How Did People Book Flights Before The Internet When you reflect on how you used to plan your travels, it’s quite a different experience compared to today’s digital age. Choosing a Santa Fe restaurant, booking Park City lodging, scheduling a flight to San Diego, and managing expenses used to involve a whole different process. The internet has revolutionized the way we travel. Here’s a look back at how travel was handled before the internet:
The Pre-Internet Process:
Before the advent of the internet, travelers faced a far more challenging and time-consuming task. Finding lodging, discovering local dining options, and making flight reservations all required a more manual and less transparent approach.
- Travel Agent or Guidebook: Locating suitable lodging or dining options often relied on travel agents or guidebooks. Travelers had to rely on the knowledge and recommendations of these experts or rely on printed guides.
- Limited Reviews: Access to customer reviews was minimal or nonexistent. Travelers couldn’t easily gauge public opinion about restaurants or lodging establishments, making it challenging to make informed choices.
- Paper-Based Reservations: Booking a flight involved handwritten paper tickets with carbon copies. Reservations for lodging were recorded on a physical ledger or a giant board. Everything was documented on paper.
- Limited Information: Detailed information about lodging options, including rates, room photos, or special offers, was scarce. Inquiries often required direct phone calls, and travelers took risks with unfamiliar properties.
The Role of Travel Agents:
Travel agents played a crucial role in this pre-internet era. They possessed extensive knowledge of destinations, airlines, accommodations, and tour operators. Travel agents helped travelers piece together the various components of a successful trip and earned commissions from lodging providers and airlines for each booking they facilitated.
The Challenge of Paperwork:
Paperwork was a significant part of travel arrangements. Lodging providers, in particular, had to create brochures and cards with fixed rates for each season, mailing them worldwide. Reservations departments operated manually, relying on boards covered in dates and room types.
Every aspect of travel arrangements, from communication between travel agents and lodging providers to updating availability, was manual. Telex and fax machines were cutting-edge tools for communication at the time, and tons of physical documents and records were part of the process.
With the emergence of cloud-based servers, sophisticated algorithms, and big data, the travel industry underwent a significant transformation. Travelers started booking their own lodging, and travel agents became less prominent. Manual processes gave way to automation, and the entire travel experience became more convenient.
The Casualties and Advancements:
While travel agents and certain traditional travel businesses declined, new industries emerged to cater to the online travel economy. The shift empowered travelers to manage their own trips, while properties embraced technology to streamline their operations.
The Constant Change:
The travel industry, like many others, continues to evolve rapidly. Travelers and entrepreneurs are constantly anticipating the next big change in travel, as technology continues to reshape the way we explore the world.
In summary, the internet has brought about remarkable changes in the way we plan and experience travel, making it more accessible, efficient, and empowering for travelers.