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Anita Dunham-Potter
01-19-2006, 08:30 AM
In a new development, Expedia is turning up the heat in a battle with Travelocity, Orbitz and other online travel sellers with what it says is the industry’s first comprehensive price guarantee offer, reports usatoday.com

“If a customer finds a lower price online for the same travel service — a flight, hotel stay, car rental, vacation package, cruise or destination activity or service — within 24 hours of booking via Expedia.com, the No. 1 online travel seller will refund the difference and give a $50 coupon for future travel,” the report adds. “Because Expedia charges a $5 booking fee, the offer, which launches today as part of a new ad campaign, requires that a competing offer must be at least $6 below Expedia’s price, including fees and taxes, for the deal to apply.”


What are you thoughts on this?

Anita

stephen_s
01-19-2006, 12:13 PM
The key is for the same travel service. So what this basically means is if we find it lower on the airline's website, they won't match it, right?

missalf
01-19-2006, 12:38 PM
FWIW, what I've found is that Expedia typically parrots the cost from the airline website, then adds on their fees. I use it as a search tool, find the airline/airfare I want, then go to the airline website to purchase and save the booking fees.

stacynan
01-19-2006, 06:27 PM
Anita, Here's my take on it and the problems with it:

--- "available to travelers who have booked travel on Expedia.com ".

You have to book your reservation first with Expedia before they will price match.
This will require customers to continue searching for the lowest price. (Time waster)

--- " The Best Price Guarantee is not available for airfare bookings, where the lower airfare is part of a package (for example, within an air plus hotel package). "

I understand this to mean that there are certain package vacations that they can't match (like a tour operator booked by a travel agent).


I hate to keep tooting my own horn........the reason to book with a travel agent vs. a mega-online agency........but more and more I'm hearing discouraging things about using a mega-online agency (Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline, etc)

Just today I had a friend contact me about a Las Vegas trip that she want's to take next week. I haven't seen her in years, but she remembered that I owned my own travel agency. She didn't think about me until after she spent hours searching for a trip thru Orbitz and Travelocity. She said the lowest she found was around $450.00 per person/double occupancy. I didn't even care to take down the info about what flight and hotel that price was quoted. I knew I could probably get her a better rate.

I was able to book her a package (air/hotel/taxes) for $295.00 per person/double occupancy! The price for the same flight, hotel, and taxes were:

Expedia - $531.00 pp/dbl
Orbitz - $538.00 pp/dbl
Travelocity - $532.00 pp/dbl

(The $450.00 price that she found was a 1 star resort, which she didn't want)

This is over $236.00 savings PER PERSON that I saved her and her husband. If I'm understanding Expedia's wording in their terms and condition statement, they wouldn't be able to match this price.

So folks......no matter what you are told to believe (lowest price guarantee)....it is not TRUE. The mega-online agencies do not carry all travel products. You are much better off working with a local travel agent who you can trust. Not some nameless, faceless computer!!! The internet does not care about your vacation. Do you, as a traveler, have all the travel resources at your fingertips? How much do you know about a resort that you are choosing online? Do you have the insight to know if it is a good match for you? Wouldn't you rather talk to someone who takes the time to find out your likes and dislikes so that they can plan the perfect trip, just for YOU? Travel agents also talk with other travel agents so we have a very large network of information to be able to answer any question. If we haven't been to a particular property, we can usually find someone who has or who has direct feedback from clients who have been there. Your travel agent cares about your vacation, just as much as you do! We want happy clients who will be repeat customers and refer our services to others.

And here's something else everyone needs to be aware of.....

Did you know when you call Expedia to ask certain questions about your trip, that their call centers will give you a TRAVEL AGENTS number to call!!!!! They don't even answer questions about the products that they sell!! I know this because I have talked to a travel agency owner who is constantly getting phone calls from people who have booked on expedia.com and is looking for answers. The people that work for the mega-online agency are not experienced travel professionals.
They hire people that don't know the industry, have no credentials, to work in their "call center."

When are travelers going to wake up and realize that they are not always getting the best deal by booking themselves online? Remember the saying......You get what you pay for!

ozzy
01-19-2006, 09:44 PM
[/QUOTE]The lower rate may not come from a website where you call to get the rate, or from an e-mail that you received. The rate must be displayed on a US-based website that is available to the general public and must be quoted and booked in US dollars (and without reference to currency converters).
[quote]

You left out these few important details regarding the offer.

The way I interpret this is (and correct me if I'm wrong), you have to find this better deal ONLINE. From another ONLINE seller of travel. Not a "human" travel agency's website where you have to speak to a knowledgable professional to get a good value. Not an email that a respectable travel agent sends you. You have to shop around and find another nameless online site that has a lower price, and they will match it.

Hmmm, I might take that as they know they can't/won't be able to beat the professionals at their own game. B)

stephen_s
01-24-2006, 07:49 AM
Seattle Post Intelliger did an article on this. I posted it in the Correspondents section and here's the URL:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/256...einsider23.html (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/256598_theinsider23.html)

Eileen Sellers
01-24-2006, 08:10 AM
. "So consumers who find a cheap JetBlue fare are out of luck, because Expedia does not search JetBlue. Also out of luck: a family of four who don't want to pay $20 in Expedia booking fees. Imagine if Whole Foods offered a similar guarantee vs. Stop&Shop? If you don't count our profits, our milk is just as cheap!"


I think the offer is going after the other on-line sellers. Orbitz, Travelocity.
But there is a sleeper in the mix, which is AOL on line. I will tell you that my short notice specials on my web site is the same as AOL and it will beat Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity many times on package deals, air,hotel. Not only better price, but better flight schedules. I think it is a pretty bold offer, but it is mostly aimed at the air ticket purchase.

BYOFT
01-24-2006, 12:15 PM
Just compare Expedia to Travelocity on Delta flights. On a LAS trip I priced just minutes ago, my system (Amadeus) priced at $593.70, Expedia at $592.00, a negligible difference. However, on Travelocity, the exact same flights priced at $474.70.

The reason?

Travelocity is still not pricing Delta using their new "Journey Control technology", introduced last week.

Until Delta stops them, or they go bankrupt from debit memos, Travelocity will very often beat Expedia's fares, by quite a large margin, as the example above.

Arizona Road Warrior
01-27-2006, 11:54 AM
I don't use Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline, Hotwire and etc. because of service and support. Over the past year, I have read too many 'Fix My Trip' stories that were about one of these online travel sellers.

I am sure that there are several travelers that have used these online travel sellers without incident. Also, these online travel sellers have a place in the market place. I have just decided not to use them.

I travel for business and I make my own reservations at the airline website (90% of my flights are on one airline), hotel websites (Marriott, Hilton or InterContinental Hotels) and car rental website (Hertz). I have earned elite status with these companies which I have received numerous upgrades, benefits and etc. If there have been a problem, it has been resolved.

When my wife and I take a vacation, we use the services of a professional travel agent. It might cost more to use a professional travel agent but to us it is worth the extra money (if it does cost more) because of the personal touch, services, advice and etc. that you will receive. Sometimes I hear from other individuals that their travel agent is just an order taker. If that is true, I tell them to look for another travel agent is more consultative, professional and etc. as well as I gave out the name of our travel agent to them.

jyspencer
01-28-2006, 02:27 PM
For hotels, I can usualy find a much better price by using the meta-search sites, like Sidestep, Kayak, or a new one called Search Party. Search Party even has a download (a bit clunky) that finds and displays better prices for most (but not all) hotels while you're looking on Expedia.

I was going to book the Melrose hotel in Dallas for Feb 10-11. Expedia nightly rates were $169/199 with taxes/fees of $61.66, but the Search Party download found $159/159 and $47.70 on a site called Great Lodging Search, which I had never heard of. In any case, I saved $60, which was more than Expedia would have paid me for finding a better rate, so I just booked on Great Lodging anyway.

I think Expedia rarely has lower rates - they just want people to stop looking and finding that out for themselves. But meta-search services like Search Party and Kayak may make it a lot easier for people to shop around. Expedia may end up paying out a lot of those $50 certificates.

JYSpencer

BEAV
01-30-2006, 01:26 PM
Expedia must not have too much faith in their pricing since they allow 3 'best price guarantee' claims per month.

stonetab
01-30-2006, 04:06 PM
Expedia is doing the same thing that just about every other company which gives a guarantee that their price is the lowest does.

You have to find the lower price on the same item after you've bought from them. They know very well that most people will stop shopping once they've bought.

And they put in conditions and they won't tell you if they know about a lower price (and if they're good at what they do, they damn well ought to know what the competition is charging.) And if someone else makes a claim on the same trip you bought, they aren't going to tell you about it. Nor are they going to lower their price for the next person who comes along.

So, what they're really saying is "We'll give you the lowest price only if you don't catch us charging a higher one."

Caveat Emptor is still the rule because that kind of guarantee isn't worth the paper it's not printed on.

Arkstfan
01-31-2006, 02:01 PM
Originally posted by Arizona Road Warrior@Jan 27 2006, 11:54 AM
I don't use Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline, Hotwire and etc. because of service and support.* Over the past year, I have read too many 'Fix My Trip' stories that were about one of these online travel sellers.*

I am sure that there are several travelers that have used these online travel sellers without incident.* Also, these online travel sellers have a place in the market place.* I have just decided not to use them.

I travel for business and I make my own reservations at the airline website (90% of my flights are on one airline), hotel websites (Marriott, Hilton or InterContinental Hotels) and car rental website (Hertz).* I have earned elite status with these companies which I have received numerous upgrades, benefits and etc.* If there have been a problem, it has been resolved.

When my wife and I take a vacation, we use the services of a professional travel agent.* It might cost more to use a professional travel agent but to us it is worth the extra money (if it does cost more) because of the personal touch, services, advice and etc. that you will receive.* Sometimes I hear from other individuals that their travel agent is just an order taker.* If that is true, I tell them to look for another travel agent is more consultative, professional and etc. as well as I gave out the name of our travel agent to them.
18983



There is a place for those services.

This weekend I was speaking as a guest at a conference. They picked up my air fare, two nights hotel, a couple of meals (working meals), a day of golf with the group at the resort. Their travel agent handled the arrangements. I took my wife with me and they booked her travel as well and deducted it from my fee.

Travel agent was super, but we wanted an additional day in the area that they would not cover so I booked a nearby resort via Priceline. The location was great and it wasn't worth an extra $230 to me to pay for a partial ocean view. I just wanted a great hotel in that area. The room I received would have been $205 more than I paid via Priceline. The money I "saved" I "blew" on a nicer restaurant and shopping.

I won't Priceline every trip but I've had outstanding results. Most of the horror stories of online booking, especially Priceline, seem to come from people who either weren't aware of what they were doing or were aware and were wishing for the treatment that they were unwilling to pay for.

weblet
02-02-2006, 07:10 AM
Interesting thread on FT for this

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=521013

NW CTC
02-03-2006, 12:58 PM
I have a hard time believing that people are willing to invest so much time for such a small return in an age when we're all over-booked and stressed for lack of time. I value my personal time way too much to sit on hold with an on-line company. I spend enough of my professional time on hold as it is - as I'm doing right now!

weblet
02-03-2006, 01:58 PM
I can't remember what they are called - time/motion studies? Don't you wish you could show these people the time they're investing in saving $6 is costing them way more than they realize? I don't think the $50 voucher does it...

I can't tell you how many times I've had to point out to a corporate client that they are spending $100 to save $50....