if that’s the payment channel you chose).
Remember that the services an online travel agency provides are designed to make your life easier. Sought out a good one and you’ll never have to bother visiting a bricks & mortar shop ever again.
DiscountFlights.com is a leading Online Travel Agency based in San Francisco, US. The state of the art flight comparison tool allows users to compare the cheapest domestic and international flights and then book and pay online. With more than 1200 airlines and travel sites and over 9 000 destinations to choose from, travelers can be rest assured they’re getting the best online travel deals.