When you book a hotel on Expedia or a room on Airbnb, these websites make you feel certain you have made a trustworthy choice. That’s because these large brands have invested in establishing their credibility.
Credibility is very important in this age of online travel bookings. There are so many horror stories about people who book stays in hotels that don’t exist or can’t get a refund on a cruise that was canceled at the last minute.
Not only do these travel cancellations and scams result in thousands of dollars lost – but they can also be excruciatingly disappointing when you were looking forward to a once-in-lifetime travel opportunity. As a consumer, it’s very important to be discerning when it comes to choosing which website to book with.
What makes a travel website credible? There are a lot of subtle elements that can tell you whether or not you should spend your money on a particular travel website. Here are some important pointers to look for:
Is the Website Up to Date?
Take a closer look to check the last time new content was added to the website. If the website hasn’t been updated in months, are you sure that the business is still operating? Sometimes companies go out of business but don’t take their website down. It’s always worth checking that a company is still active and operational before you book any tours, travel or accommodations through their portal.
Does the Website Have a Physical Address?
If the business lists a real address on their website, this can add to their credibility. Even if you don’t intend on visiting their office or sending them mail, the fact that they have a legal business address is a sign of professionalism.
Is the Travel Provider a Member of Reputable Organizations?
There are many reputable travel organizations, such as the United States Tour Operators Association, the American Society of Travel Agents and more. If the tour company mentions a membership to one of these organizations on their website – it’s a good sign. However, you may want to check with the organization itself to verify the tour provider is an active member.
Is There An “About Us” Page With Staff Photos?
If you can see the names of the business owners and staff on the website, along with photos, this is another sign of credibility. A reputable travel website should be proud to display their names for everyone to see. If the photos are generic stock images and not genuine pictures of the owners and employees – this is a red flag.
Are There Reviews and Testimonials?
A very helpful way to determine if a travel website is credible is to read reviews and testimonials of the company. The company may have posted testimonials from their previous customers on the website, which is a great place to start. However, don’t forget to read independent review websites for a more unbiased perspective.
There are just a few important factors to consider when determining the trustworthiness of a travel website. If you are unsure, do a bit more research or look for an alternative you know you can trust.