Planning Your Own Travel is TOO Easy!
By Guest Blogger- Nolan Burris
Growing up in the sixties and seventies, nothing excited me more than to rush home from school to see my favorite cartoon - The Jetsons! That kid’s show accurately predicted many things we now take for granted.
In true Jetson’s style, our super-thin televisions hang on the wall (or easily could). There are robots to sweep and mop our floors. Telephone calls have become video calls, and meals are ready in minutes from microwave ovens. Who would have imagined this would all be reality now!
There are some things the Jetsons didn’t predict. One them is the dramatic change in how we buy almost everything. From laundry detergent to furniture, Amazon.com can deliver it all! It offers an ever-increasing range of products, but at the cost of a rapidly shrinking number of places to get them.
Want to book a cruise or jump on a flight to Paris? Just raise your wrist and ask one of the many smartwatch apps, or your mobile phone to make it happen. It’s easy. Too easy. It’s so easy that you might not realize what’s really going on…and it’s not good.
Yes, any cheap plastic gadget these days can book travel. However, they are completely incapable of understanding humans: what you love, what you hate, why you’re taking the trip and how important it is to you.
They’re also unable to explain things like cancellation policies, fare rules, undisclosed resort fees, port charges, facilities charges and other extras added after you arrive. Instead, they reduce them to a single checkbox that says: “I have read and understood the terms and conditions.”
The biggest danger of gadget-planned travel is the illusion of choice. It always appears that you have countless options for nearly every resort and cruise line! Still, isn’t it amazing that no matter the date or destination, there are always “just two rooms left at this price”?
In reality, what you see is the result of software-based algorithms that examine your past searches and browser history to generate the display. What you get can be wildly different from the same search done by a friend, with completely different prices.
Ever look at a luxury hotel just out of curiosity? Careful! You’re likely to see fewer and fewer deals and specials. Accidentally tap on a 2-star dump? Oops! You risk being re-categorized for future searches; no more nice hotels for you.
Another illusion is that you can apparently get the “same hotel” or the “same cruise” a travel agency might have offered, but for a lower price! But is it really? Even the best hotels and ships have rooms or cabins that nobody wants.
Rooms in noisy areas are always cheaper than quiet ones. Dumpster views are cheaper than ocean views. Cabins under the all-night dance club are less than ones where you’ll actually get some sleep. But will your smartwatch tell you any of that?
No. It wasn’t made for that. It was made to efficiently generate sales with as little human involvement as possible. That might be fine for laundry detergent, but when it comes to your hard-earned vacation, can you really trust software to look out for you?
There are many things in our Jetsons world I love. Video calls with my mother, no matter where I roam, make me very happy. Realizing I am just a line of code in some vacation booking program does not.
Luckily, living, breathing travel consultants understand and care. You see, they come with a feature no gizmo will ever include: a heart.
What do YOU think, do you agree that gizmos can't replace a travel consultant? Share with us below.
Guest Blog Author-
About our Guest Blogger- Nolan Burris:
Escape Destinations Travel Blog- Exploring our favorite travel places with You!