Web travel tips
It’s official. Air, hotel, car and meeting costs are on the rise. How can every business best benefit from the heated market? SmartCompany.com.au has compiled the best tips to combat the rising travel costs.
Virgin Blue’s revamped website launched this week sensibly allows users to change the font size of the page, brilliant for those who struggle to read all the fine print.
Take advantage of the clever online seat selectors when you book airfares online – even Jetstar offers this service.
Tiger Airways charges $5 to choose your own seat and a $25 for extra legroom.
If you haven’t done online check-in, you’re mad – especially on international flights. Singapore Airlines in particular offers this service. By checking in online and printing out your boarding pass, you can avoid the main economy class queue, go to a designated online check-in counter with your printed boarding pass, hand over your luggage and off you go. Jetstar will offer the service at some airports from November 2007.
Watch out for Virgin Blue’s mobile phone check-in coming soon.
Travelling with excess baggage on Tiger Airways flights? Pay $50 for an extra 15 kilograms. Easy.
Tick the box when booking to make your flight carbon neutral, it only costs a few dollars. Better still get with the trend of making your next meeting/conference carbon neutral. Put it on your company’s permanent agenda.
Get smart about finding airfare deals
It’s hard to beat English-based search engine Skyscanner.net . It quickly shows daily best flight prices over a week or month or even a year in chart form. Once the cheapest flight is found, bookings are then made directly with the airline.
Alternatively, Webjet chief executive Richard Noon’s favourite web tool is the Webjet Deal Finder . For an executive wanting to fly to London in the next eight weeks, it can compare all the flights on all the departure dates for the whole period on one screen. “If you are flexible on the days you want to go, you can save $500,” says Noon.
Prices are colour coded, so it is easy to identify the highest and lowest prices. Users can even look at the Deal Finder results in a grid or chart form. (I love the chart form, which displays the cheapest flight for each day of the travel period, making it easy to see why smart travellers try and fly on Tuesdays to save a fortune.)
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Sign up to the best web travel e-newsletters
Shock horror, these e-newsletters are far from spam. They give your business the heads-up on airfare sales and bargains such as Jetstar’s “Take a Friend for $3”. Frequency varies from weekly to fortnightly so the e-newsletters won’t jam your in-box. If you’re not on these subscriber lists, chances are the best tickets will be sold out by the time you hear about them. (Webjet, Virgin Blue and Jetstar have 800,000 on their lists already.)
If you don’t want the e-newsletters yourself, have your travel booker subscribe. Best e-newsletter bets: Tiger Airways, Virgin Blue, Webjet and Jetstar.
By Emily Ross