The online travel industry is immersed with many OTA’s, representing global tourism and travel. Although many of these OTA’s are ultimately owned by the same parent companies, each platform has its own rules and regulations. Many of these OTA’s have different tricks and treats, which means one must be very careful before booking their travel itinerary. Between refund and cancellation policies, in addition to the fine print at the bottom of the page, OTA tricks and treats can be found everywhere.
The first area of cautiousness, is the deal that appears too good to be true. Many times, upon searching the discount OTA, deals might appear which cannot be found anywhere else. However, extremely discounted pricing only looks great to the eye, but there is fine print which makes the deal much less attractive to the brain. The most common… no refunds available!
As a primary example, airline giant JetBlue offers multiple classes of tickets. The first, a very inexpensive ticket which most consumers tend to flock to when booking their flights. Right underneath, the same seat, on the same flight, is quoted at double the price.
What’s the difference?
Well, on that first, inexpensive ticket, the airline clearly states that these are non-refundable tickets. If there is a chance that an adjustment to a travel itinerary is necessary, consumers would now be forced to pay double for that refundable ticket.
Many OTA tricks and treats are not as clearly visible as JetBlue makes their airfare pricing. There are some OTA’s which have very stringent cancellation policies, all information which is hidden and deliberately contained in very small print. While many hotels offer cancellation policies within 24-hours of the reservation, when booking through select OTA’s, cancellation policies can be enforced up to 72 hours, and beyond. Meaning, if at the last minute one needs to change their travel plans, there is a good chance no refund will be provided by the OTA.
At the end of the day, to ensure the best bang for the buck and defend against OTA tricks and treats, one should fully scrutinize the OTA which they are using. Look through the sites FAQ’s, check cancellation policies, and inquire from customer support – all accessible prior to booking an itinerary. Following this process ensures that one will do well in avoiding the OTA tricks implemented by many travel agencies, hopefully, to be fortunate enough to find the treats.