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stephen_s
03-27-2005, 06:32 PM
I read with interest Mr. Leocha's column on the MetaSearch engines.



One of the major shortcomings about two of the enginesI tried (farechase and sidestep) is the inability to do multiple leg trips. For example, if I want to go from JFK to SEA then YYJ then back to JFK, those two can't handle those. Traditional sites (Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity and the airlines' sites) can handle that kind of a request.

RoadWarrior
05-25-2005, 09:59 PM
I've had this same frustration - the need to search travel sites for multi-stop travel - and just found a site through my local newspaper that appears to address this issue. The site is www.enablesolutions.com and it appears to be oriented toward business travelers. On my next trip I'll try it out and post my comments.

IslandJacks
06-04-2005, 08:06 PM
Travel agents deal with complicated itineraries all the time and will be able to help you get the most for your money. Call your local travel agent!

DeltaDawn
06-05-2005, 07:18 PM
With all due respect to IslandJacks, multiple leg travel is not necessarily any more complicated than round trips such that they require a traditional travel agent. In my experience, the online travel agencies such as Travelocity do a good job of offering a large # of flight alternatives for multi-leg trips including a lot of mixed carrier options which generally are not as easy for travel agents to pull together.



The only time I really need, use and really value a travel agent is when my destinations are remote, have political turmoil, involve unknown airlines and safety issues, or when the # of stops get to be 5 or more. In stephen_s's example, the travel from JFK to SEA to YYJ to JFK is very straightforward and easily booked at Expedia, Travelocity or Orbitz. I just tried a mock one for this route and Orbitz presented me with 216 options. Using a meta-search tool like the one that RoadWarrior appears to have found, would probably present many more options and find you the lowest price at the same time.

IslandJacks
06-06-2005, 08:06 AM
Hello Delta Dawn,

You sound like a savvy traveler, but there is only so much the computer can do with the information you give it. We have clients every day who come in here with reams of paper they have printed from the internet from their own research and they smugly give it to me and basically dare me to beat that. It usually takes me less than 5 minutes to not only beat it, but give them a better value option. I have the knowledge and the TOOLS to get the job done right. The websites you describe seem very unsophisticated to travel agents compared to the capacity of our own proprietary information. Somestimes merely changing a date or direction of travel will result in a large savings. However, the computer websites are not going to do that. They have no interest in building a relationship with you nor do they really care if you get a good value. They only care if your credit card goes through. You may want to see if you can find an agent with whom you can trust. We enjoy getting to know people and we take great pride and pleasure in helping them get the best vacation possible for their budget. You would be surprised at what we can do for you ... easier and faster than you can yourself ... at NO additional cost.

Anonymous
06-07-2005, 12:25 AM
IslandJacks - thanks for the observation about me being a "savvy traveler". Savvy is probably going to far but I've learned a lot, not so much by choice as by necessity. I travel a lot on business and often have to make travel decisions in a few minutes, both from work and when I'm on the road. For me, the online websites and even more so, the travel search engines are a godsend.



There's no question that experience counts for a lot and that there's info you as a travel agent know that can offer tremendous benefit to travelers. However, if I was in your shoes I would be concerned that my knowledge was becoming less and less private or as exclusive as it used to be. Not only can travelers now plan and book their travel on their own at the online agencies and airline websites, we can now also do a pretty good job of quickly educating ourselves by visiting the online travel forums like this one, others like the Craiglist one, or sites like TripAdvisor. I often either find the info I'm interested in already discussed or within an hour after I post a a question, there are a bunch of responses which often even include ideas and suggestions from travel agents. In a sense, your expertise is increasingly becoming widely available from many experienced sources. Do you see it the same way and are you concerned?



One more topic - you mentioned that the computer websites can't find large savings because they can't change dates or directions of travel. In fact, they are regularly becoming more and more sophisticated in their capabilities by allowing me to look for travel options across several dates at once (a time window) and simultaneously showing fares for nearby airports as another alternative for me to consider. I can accomplish all of this with a single search that takes 30 seconds. If I want to try a different direction of travel, it's another 30 second search which is no big deal. To me as a busy business traveler, all of this capability at my finger tips is very powerful. Maybe it's different in the leisure travel world because travel is less frequent and urgent.

DeltaDawn
06-07-2005, 12:36 AM
Sorry about that previous post being from "Guest". I didn't even know you could post without logging in. In any case, it was me - DeltaDawn - who did the posting.

IslandJacks
06-07-2005, 08:13 AM
I wish you could see the tools that travel agents use. You would be able to see just how much more flexibility and capability we have than what you see on those internet sights. To be perfectly honest, the electronic capabilities we had in the 1980's was more sophisticated. We even had email back in those days! We called it "queuing a message" via our reservation system to airlines, hotels, cars, cruise lines ... you name it. I show my clients what I am doing and they are absolute amazed at the information we have ... especially the internet users.

deangreenhoe
06-07-2005, 09:28 AM
you name it. I show my clients what I am doing and they are absolute amazed at the information we have ... especially the internet users.



I always had my storefront work stations set up so that the client could see what was happening on the GDS screen. Most found it pretty fascinating. The amount of data that flies before your eyes in a short period of time can be mind boggling. :shock:

DeltaDawn
06-28-2005, 06:40 PM
Since I travel a lot on business, a friend of mine in the travel industry periodically forwards the Travel Technology Update newsletter to me whenever he thinks that there's an article I would be interested in seeing. If you get a copy of it, in the latest issue (June 28th) there's a full page article on Enable Solutions - the business-focused meta-search engine company that RoadWarror mentioned in his/her post.



Here's a link to the article online: http://www.atwonline.com/magazine/article....?articleID=1307 (http://www.atwonline.com/magazine/article.html?articleID=1307)



In my humble opinion, their value proposition sounds pretty appealing to both business travelers and airlines.