Do-it-yourself – to avoid agent commissions – is considered the most cost effective route to take by South Africans when planning a local holiday.
However, unless you DYH (do your homework), the savings you elicit from not using a travel agent will more than likely be off set by the cost of making the wrong choice or effectively, taking a deal that really isn’t the best deal.
According to Amanda Thomas, General Manager of hippo.co.za, South Africa’s first online insurance aggregator and price comparison site, “Spreading your net wider will lessen the odds of missing a really good deal. The rule of thumb when shopping around for anything, including holidays, is to get at least five quotes or options and compare those.”
While travel agents do have an important role to play, Thomas says that prospective holiday makers do have the opportunity to compare holiday deals themselves.
“You don’t have to do your homework or employ anyone to do it for you. You can be your own travel agent quite easily and very quickly with www.hippo.co.za. There is a facility on our site which allows you to search available accommodation across the country, according to your individual specifications.
“Our search engine sources data, including hotels, car rental companies and airlines, and within seconds you will get a list of options, including accurate pricing for the times you are planning to travel.
“It is really the quickest and easiest way to evaluate travel options bar getting someone else to do it for you,” explains Thomas.
According to Thomas, www.hippo.co.za introduced the travel comparison feature on the website in February 2009 based on the rising popularity of travel aggregator sites in the United Kingdom.
“The use of travel aggregator sites catapulted during the recent recession when people became stricter with their money and by virtue, more discerning about finding the best holiday deals. In South Africa, people are more open to shopping online for goods and services. Using aggregator sites to compare products and prices is the easiest way to do it.
“From our initial offering, which was to enable people to compare insurance prices from one portal, we have expanded our services considerably. The capability to compare travel solutions, was a natural step in our evolution.
“Now people don’t have to have a travel agent to have the assurance that they’ve found the best travel deal,” concludes Thomas.
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