Consumer Reports, our consumer information standby in the library, has written a report comparing eleven different online travel search engines . Sites like CheapFlights, PriceGrabber, and TravelZoo did not pass muster with CR's investigators. The key findings from the report:
- None of the sites culled fares and rates from the entire universe of travel sites available.
- There’s a disturbing “customer service vacuum” since many of these sites do not encourage direct communication with consumers.
- Technological glitches may prevent certain itineraries and rates from being captured by travel search sites.
- Questions remain about potential bias on display screens.
So, why should librarians care? Print out a copy of this report and make it available in your consumer resources section. Include it in your next class for users about online travel or e-commerce. And hey, librarians actually travel too, so the report might come in handy for your own next trip planning too!