Self-service travel has become more popular as technology has been progressing rapidly in these several decades. Tourists can easily obtain information, book air tickets and reserve hotel through internet to set up their own travel plans. According to a research from Telegraph (2004) and a study published by a research firm Mintel (cited in Holiday letting, 2007), the number of independent travelers who travel to Spain is increased by 30% and the market of independent travel is predicted to increase 45% in respectively. As Vogel (2012) mentioned that even organized tours are trying to tailor the schedule for customers to create values. It proved that there is a potential growth of self-served traveling market. Self-service travel is a better option than using travel agents in four different aspects, which include minimizing cost, flexibility, experience and safety.
1. Minimize cost
Self-service travel helps tourists minimizing cost in both transportation and accommodation. For instance, the rail pass is the ticket which serves unlimited times of travel on certain types of rail system like Japan Rail Pass and Britain Rail pass. Usually, its price for tourist is cheaper than the price for local resident about 10%. Thus, tourist can have a well budget control over the itinerary. In accommodation, tourist can save by choosing in guesthouses, the youth hotel or capsule hotel instead of the formal hotels. For example, Korean guesthouse starts at US$19 (Guesthouse Korea, 2012).Apart from that, the capsule hotel is another option, the rate of capsule hotel in Japan start at approximately US$65 per night with public facilities (Borgobello, 2011). These budget lodging can help reducing the travel-related cost.
In contrast, using travel agents may end up spending more than self-service travel. Travel agent may push some particular cruise line or hotels to tourist in order to increase the price of the vacation package to earn the commission. Besides, the agents would also sell the travel insurances. If tourists have health insurance already, the insurance may covered for health problems during overseas trip and the travel insurance shall not be necessary (Jones, 2013).
2. Flexibility in place:
Through independent tour, travelers are able to set up their own travel plans without any restriction (Banks, n.d.).They can visit any place at anytime they want, but going through travel agents do not provided these advantages. Moreover, independent travelers are allowed to enjoy some activities they want, such as hot-balloon ride and diving. Whereas participating in such activities are required for approval in the case of going through travel agents.
Besides, travel agents sometimes prioritized their own benefit over tourists’ interest. Recently, the force-shopping incident in Hong Kong triggered the conflict between tourist and travel agency. Tourists were forced to buy and being locked in the specific store by travel agency during their trip in...