Week 4: Travel Preparations, the E-commerce way

I am an avid traveller, but not in the Chan Brothers tour packages way. I like to DIY my trips, preferring to scour the Internet to put together my own itinerary. This is ironic, because I actually work in a travel agency… but because I do, I know especially where to look!

So while we were learning about the different types of e-commerce, I thought of how I actually planned my trips and which websites I commonly use!

  • It always starts with booking an air-ticket. The first place I search would be the websites of the budget airlines!

Budget Airlines in South East Asia

These are all B2C models, where the company sells directly to the consumers through their website. I generally prefer these because I have more control and I don’t have to worry about too many mark-ups by intermediaries. It is now almost compulsory for companies to have at least some kind of web presence so that they are visible, able to reach more customers anytime anywhere, and  offer more services while maximizing profit by saving costs. Another advantage is that their service is then 24/7, which is good news for both the busy customers and the business.

However, there are third-party websites that offer good prices, some may be even cheaper than going direct! They are still B2C businesses. One of the websites I use is:

expedia

Expedia is the world’s largest online travel company. It basically is a travel agency without a physical store, thus saving a lot on rental space cost! Going virtual has also allowed them to reach a much larger audience; Expedia has special localised websites in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India, China and Singapore! Their wide audience has allowed them the bargaining power with suppliers to give them much lower prices, which transfers savings to us the consumers as well as profits for them!

  • Then it continues to searching for places to stay! I like to backpack and stay in hostels. It is slightly harder to search for hostels directly, so I use consolidators such as:

Accommodation Websites

These websites are great from a consumer point of view, because they offer lots of information, customer reviews and makes it super easy to search through its website tools like being able to narrow down choices based on budget, location, facilities etc. It is MUCH faster than googling hostels in the area and comparing everything by visiting each and every website. 

It is not only beneficial to the consumers, but for the suppliers as well!

booking.comFor hostelbookers.com and booking.com, properties sign up to put up a listing for free, and they will only collect commission for each booking. You only pay when the service pays off, literally! These websites are fantastic, working as brokers to bring the service/product to the consumers and likewise.

For Wimdu, AirBnB and Roomorama, they are designed differently. They are a Peer-to-Peer or C2C business, connecting people who have free houses/rooms for short-term rental to travellers. As a result, these people can earn extra income and meet new people, and these travellers have a distinctly different experience than staying in boring hotels and hostels, opting instead to stay in a loft, treehouse or even a small quaint cottage~~  It’s quite an amazing concept really, and only possible because of the reach of the Internet.

Well, these are the main 2 travel arrangements I make before I leave… and they are GREATLY enhanced by the Internet. Looking at e-commerce from an industry that I am highly invested in helped me to appreciate and understand it better! I hope that it has for some of you as well and also help you to make you travel plans!

Feel free to share any links to websites that you use!

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