What could be worse than booking a seemingly cheap flight or accommodation, only to find out it’s a scam?
In 2015, fraudsters stole £11.5m from holidaymakers, according to the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. That’s £11.5m of hard-earned money, with no holiday to show for it.
So, how can you stay safe when booking your holiday online? We’ve made a checklist of things to look out for, ensuring you can shop with confidence.
Watch out for search ads
Anyone can advertise on search engines. That’s why when you’re searching for the best deals, don’t just look at the price – look at the company too. An indication of a reputable company is the review score on the advert, such as below:
If a company has a high review score and a healthy amount of reviews, it shows that this is a trusted site. Also, if the company has a reasonable amount of followers on Google+ (which is displayed on the ads), it confirms that the company is verified by Google.
Have you researched the company?
Choosing which flights and hotels work best for you takes a lot of time and research, but have you gone to the same lengths to check out the company you’re booking with? When booking with a company online, it’s good to check how long the company has been running, what their terms and conditions are and if they’ve won any awards.
Reviews are always a good indication of whether a particular hotel or company are reputable. A trustworthy website should have their own onsite customer reviews to help you make an informed decision when booking. For example, Travel Republic reviews can be found on our website, as well as on Trustpilot and Review Centre.
ABTA and ATOL
One key thing to look out for on any online travel agent site is the ABTA logo.
ABTA is the Association of British Travel Agents, and is the UK’s governing body in the travel industry. Websites which are registered with ABTA agree to abide by ABTA guidelines, so you can rest assured they are a legitimate business. Some companies also have an ATOL licence, which means that whatever happens on your holiday or with the travel company, you are protected. Rest assured, Travel Republic is the proud holder of both an ABTA and ATOL certificate.
Paying for your holiday
When it comes to paying for your holiday online, there are several things to look out for. Firstly, never pay by bank transfer or via Western Union, as these forms of payment are not intended for commercial use.
Many companies offer deposit schemes, meaning you don’t have to pay for everything upfront – a good indication that they’re not planning on taking your money and doing a runner!
There are plenty of reputable online travel companies out there, making booking your holiday online a safe and secure option. Unfortunately, thanks to a handful of fraudsters out there looking to take advantage of people, it’s important you follow these simple steps to protect yourself.