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Organize your holiday in Greece online

03 July 2014 / 17:07:03  GRReporter
6404 reads

Ivan Petkov

The most searched holiday in Google rankings for 2013 in Bulgaria was in Greece. The search for information and then subsequently for bookings of holidays, vacations and trips is not limited to finding useful information alone. In Bulgaria the trend of hotel booking and buying tourism offers online started due to a very simple market fact, namely that, in order for  Bulgarian tour operators to be competitive on the international market, a few years ago they started  to offer their services at significantly lower prices than those offered in the country. This made many people look outwards and start planning their vacation through the websites of foreign tour operators.

The advent of the Internet has contributed towards the appearance of many websites that collect and present offers in one place, advertising them as the best possible ones. Therefore, both major international services and popular local websites have established themselves over time. In this article, I will try to tell you a bit more about these websites and services and believe me they are countless!

Businessmen, families on vacation, retirees...people who prefer clean and nice hotels, want better treatment or require certain extras such as good internet connectivity and even those who require a certain level of luxury are the potential customers of booking websites. You will not see them hitchhiking, sleeping in hostels or on an exchange basis. This group of people has its own subculture and uses websites that offer such services. Now we will talk about those websites that the majority of us would use.

I will present a few of the many websites without being comprehensive. As mentioned above, the sector is dynamic, more services are constantly appearing as well as media that are trying to offer a diverse choice to their potential customers.

The websites that I used for comparison and as the basis of this article include Booking.com, Tripadvisor.com, Trivago.com (now available with a local version for Bulgaria). Here are a few words about them. I chose them as they provide different types of services in terms of both content and structure.

Booking.com is a Dutch booking website that was established in distant 1996, according to the Internet standards. In 2005, it was bought by the US company Priceline, which develops a similar business and has a popular website of the same name. It is an interesting fact that Booking.com accumulates more than two-thirds of Priceline’s profits. I will use this opportunity to mention another acquisition of the US company, which is defined as one of the most successful websites for trips and bookings in Asia, namely Singapore Agoda.com. Booking.com is available in over 40 languages. When I visited it, I was faced with the localized Bulgarian version.

Tripadvisor.com is considered as one of the largest media in the industry and it does not offer hotel booking and accommodation alone. The platform allows you to buy flight tickets, book a table in a restaurant and to apply for participation in different activities that you can perform near the location you have chosen for your holiday or business trip. Tripadvisor is the largest social network of travelling people and it includes more than 100 million users. It is among the first websites that started using user generated content.

Tripadvisor has a version in Greek, but not in Bulgarian. The language version is manually selected, the default version being in English.

Trivago.com is a platform that collects offers from major websites for trips and bookings. It is of German origin but it was acquired by the former owner of Tripadvisor, the US company Expedia. The popular website Hotels.com is part of Expedia media group as well. Trivago has a local version in the Bulgarian language.

So, which is the best website?

At first glance it seems that these media provide the same type of service, but they actually differ in terms of how they obtain content, how they sort it and evaluate it. Some offer a rating made by the website itself, sometimes this rating is formed entirely by the users and a third group uses a combined system of evaluation. This is important because, more or less, the rating influences our choice.

There is another point. The information is very dynamic and it is possible to come across information that has not been updated. I will give you two examples of random searches of hotels in Greece.

First example: I decided to look for a hotel in Halkidiki and my attention was attracted by an offer the price of which was significantly higher compared to the other proposals. The price was over 1,000 leva per night. It turned out that the offer was for luxury villas located on the beach. In another website, the only offer was for 6,000 leva. In the end, it turned out that the offer in question was for the most luxurious "presidential" villa, with the highest level of luxury.

Second example: I searched for a hotel in Athens and came across one with a high rating (over 90%). Its prices in different websites were similar, with a margin of only a few leva. The difference was that, for the period I had chosen, there were no rooms available on two of the websites whereas the third one offered available rooms.

Do you use booking websites?
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