BELLEVUE, Wash., July 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- With the 2016 summer travel season in full swing, Expedia.com® invites consumers to ask themselves a simple question when choosing how to book travel. How can I get the most value? Expedia suggests a simple answer. Book through an online travel agency (OTA) website.
In 2016, the travel marketplace is filled with advice about how to find the best value. Book online. Book direct. Search online but book direct, or search hotel and airline sites, then book through an OTA. It can be nearly impossible for travelers to feel confident about booking travel. Given this complexity, consumers typically conduct, on average, nearly 50 searches across twelve websites before booking flights, according to Expedia data. The same behavior applies to hotels as well.
20 Years of #Travelhacks To that end, based on twenty years of travel booking experience, Expedia is taking the mystery out of travel, letting travelers in on five important factors for consideration when planning a trip, to determine for themselves how to get the most value from their booking. For a full look at these #travelhacks, click here. They include:
1. OTAs offer "packaged" booking options. Using them can save hundreds. The term "packages" refers to bookings that feature two suppliers – say, a hotel and an airline, or a hotel and a car – booked together. That simple act can yield dramatic savings, in the hundreds of dollars and upwards – in many instances, the savings can reach $600, and in some cases, well exceed that amount. This is because industry pricing rules allow for discounted rates on bundled bookings when the price of the hotel or air ticket is opaque, or hidden within the price of the package. Even though bundled bookings feature the exact same flight and the exact same hotel, the savings can disappear if the hotel and airline are booked outside of a package.
Expedia analysts have found package bookings in markets like Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii can yield package savings as high as $800-$1100. Package savings for travel to London this summer have approached 40% off the combined hotel and air value. Package savings are generally not available on hotel and airline sites.
Test the hotel's rate and the airline's fare against the combined savings of an online package booking to see what the package yields. You may be very pleasantly surprised.
2. More choice means more savings. Across Expedia.com, travelers can find more than 280,000 unique hotel properties, with a deep presence in the most popular vacation destinations the world over: nearly 2,000 in London, nearly 2,500 in Paris, approaching 3,000 in Rome, 475+ airlines, 1.2 million vacation rentals, 150 car rental companies, and thousands upon thousands of activities.
One major advantage of this wealth of options is the ability to mix and match. For example, travelers on Expedia.com can choose the flights that fit their schedule, rather than only those offered by a single airline. You can fly out on one airline and fly back on another, in a single booking, with no hassle.
Customers looking to save money should consider an OTA as their preferred booking channel, as these sites can offer five to ten times more hotel options in top cities than could be found even on the largest hotel chains' websites. More choice means more opportunity to compare and save on the hotel you really want.
3. Millions of fellow travelers help you book with real, verified hotel reviews. Expedia solicits and shares the opinions of many millions of travelers. With a click, you can see whether a hotel has impressed, or not. Expedia reviews have one critical distinction, however: they are vetted. They're real. You cannot post a review of a hotel without having stayed there. Many reviews sites have no such requirement; the negative review could have been posted by a rival property. Within Expedia, you know the opinion was voiced by a real-world traveler.
4. Flexible loyalty programs reward you for everything you book. Expedia loyalty programs were created to give travelers the most bang for their booking buck, offering global flexibility. With Expedia, you can "earn and burn" on nearly every kind of travel product. Some supplier rewards programs are limiting by design; they work to fence travelers within a single brand. Expedia, on the other hand, offers points no matter which hotel you book, across hundreds of thousands of hotel choices. Membership is free and status accrues as you book, culminating in +VIP Access, which confers a broad range of benefits such as exclusive amenities, room upgrades and special member-only deals at nearly 3,000 participating hotels around the world. Expedia+ members can also double dip with their airfare miles, earning both in the airline program and through the Expedia+ program, and can redeem points as they choose, on nearly any travel product, with no blackout dates.
5. We offer special deals for Expedia+ members without locking you into a specific property or brand. Expedia+ members have access to insider deals and bonus offers. Travelers simply sign up through Expedia.com, sign into the site, then save big, accessing exclusive rates and deals up to an extra 10% off of tens of thousands of hotels worldwide.
All Expedia+ members can also peruse Unreal Deals, which are the day's best package deals departing from a traveler's home airport. The Expedia family of brands also offers exclusive deals through our award-winning mobile apps, including tantalizing near-term offers. If a traveler decides they want to stay an extra night, we make the booking process simple, reasonable and sweet. And every booking made through the Expedia app yields three times the Expedia+ points.
Choice matters. More options give travelers a better chance to piece together the perfect trip. Travel industry research authority Phocuswright has reported* that travelers who prefer to book with OTAs outnumber those who don't – particularly true for younger travelers, who tend to be price-sensitive and brand-agnostic. When you are searching for your next trip, consider searching the world through an OTA. That choice will reward you.
* Phocuswright U.S. Consumer Travel Report, Eighth Edition, June 2016
About Expedia.com Expedia.com® is one of the world's largest full service travel sites, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel. Expedia.com (https://www.expedia.com/, 1-800-EXPEDIA) aims to provide the latest technology and the widest selection of top vacation destinations, cheap tickets, hotel deals, car rentals, destination weddings, cruise deals and in-destination activities, attractions, services and travel apps. With the Expedia® Best Price Guarantee, Expedia.com customers can get the best rates available online for all types of travel.