Today, we can simply run a quick search for “Cheap Hawaii Trips”, and are provided with a multitude of results from airliners, vacation packages and even travel price comparison sites. It seems nearly impossible to imagine travel bookings without the internet. Booking your holidays is not the only thing the internet has changed when it comes to traveling, in fact, the internet has changed nearly everything related to travel.
Whether you need to book a flight, a hotel room or reserve a car rental, you can book all of this with a few easy clicks online. Before the 1970’s online travel booking was non-existent. If you needed to book a flight, you would go down to the airport yourself and book it. If you needed a hotel, you would (imagine!) call the hotel and book your stay.
By the mid-70’s travel agents were granted access to make online reservations for their clients, if you didn’t want to do the leg work yourself you could hire an agent to take care of things for you. Despite the online reservation system, travelers were still required to carry around their paperwork and carbon paper receipts.
Skip ahead to 2017, and we now have online booking that we can do from our computers, apps on our phones and tablets and even online wallets and boarding passes. We no longer need all that paper and surely do not need to rely on a travel agent to book our trips. Travelers can now easily plan and reserve their trips as long as they have an internet connection and a credit card.
Travel Agents/Tour Agencies
With people booking their flights, hotels, and trips, the need for travel agents has begun to diminish. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook between the years of 2014 and 2024 the growth of the travel agent occupation will decrease by 12%.
Tour agencies are also needing to promote their services more than before with the rise of technology and travel blogging. It is easier now to search up a destination and find the top ten places to eat, the places you need to go and comprehensive travel guides or itineraries you can find for free or at a low cost online.
Many people are also opting to travel solo or backpack and explore the world on their own time and at their own pace without the use of a tour guide. Travelers can turn to their favorite travel bloggers or YouTube videos to discover all they will need to know about a destination before arriving.
Money & Marketing
Prior to the internet, if a hotel or airline wanted to promote their business they would need to run print, television or radio ads. Now, companies are opting to use influencer marketing, sponsored web ads and affiliate links to promote their business, gain exposure and boost sales.
Influencer marketing is relatively new and consists of brands collaborating with individuals who have high influence over their followers or fans on social media. Some people are even making a living out of doing this by earning money and being sent on free trips all around the world to review and promote various tourist destinations.
Web ads and affiliate links are also gaining popularity and consist of bloggers or website hosts embedding links into their content to link back to the company, web page or shop. Often the hosts will be compensated on a per-click or per-sale basis.
Apps and websites such as Airbnb and HomeStay are also popular in the travel world. You can rent a cheap vacation home in your country of choice AND rent out your own home while you’re on holidays. This is a huge game changer and has sparked some debates around the globe. Barcelona has recently cracked down on their laws and regulations surrounding Airbnb and has fined the company for not complying with their tourism laws. While this is an excellent service, it is affecting hotels and resorts as well as homeowners in neighborhoods which have “vacation rental homes”. In Vancouver, Airbnb hosts are taking over many of the rental properties, which is concerning as well.
Years ago if you went away on a trip and wished to contact a loved one you could either make a phone call or send a handwritten letter. Now, with the aid of technology and the glorious internet we can stay as connected as ever to our friends and family back home, and even work (yuck!). We can have video calls, text, use social media while on Wi-Fi.
The internet has improved many areas of travel for both the travel companies as well as the travelers. However, it has also affected other areas of travel negatively, such as travel agents jobs. We have come a long way in a short amount of time, and we can only imagine what lays ahead for us in the online travel world.