Thoughts from The Grand Hotel at Bridgeport General Manager Josh Sanders….
An interesting article came out just this week in the New York Times that addresses a question that many of us in the travel industry get all the time!! With the emergence of new technologies- is it better to plan your vacation or business trip online or by printed guidebooks?
I myself am an online planner kind of person…. I want access to the most current up to the second news and reviews on a particular establishment. I never leave to go to a restaurant before I check out reviews and see if I can find an online coupon.
But there is something to be said for checking out a trusted travel book from the Library or ordering a copy to keep. The article mentions Frommers Guides which has always been a beloved travel book for me- and the book often can serve as a souvenier- to remember your trip.
This article suggests there is value in utilizing both. So I encourage those of you who are strictly online people to also check out a guide book…or one of Portland’s many travel magazines to take with you on your journey. And those who only use guide books- you may be missing out on some very interesting information and deals when you ignore online travel sites like Yahoo Travel or TripAdvisor (one of our favorite sources!).
Read exerts from the article and let us know what you think! Tell us what tools do you use to plan your trips?
By JOE SHARKEY
Published: February 15, 2010
WHERE do you turn when you’re looking for reliable, practical travel information? A printed guide with a well-established brand and a $19.95 price tag? An online review site with millions of opinions, mostly anonymous? Or an online site that hires reporters who visit hotels and post hundreds of photos?
The answer is all of the above, because none alone is enough, and each has unique virtues.
Most travelers I know use the sprawling TripAdvisor.com sites, which claim 30 million reviews and posts from everyday readers in all areas of travel, including hotels. But they don’t use them exclusively. The same person who may browse through 75 reader reviews of a particular hotel may then also click over to a competing site, IgoUgo.com, which is less expansive but offers user-generated travel blogs, reviews and forums, some copiously illustrated.
Of course, the online sites offer immediacy, a distinct advantage over traditional printed guidebooks, which contain hotel, restaurant and other service information that is usually at least a year old but which are written and edited to professional standards…….
In surveys, TripAdvisor found disdain for information in printed travel guidebooks, and not a lot of faith in the established travel media, he said. “When we asked the question, ‘Would you prefer the opinion of one professional travel writer or 100 ordinary travelers,’ almost without exception, everybody said they preferred the 100 ordinary travelers,” he said.
Is there a future for the general travel guidebooks, whether it’s the hearty veterans like Frommer’s or Fodor’s, or the younger guides like Lonely Planet?
Of course, said Jason Clampet, the senior online editor at Frommers.com. The Web site has carried the content of the print Frommer’s guides for about eight years, he said, along with unique online features. “We haven’t seen any cannibalization of our print product,” he said. Whether online or offline, readers “turn to both user-generated and professional content when making decisions.”
That is what Susan Toby Evans, an anthropology professor at Pennsylvania State University, said she does when traveling or planning a trip. The Web is the best source of hotel, restaurant and other timely, practical information, but she said she usually packed a DK travel guide. “They deliver insights about the landscape/cityscape and main features in a format that no e-reader could match,” she said in an e-mail message.
Mr. Seidman at Oyster said he had been thinking about the virtues of print guidebooks, and weighing them against the disadvantages, including that many were cumbersome to carry.
He said he figured a focused, custom-made guide with the features Ms. Evans likes in print should run about 50 pages. “Why couldn’t you just collate the information specific for any trip and put it in a PDF?” he asked.