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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Online Bookings

The end of term is for very soon and so is Christmas with all the frantic activities linked to that period of the year, and one of the most popular activities is travelling. Beside people travelling for business purposes as usual, there are people going in all directions in order to spend the end of the year with their families, and other taking a break from work or studies to chase a little bit of sun shine and warm weather. Whatever the reasons are, it is a period where travel agencies and companies see a very substantial increase in the interest shown towards the services they offer. Most agencies offer those services (online bookings) on the internet via their web sites.

Because booking through the Internet is such a popular activity, we expect web site representing the companies to be develop accordingly i.e. with very thorough thought processes. In fact some are but other still don’t make very easy for potential customers.

I have been surfing these past days on the internet, trying to find the best deals possible for flying tickets and was quite impress with the functionality and the practicality of web sites such as www.ryanair.com and also www.easyjet.com . Here the developers understood that it is easier to deal with information display in a graphical way than strings of words. In fact on pages intended to give information about destinations, is a map of the world with all the destinations they covers represented by points. When you move the cursor over a specific point (city), all the cities for which there is a connection (route) with that city are linked by arrows. This way, customers can see immediately the trips offer instead of having to type in cities’ names in order to reach the same goal and it also save us time and avoids input mistakes. Having the information in seconds enable us to decide quickly the route we want to take for example I was interested in leaving England for the south of Spain, Almeria or Granada. Moving the cursor over Birmingham showed that only Dublin was connected and the same way I found that from London Stansted I could get to those cities. After that I could go straight and check the availability for a particular date and the system will display the result also showing the previous and the next day.

It is amazing to see that companies as the ones above mentioned invest more to make things easy for customers than those with a bigger notoriety such as British airway, air France for example. In fact it is easier and quicker to book a ticket online from ryanair than British airway, a company with a bigger budget.
Should it be that way or better shall they take our fidelity for granted?


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