Summer is upon us. Thoughts of the beach, sun and summer travel fill the air. For me, I think travel. It's time to plan some trips. With so many travel options, it's easy to get lost in the plethora of search vehicles that exist. As an avid traveler, I continually find myself sifting through site after site, gathering information, checking prices and wondering what I have missed. I enjoy the search. It helps me to plan, learn and understand what options await in my destination, providing information to move forward and plan or not plan a certain trip. Information I obtain from these sites makes me feel free to dive right in and immerse myself in the culture, becoming a local once I get there. I still hit the key tourist locations and must-sees, but I don't feel like I am missing anything.
My planning preferences aside, to get the information I seek I review a lot of sites, even going back to those that I don't initially find helpful, just in case. I stumbled on the Hindustan Times in my search of travel site comparisons and they did a great job of summing up the competition of 9 sites and their differences. Hotels.com came out on top as offering the best experience, for the second year in a row. I find this interesting. In an age where things move so fast, companies have to be even faster to stay ahead and keep their consumers. Having reviewed and worked on sites for some of our travel & tourism clients, balancing speed to market, design and consumer relevance and need is a constant point of contention and takes time.
It would appear hotels.com has found a balance and way to maintain it. Personally, I prefer Expedia.com and book a lot of my travel through the site, but that's just my opinion.