New "hybrid" online booking models
With so many booking agents to choose from, travelers are turning to a new group of sites that is moving into travel-agent territory. “People are frustrated,” says Henry Harteveldt, lead travel analyst at Forrester Research Inc., an independent research company in Cambridge, Mass. “Online booking tools haven’t inspired customers, helped them plan, or made them feel smarter.” In response, the new hybrid models are trying to lure customers by offering insider advice on destinations and organizing custom itineraries. Nileguide.com, for example, allows you to create individualized itineraries in more than 20 countries by clicking and dragging listings of restaurants, hotels, and attractions into an online trip calendar.