If you take a look at the entire process of organising a trip somewhere, it can basically be broken down into three steps, namely planning (doing research), booking (which includes payments) and departing on your trip. Planning by doing research usually takes the form of perhaps running a Google search or even browsing through a booking site, while the booking process ether entails calling up a travel agency, ringing up the airline or hotel directly or perhaps making a reservation through a booking site, whether you pay immediately or indeed if your reservation is a form of commitment that you’ll pay later.
Then there’s the actual process of departing on your trip, which is essentially that part of the process during which you may learn that overbooking is still rife in the travel sector. Airlines do it and hotels (and other means of accommodation) do it too, but why on earth do they still do it?
I mean platforms such as booking sites and travel agencies were created and refined to make the entire process much easier for both the travelling customer and the service provider, weren’t they? And make no mistake about it, these types of booking platforms are very well-built, with a great synching mechanism and everything. As soon as a booking is made, the available spots immediately get readjusted, whether it’s a plane ticket you’re booking, a room in a hotel or perhaps even a seat on a ferry or cruise. We cannot fault these systems — they work just as well even when linked with third-party booking platforms, like perhaps on a portion of the website of an affiliate who earns some commission for each booking made through their site.
With booking systems which have clearly demonstrated to be efficient, you still get rife overbooking across the entire travel sector. The reason for all this overbooking is quite simple really and it always comes right back down to capacity-related profits.
You don’t even have to look too far to see it. If say a local metro bus service was always full to capacity and each trip left absolutely no seats empty, there’d be no special offers and discounts such as the popular student bus pass, which although growing in popularity, really should be made use of by many more students in the areas the offer covers.
When you take this sort of thinking over into the airlines and accommodation space, you’ll realise that overbooking is just something we’ll have to learn to live with. Yes, at times it causes a lot of inconvenience, but without the presence of that environment which is susceptible to overbooking in the travel industry, there would be no environment conducive to the allocation of special discounts, offers and in some cases freebies. Simply put, an airline would rather sell more tickets at a cheaper price than selling just a few tickets which only partially fill up the seats.
So next time you have to endure the effects of overbooking, like a delayed flight for instance, keep in mind that when the tables have turned you’ll be able to enjoy a discount or a freebie to balance out the scale a bit.