I recently booked a trip to Rome with my family. Choosing my flight was relatively easy; I had a few select options that matched my budget, schedule and airline alliance preferences.
Then I had to book a hotel, sifting through the top 50 choices from an initial list of 1,300 hotels. It might have been easier to ‘eeny, meeny, miny mo’ my hotel decision, but that’s not my recommendation when choosing your next family vacation.
If you choose the ‘wrong’ hotel, it could mean a bad night’s sleep, a miserable wife, a bad holiday experience or worse.
Ten years ago booking a hotel was very different. People used to pick their hotel almost ‘blind’. You’d choose it based on location, price or maybe the number of stars the property had. If you were lucky there was a photo of the hotel in a brochure to help you out.
Nowadays, choosing a hotel without first checking trusted websites or customer reviews is almost inconceivable.
But if you’re anything like me, I don’t have the time to trawl websites, whether it’s for a business or a leisure holiday, before booking. That’s why I rely on my ‘go-to person for travel’. My travel agent knows my preferences and gives me quick, accurate and personalised recommendations. As a hotel ‘insider’, I know that this level of service is not an easy task.
With so many different sources of information and options, travel agents often face the same challenge as we do – how do they sift through the pages of information, without getting overloaded, to find the perfect property that’s right for you?
Ideally, they need to find a magic hotel marketplace. As clichéd as it sounds, they need a ‘one-stop-shop’ with every hotel option in one place.
This magic marketplace allows easy access to hotel rates, content, reviews, images, maps – somewhere to compare all the options without even picking up the phone or leaving their computer screen. Travel agents would simply access their one-stop hotel shop and voila, within a matter of minutes my perfect hotel choice would be clear. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it?
Well, actually it’s a reality. Amadeus offers travel agents exactly that. A hotel distribution marketplace to make life easier for travel agents bringing together hotel offers from chains, independent hotels and the world’s leading aggregators in one place, shop-able on one screen.
Personally I couldn’t be more excited. Because what is the true cost of getting your holiday wrong; is it the 12 month wait until you have time again next year, the missed experiences or the missed opportunity to build lasting memories? Either way, it’s no more ‘eeny meeny miny mo’ for me.