Trying to squeeze in one last vacation before summer winds down?
Turns out surfing the web may not be the best way to find the cheapest deal on that surfing expedition -- or anywhere!
John Cicala, University of Memphis marketing instructor says, "In the early days of the net there were a lot of great deals to be found because the hotel companies were sort of new to this and didn't know who their market was."
Cicala says that was before computers were a common household item.
Cicala continues, "The mind set was if they have computers and they're Internet savvy they're probably a little bit more educated with a little more money, let's sweeten the deal to get them in."
Today the telephone may once again be the best way to find a sweet deal on flights and rooms.
"And I think there are better deals to be found if you call the hotel directly and ask them what their specials are," says Cicala.
Using the Internet as a travel tool is by no means obsolete. In some cases, what you learn online can help you negotiate a better deal over the phone.
In fact, it was used to plan a recent trip to DisneyWorld.
After finding the best online room rate, a reservationist on the phone was willing to match the online price.
Once in Orlando, prices on park admission tickets were cheaper in the hotel lobby than the advance purchase price advertised online.
Cicala continues, "Any time you can get a live person and get that one to one armed with the information that you have, you're going to come out better."
And the next time you receive an unsolicited email offering travel bargains.....apply the old saying... if it seems too good be true it probably is.
Cicala says, "Yea I think they're junk mail for a reason there may be legitimacy to them and I'm sure some of them are but I'm not going to play the odds."