Real bargains at the Virtual Travel Fair


FUN IN THE SUN: Book your holidays at the Virtual Travel Fair and enjoy great travel bargains. - Reuters

PETALING JAYA: Almost everyone loves to travel. And a whole lot of people love a bargain. So that makes for quite a number who love travel bargains.

There are two ways to finding a bargain for your travel plans, flights and accomodation. You can make a bee line to the nearest property fair and hunt; this can be exciting, especially if you like adventuring or want to make it a family effort.

Or, you can look for travel bargains without ever leaving your home. Yes, fire up the computer, laptop or tablet, and let your fingers do the walking.

To help you with the digital option, The Star Online’s information and travel portal — allMalaysia.info — in collaboration with the Smart Online Travel Assistant (SOTA) hold the Virtual Travel Fair (VTF) twice a year.

The second instalment of VTF 2012 kicked off just days ago and lasts till Sept 30, so there’s plenty of time to browse the site, allmalaysia.info/virtualtravelfair.

If you’ve never checked out the virtual fair, here are a few reasons why such digital resources are popular among armchair travel-bargain hunters.

Some people prefer to make their holiday purchases online because this is so convenient. With the VTF, you’ll need an Internet connection and a PC to start. You can even browse in your PJs if you’re so inclined.

Then, there are the incentives that are being offered, such as instant rebates, attractive gifts, and even cash prizes. There are too many to list them all here, and you wouldn’t want us to spoil the hunt for you, right?

Well, OK, maybe a taste since such goodies have been a hallmark of the VTF.

This time around the VTF is offering buyers packages that come with Lowest- Price-Guarantee tags.

What that means is, if you can find a better deal for the same package elsewhere, the organisers will pay the difference in the pricing, so that you don’t lose out.

And then there’s the e-Auction feature, with bids on some holiday options that start at a low RM10, so you’re more than likely to come away with a sweet deal.

Value for money

Another reason is the variety of the travel packages being offered, as well as their value for money. For each virtual fair, the team refines and improves the offers, with the aim of satisfying holidaymakers, irrespective of age and income level.

Browsing the site is easy, and there are buttons to help you get the information you need. Here’s an example; click on the Get Details button and you’ll find all the information you require, such as where you will be staying, what you will be doing, what your purchase covers, etc.

And if you want even more information or a quick answer to a query, use the live-chat function to talk with a sales representative.

Yet another reason to go virtual is the safe and secure online payment systems, with well known payment gateways such iPay88 and PayPal being a regular feature of the VTF from the beginning.

On top of that, those who have Maybank2u and CIMB Clicks online banking accounts will also find it a breeze to safely and securely buy travel packages at the VTF.

You may also like to consider that the VTF is the biggest online travel fair in the world.

While there are some other websites running online travel fairs, these are mostly limited to offering an aggregation of travel packages offered by brick-and-mortar fairs.

What sets the VTF apart is the travel deals offered are available online from multiple operators, among the 1,400-plus travel agents and hotels worldwide which are using the SOTA platform.

Also, the greenies among us will be glad to note that the VTF helps create more environmentally-conscious travellers by promoting online purchases of travel products.

If more consumers use online travel platforms to buy holidays, this will cut the need to drive to travel fairs or meetings with travel agents. And this leads to less consumption of petrol and the reduction of exhaust fumes in the environment.

It would also dispense with the need for having physical promotional materials, such as printed flyers and brochures, which cost trees and add to litter.

There’s also less need for plastic bags, buntings and banners, which ultimately end up in landfills.

So happy bargain hunting, and thank you for going green.

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