Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Travel Auctions: What to Look For

By Keely Capel

Travel auction sites have revolutionised the travel industry in recent years, however there has been a lot of bad press with regards to them and warnings of being defrauded or scammed. However travel auctions can present you with a great opportunity to find your ideal holiday at the best possible price, you just need know what to look for when participating in one.

The first thing I recommend to anyone looking to book a trip using a travel auction, whether a package, flight or holiday accommodation is to take some time out to watch the auctions that are currently running on your chosen travel auction site. Look at the number of people participating, what the bid increments are; are they in £5 increases or £100's increases.  Is there a lot of last minute activate which pushes the price up at the very last second?

Travel auctions are often formatted just like eBay, with detailed listing explaining what is and isn't included and pictures showcasing what is being offered in the auction. When it comes to travel auctions, take time to check the end provider. Many will list information as to whom you are actually purchasing from. If its for flights, do you know which airline will be operating it? Is it someone you have heard of before? For a package holiday who is the tour operator are they ATOL protected. For holiday accommodation,  what is the name of the resort or development? try googling them to look for reviews.

When bidding on travel auctions, check if the company running the site offer transparency. Do you know who owns the company? Do you know where they are based? Can you pick up the phone and call someone?

Travel auctions are not much difference to buying something from an eBay auction, so be sure to do the same level of due diligence as you would when using eBay.

Payment is another factor. If you are paying for goods before they are received, then check out what payment methods are offers. Will you credit card company cover you in cases of fraud, does the site operate using an Escrow account where the funds will not be received until the good or services have been supplied. Do they use a reputable online payment process like PayPal?

You should take the time to check the travel auctions terms and conditions, which should be clearly advertised on their website and easy to find. Make sure you know what you are liable for. You may often find local or government taxes are not included within the bidding price and will be an additional extra, so be aware of this and look out for it on listings.

So whilst the above my lead you to air on the side of caution, and the press may warn of scams, travel auctions in general are a safe place where you can find and secure holiday accommodation, flights and other elements sometime at below average price. But an auction is an auction and the prize goes to the highest bidder, so don't forget to factor in a cut of point as to where you draw the line or you could end up paying over the odds for that dream vacation.

However as a whole travel auctions are run by reputable companies, often owned by much bigger travel organisations who have many subsidiaries many of which you will know and those small independent ones, can sometime offer even better deals. As long as you know where the company is based, can make contact with someone and can see they are actively involved in the travel auction market place then they are safe.

To take a look at our travel auctions and test you skills at bidding competitively for you next holiday please visit