Even a seasoned travel professional and traveler like myself finds the “choice market” overwhelming. We’re bombarded with push notifications, Facebook listening in on our conversations to be served up ads, Instagram envy, booking direct, bundling with online travel agencies like Expedia, tour operators …and it goes on and on.
Now, we’re even seeing in a recent New York Times article about dynamic pricing increasing (which has been going on for many years now). The breadcrumbs that we leave around on the internet are translating into manipulation in pricing and preying on our Google searches.
While I’m not a fan of that kind of real-time influx as the product surely doesn’t improve or devalue at the same time that you’re paying $150 more than your seatmate on the flight, I do get that businesses must survive, increase staff wages, and enjoy quality of life too. But there has to be a happy medium. Daily resort fees have become the new “f you” to travelers, at not just resorts, hotels, motels that can add up to the equivalent of an extra hotel night stay or more.
There’s no easy fix to it all as it gets more complex with AI, innovation and automation, but there are agencies and associations fighting for the consumer – pushing lawmakers to regulate certain egregious practices. It’s exhausting having to be an informed consumer and jack of all trades.
While this all plays out, one thing the traveling public can do: use a travel advisor. I’m not just saying that because I’ve recently become one. But it’s because it’s a business of personal relationships. Customer service. Making you an individual in a sea of millions, no matter if you hold an elite status or loyalty program memberships. I like being seen. I don’t know about you.
Recently surveyed by a few various trusted sources like ASTA and Scott’s Cheap Flights, the general public genuinely seemed optimistic about their travel plans for 2020. And all that preface was not to deter you, but to enlighten you and let you know that the travel advisor works for you. Not the internet.