Booking Travel on Amazon or Facebook? TPG Lounge Members Aren't Into It
For most travelers, booking a trip comes down to two options: Book direct with an airline or hotel, or use an online travel agency such as Kayak or Expedia. But what if there was a third option to book travel through Facebook or Amazon?
A recent study found that 44% of US-based customers surveyed would book through Amazon if it had the functionality; another 14% said they'd be comfortable booking through Facebook.
As digital assistants (Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa — which just rolled out Alexa for Hospitality, Google Home, etc.) become more popular, we asked our TPG Lounge members to weigh in on why they would or would not be open to booking travel through these platforms.
Say Yes to the Tech
Overall, 34% said yes, they would be willing to let a company such as Amazon or Facebook book their next trip — especially if it saved travelers time, came with lucrative points & miles benefits or meant the chance to score cheaper fares.
"I lead a very busy life, and any [assistance] with booking holidays via an Alexa type AI would be greatly appreciated." —Kyle L.
"If my digital assistant could search within all of my perimeters that I set and find the best price, why not?" —Jeff M.
"I can get behind the idea. 5% cash back and hopefully the option to book trip extras like baggage at a discounted price and upgrades seem like a great idea." —Benjamin Q.
"If it doesn’t hinder my ability to earn points and gain loyalty and status — of course. If my Prime fee each year qualifies me for complimentary upgrades similar to an airline status, even better." —Darren L.
Another perk (or drawback, depending on your point of view) is that these platforms already knows your likes and dislikes, inside and out:
"With all the info I post on Facebook, I think FB would be able to create the perfect vacation for me based on my history." —Steve J.
"My phone is already listening to my conversation. I don't want to give it's nosey self more to know about me. ?" —Shana G.
No Way, No How
Not everyone is so convinced, however. Of the responses we collected, almost half (48%) were a hard "no" because of issues ranging from trust to the margin of error. Also, some of us actually prefer the pain (joy?) of planning a trip. We can relate.
"As someone who saved $70 on a hotel room last night by getting on the phone rather than hotel website, it’s an absolute no from me!" —Deborah E.
"Part of the pleasure of traveling is doing the research. Spending hours going through fares, hotels, attractions, and local guides is what I live for, and won't ask anyone to take that pleasure away." —Hamza E.
"You going to call Facebook when something goes wrong? No, I wouldn't use yet another middle layer to book a vacation." —Gary O.
"I enjoy the challenge of structuring my trip, figuring out how to use points/miles, and getting great deals. And I end up feeling a great sense of pride when the stars align and the vacation goes off without a hitch." —Jessica R.
On the Fence
Still others were a maybe — at least for the time being — and seemingly could be swayed if the price were right:
"Price, convenience, and perks. If the first two don’t outweigh benefits from status, they might get my business. But whether it’s an upgrade, free internet, breakfast for my room, and/or points for my stay... have value. Exceed that value, I’m not loyal just to be loyal." —James A.
"???, depends on the trip." —Randall C.
"Only if the 5% cash back with the Amazon Visa card applies." —Ming L.
Word to the Wise
Will travel get easier as new technology is developed? Of course. No matter how you book, though, it always pays to double check the details, as our friend Kyle wisely notes:
"I’d say 'hey Siri book me a flight to Syracuse' and get 'okay booking you a flight to Syria.'" —Kyle B.
H/T: Travel Asia Wire