Up until two years ago, there was only one major travel fair in the country. Up until two years ago, you had to pay to enter the travel fair. The entrance fee was $4. That’s right. Just to enter a crowded Hall at the Singapore Expo and endure your ribs being elbowed and your sense of smell overwhelmed by a mixture of B.O.
But still we endure it. Why? Because we believe that the best travel promotions and deals can only be found there. But imagine if you can get all those amazing deals without having to deal with a crowd. Join me as I envision an online travel fair.
1. You don’t need to contend with large crowds
Singaporeans love to queue. We queue for Michelin-starred food, we queue for new iPhones, we queue to withdraw money (especially after payday) and once a year some Singaporeans even queue to deposit money because we believe it will bring us luck. But at least those queues are organised and people are patiently waiting for their turn. A typical travel fair usually has none of these sane queues. Instead, they’re full of people rushing for the best deals, and cutting in front of you without even an apology.
With an online travel fair, you won’t need to deal with any of that. No, you won’t have to skilfully manoeuvre between human bodies in the hope of getting that perfect travel package promotion. Better still, you can do it without leaving the comfort of your home or your office. Just make sure your boss doesn’t catch you, or you’ll really need that cheap overseas getaway.
2. You don’t need to waste time traveling and paying extra for transport
For the longest time, to get to the travel fair, you had to travel (pun intended!) all the way to the Singapore Expo. For those of you living in Jurong or Woodlands or even Punggol, you might feel like you should be bringing your passport just to head to this location between Simei and Tampines. Yes, even if you’re driving, it’s still going to take 40 minutes to cross the island.
It’s been two years since a second travel fair begun. This one is more popular and one of the reasons is it’s held at Marina Bay Sands. However, despite being more centrally located, you now must pay the convention centre’s exorbitant parking fees if you don’t come by public transport.
The worst part about these costs is that you’ll still have to pay them even when you can’t find a travel promotion that works for you. An online travel fair would save you those costs, which can add up, especially with rising parking fees at MBS and the Expo.
3. You don’t have to deal with pushy sales people who try to upsell packages to you
You’ve endured travel time, expensive parking, crowds of people pushing you and now you’re finally at the exhibitor’s booth. But here comes another kind of pushing – from touts. Touting has been illegal in Singapore for years, but clearly these people believe in the unspoken Golden Rule – “Do whatever you want, just don’t get caught”.
And because they know you’re literally a captive audience, they take every opportunity to demand your attention and try to offer their best deals to you – except you have no intention of visiting their half-star “beachside resort” next to a longkang.
Quite obviously, you won’t find these salespeople at an online travel fair – and you can browse the many deals available without ever feeling pressured to buy.
4. You can search for your preferred travel dates and choose your preferred flights and accommodation
Speaking of browsing the many deals available, you can guess by now that one of the best advantages of an online travel fair is that you can search for and filter your results based on your preferred itinerary, not the travel agent’s.
Want to fly on a Tuesday morning and return on a Monday? No problem. Don’t like a particular airline because they keep losing your luggage? No problem. An online travel fair will be able to find the best prices according to your needs.
5. Best of all, you still enjoy the same kind of promotional prices!
That’s right! In fact, you might even be able to enjoy deeper discounts from travel agents. Why? Because they’re saving money by not needing to pay for a booth at a travel fair at the Expo or MBS. They will be more than happy to pass on those savings to you, the customer.
And in case you think that online travel fairs are only in the future…
Online travel fairs are already happening. In fact, while travel fairs are happening right now at the end of February, Expedia.com.sg is also running their Online Travel Fair from now till 12 March 2017. The travel period for their travel deals is valid till 30 June 2017. They’ve got everything you could want whether you’re a budget travellers or looking to relax at a resort.
Better still, while you have the option of booking only flights, or only hotel accommodations, the best deals are found in their flight+hotel package bookings where you can expect to save up to 80%.
What do you think about online travel fairs? We want to hear from you.
This article is brought to you in collaboration with Expedia.