Google is now a travel agent!
Recently, on CNN Money there was an article announcing that Google has launched a new feature; ‘Destinations on Google’, which is a travel search engine. You simply type ‘vacation’ or ‘destination’ after a state, country, or continent on Google on our phone, to which they respond by giving you summarized options of hotel prices and flight costs. You can then have them customize your search results according to specifications you may have, so this feature is about to take the market by storm.
Is this good news or bad news for the travel industry? In truth, I will always stand by the fact that working with travel agents and real people is the better way to book your travel. This is not just because I am a travel agent either. This is because if I was booking a trip I would want a real person on the other end of the transaction working on my behalf so that my plans go off without a hitch. But, in the interest of playing devil’s advocate, let’s take an honest look at the pros and cons of using this new Google service.
1. Efficient – Who would not like the idea of booking travel at any place, time, or location? Although, if we’re being honest here, most good travel agents are available to you any time, day or night.
2. Flexible – You can keep changing up the details of your travels as many times as you would like before you book. Again, agents will work with you here too and probably be able to offer you suggestions that a bot wouldn’t have thought of. But, I digress….
3. Fast – You get an instant response about a variety of locations.
4. Cheap – You might get cheaper accommodations and transportation. MAYBE! (CHEAP being the key word here)
1. Isolation – In the event that things go wrong as they sometimes do, you are left stranded and without anyone who can advise you on what to do next.
2. Logistical Failures – If the internet connection ceases while you are trying to pay for your trip you might be left in limbo.
3. Data Safety – As with all online transactions, you risk losing some vital information or having it intercepted.
4. No Follow-Up – A robot doesn’t care if you arrived at your destination on time and/or if you had a good trip.
5. No personal connection – Goes with the no follow-up con, but wouldn’t you rather work with a small business than a big corporation that honestly doesn’t care about you?
Hopefully, you have seen why you should keep working with real people and caring agents instead of yet another online travel agent wannabe.