I get the impression that the contributors in general have: 1) had very few real negative experiences in recent travel, 2) had trips where the negatives are so far outweighed by the positive it didn't seem worth mentioning or 3) been hesitant to express negatives for fear of offending fans of that country or site, or possibly afraid of upsetting the LL higher-ups...I'm not sure which. Maybe it's the gossip in me but I'd really enjoy hearing reports of negative experiences, both for my own research and because I find it interesting. I even started a thread a while back for posting "worst hotel experiences" (a topic which I find important (again, for research) not to mention fun) but got no takers....
Hi. Classenam. I think your point #3 is probably the major reason. But there is something else at play. If you read through TripAdvisor reviews, you will notice that hotel reviews that are pans get no approval, while those that heap praise get major kudos. What's at work here may be the social theory that if you didin't like what I liked there's clearly something wrong with your critical thinking.In general, I think one learns more from a negative review thanm a positive one, althoughj certainly some balance is required. And there's always the dollar factor. I don't know where you're based, but here in New York, contemplatinmg a really long haul to a place I've never been--the Seychelles, for example--I would find negative reporting veru usefuil. A travbel mistake at 8,000 miles from home is more painful thanm one at 1,000--just because of the do9llar/distance factor, and greater expectations. I also routine;ly disregard assays by honeymooners, who are universally blinded by stas in their eyes. And just to complicate the scene, resort hotels change ownership, character and performance withstartling alacrity. So, I'm always a bit bemused when people talk of having been to a resort (in particular) 3-4 years ago and compare it to a more contemporary experience.
I have to admit that so far, depite my constant surveying of LL offers, I've responded to nary a one. Mostly because until recently I haven--we haven't--had the time/flexibility to plan far ahead.That's about to change, so I imagine I (we) will become more active.
One more point. It seems to me that many of the LL packages are restatements of hotel offeringsotherwise available on the hotel sites. Not all, mind you, but a lot. This isn't necessarily bad, or even deceptive. I just found it a tad disappointing.
I like your thoughts on the idea of 'flexible' LL packages, as having the opportunity to extend a stay at a resort or hotel for a day or two or even a whole week would often be very appealing to me and my wife on our travels. i see there's quite a bit of support for this notion, so perhaps the LL Moderators will consider such a change. Another related matter that I'd like to see a lot more of on LL is flights being either included as part of a package on auction of on "Best Buy" or offered as stand-alones that you could bid on or buy so that the air transport could be custom-tailored to fir your particular travel plans and schedules. This same notion would, I think, also be very beneficial if applied to train and or ferry travel. If these were made available through LL, they'd quickly become part of a one-stop travel planning/organizing process that'd simplify getting all the different aspects of travel taken care of at once, instead of the current situation that usually involves buying the different components (transportation, accommodations, tours etc) separately.
I think one of the problems with including airfare / other travel in packages is that this makes the package less appealing to anyone who isn't able to use that portion of it -- there are a few packages to Asia that I found interesting but they included airfare from the US so I didn't bid. It's the same with the luggage included in some of the recent Hawaii offers -- Hartmann makes great luggage, but I already have several pieces and no desire for more (I still can't figure out how I'd get the extra luggage home without paying a hefty extra bag fee).
If LL wants to push into the European market (which it appears that they do) this will become even more of a factor.
Perhaps LL could look into some sort of affiliation with a travel agency (one in the US, one in the UK) which would offer special rates to people who booked through LL. This would enable people who wanted to book their entire trip in one go to do so without restricting the appeal of the auctions to the broader LL community.
Since we are discussing 'flexible' packages, why not suggest to the LL Moderators that if a package contains airfare; a number of different departure cities be available to choose from. For example, if the resort/hotel is located in Rome, Italy but bidders/buyers are located in the USA, Canada, the UK, Scandinavia, France, Germany, etc. then there'd be a long list of departure airports to pick, for example: New York, Chicago, L.A., Toronto, Vancouver, London, Edinborough, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Paris, Berlin, etc. Each of these choices would have a different airfare (depending on the distance to the destination). I see this approach used quite often and very successfully on skyauction, another travel auction site. Why not on LL?
When I was at uni I had a summer job in a travel agency, and one thing that I learned was that airline tickets are almost always cheapest when issued in the country of origin. This means that while LL fares could be quite competitive if they originated in the US (since LL is a US company) unless they affiliated with a travel company in the UK their rates for flights originating here would most likely be too high to be a good deal.
I think doing the airfare as an optional add-on would work best -- that way people flying out of the US could add it one if they wanted, but those of us outside the US could opt for land-only packages. This would also allow people to use FF miles if they wanted to.
Don't really want to berate the point, asI see you're of a different opinion. But from recent personal experience, I've found that combining an LL auction for a luxury property abroad with an auction for just the airfare from another travel auction site worked just marvellously for me. I got both for a fraction of the 'retail price' and couldn't have been more pleased with all the components of my travel adventure. Again, I think we both obviously agree on the need for having 'flexible packages' or at least for being flexible enough to cobble together a great custom-made travel package via the use of two or more auction sites(as long as such is not avalable on any one travel site).
Hi,curtiejoe. I wonder what the incidence of LL-users participating in a land-based auction is and then combining it with another auction for air tix on another site. You've done it, so it clearly can be done.But it would seem to demand unusual flexibility of travel time . Note that many, if not all of the packages on LL have a somewhat limited window for purchase, often with added blackout dates. Further, it seems to me that the airlines are interested in selling their tix, and their packages are a device to achieve that. It is true that tix are usually cheaper (but not always) in their country of origin. One reason is that, for example, BA faces competition from low-cost airlies in the UK, and the effect of that competition is not felt to an American consumer seeking to purchase a London-Majorca=-London ticket on BA in New York.
Another issue is what exactly LL can do for an airline. Yes, you can probably get good discounts on Air Rumania--which at one point had the worst safety record in the world. But what's in it for American Airlines, say, or Delta? Or Virgin or BA? That is, high voluime carriers who need to fill a lot of seats?
One way through (or around) this issue is to construct a frequent user program on LL which "pays off" in discounted air tix. The obvious problem with any such proposal--overlooking its complexity--is that it would appear to be in competition with the airlines own frequent flier programs.I do think that simply as a service--and as a device to cozy up to airlines-- LL might have a page devoted to discounts. It was fairlty commonm, for example, to get a free companion ticket with one purchase of a rt NY-Paris in business class. Ditto for first class. I'm not sure that necessarily fits the user-benefgot profile of LL, but it might give LL some pr leverage.
It would be interesting--if LL would reveal it--what percentage of LL users are from where, what the frequency of site visits is, and what the actual purchase participation level is by country.I also wonder whether it is possible to do a cross-over with TripAdvsior, as both communities do share some service characteristics in common, though admittedly LL is more upper tier.
Apologies for the long-winded commentary.I used to work for a couple of newsweeklies, and my wife says that minus an editor's scrutiny I tend to run a bit long.
Not at all long-winded for me. I appreciate the time and effort you've taken to reply in detail. My experiences with combining separate airfare from one source with a hotel/resort package from LL or another similar website has been absolutely marvelous. The best ever of these are my jaunts to Europe. My usual itinerary involves finding a good deal on a regular airline for the Toronto to London leg. Then, linking this with an incredibly cheap flight from London aboard Ryan Air to one of the multitude of fabulous destinations that amazing airline flies to. My last outing went like this: Toronto to London on Air Transat ($450 return with tax), London to Stockholm on Ryan ($40 one-way with tax!!!), Stockholm to Paris on Ryan ($35 one-way with tax), my cousin's car from Paris to Amsterdam (helped pay for gas), and finally from Eindhoven, Holland to London on Ryan ($27 one-way with tax). A totally amazing journey at an incredibly low total cost, even after you factor in the cost of accomodations!!!
Like your idea for a frequent user' program on LL for discounts on air tickets. Hope they pick up on it.
I'm happy to agree to disagree -- I think this has less to do with any deep philosophical differences between us than with our simply being on opposite sides of the pond.
Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed reply. I think you've made some good points. It seems like the whole airfare thing is likely to be so complex that it would involve a lot of extra work for LL, which would raise overheads and costs and might result in prices going up.
Given that so many people like to add extra time to their LL packages and enjoy putting itineraries together which combine multiple packages, it's hard to see where packages with airfare would fit in, unless the tickets were somewhat flexible (which would drive the prices up). For maximum flexibility, it seems best to keep the airfare as an optional add-on rather than making it part of the package.