Expedia announced today that it will no longer charge a fee for booking over the phone. It's the latest in a round of fee cuts from Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz, as each tries to hold on to customers and steal business while the travel industry struggles.
For comparison, Orbitz charges $25 for each airline ticket booked on the phone, but there is no phone charge for hotels, cars, and vacation packages. Travelocity charges $25 per airline ticket as well, and adds a flat $25 fee for booking a vacation package over the phone. Cars, hotels, and cruises have no fee. Priceline already doesn't charge any phone booking fees.
Earlier this year, Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz all eliminated booking fees for airfare online, which represented a huge win for consumers. Orbitz followed that by eliminating its change and cancellation fees for hotels, something Expedia and Travelocity had already done as well. So with a pattern of anything-you-do-I'll-do-too already well established, it seems likely that Orbitz and Travelocity will match Expedia's move. We'll keep our eyes peeled.
Readers, does Expedia's elimination of its phone booking fee make you more likely to book your next trip over the phone? Is it worth it to speak to a human being, or is booking online more convenient? Leave a comment below with your opinion, thanks!
(Editor's Note: SmarterTravel is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, an operating company of Expedia, Inc. Expedia, Inc. also owns Expedia.com.)