Consumers duped by price comparison websites warns Essential Travel

Guerilla marketing by price comparison websites has conditioned UK consumers to believe they save money by searching the entire market to find the cheapest prices. Leading travel essentials provider EssentialTravel.co.uk warns holiday makers this is not always the case and travellers should take care when searching for holiday insurance.

Stuart Bensusan explains “Companies on these so called “money saving” websites are operating under several trading names, so whilst a top ten search gives consumers the impression that they are viewing a range of prices from ten different providers, in reality the ten insurance “brands” on display are actually owned by a small pool of three or four companies. In some cases it’s as few as two separate providers. Where’s the comparison in that?”

A quick search for the cheapest travel insurance policies on Go-Compare reveals its top ten policies are supplied by just two different companies and CompareTheMarket shows only three.

This means if consumers were to purchase a policy from inside the top ten results on Go-Compare there is an eighty percent chance that they will have purchased a policy from the insurance provider Drakefield, and a twenty percent chance they would have purchased a policy supplied by Citybond insurance. On CompareTheMarket.com there is a sixty percent chance of purchasing a Rock Insurance policy and a thirty percent chance of purchasing a Blue Insurance policy.

Furthermore, the emphasis on price on comparison websites is leading holidaymakers to select the cheapest option rather than the insurance policy that best suits their needs. “Insurers can only offer the exorbitantly low prices appearing on these sites by levying extremely high excesses on policies.” discloses Bensusan.

“Consumers aren’t always aware of the level of cover afforded by these cheaper policies; for example, whilst Moneysupermarket.com offers the lowest priced policy at £27, it has the highest excess at (pound)300. A review of our recent claims showed 70% of them were for amounts totaling less than (pound)300, which means that had those customers purchased this particular low cost policy they would have had to stump up the entire cost of the claim themselves. By spending just (pound)28.35 more on their annual travel insurance policy, customers can reduce the excess to only (pound)90 on items such as baggage, where claims tend to be for lower amounts.”

Bensusan concludes “Consumers need to be wary of websites claiming to offer an overview of prices across the whole market. The cheap policies displayed on these sites are inexpensive for a reason and don’t represent value for those that need to claim. We strongly urge holidaymakers to speak with a travel insurance expert rather than relying on misleading price comparison websites.”

HI-Tech South African Travel Web Site Launched

Travel in Reservations Pty Ltd.  launches its new high tech web site , which offers prospective travelers to South Africa a comprehensive travel guide and a charming selection of  hotels, safari’s and guest houses. Travelers are able to make free online reservations to the finest safari camps such as Londolozi, Singita, Tau, Shamwari and Phinda, to name just a few.

Travel in Reservations Pty Ltd.  is on the cutting edge of South African  e-commerce. They have implemented an advanced online reservations system and the site offers ‘Live Picture’ panoramic views of many of South Africa’s top hotels. It is one of the few online reservation systems to offer a direct human response to every request. In addition, browsers are able to engage in an online chat with a knowledgable agent in South Africa. The secure server aides in this high standard of service by ensuring that all transactions are submitted securely.

“As more and more travelers embrace the Internet as a means of researching and booking their holidays, our personalized service and state of the art technology is ready to embrace the South African through the Internet,” said Travel-in-Reservations Inc. General Manager, Emmanuel Issaurat,

Mardi Gras crackdown in crime

As the carnival kicked off at the weekend, and is likely to be the safest yet with 50,000 police deployed.

With huge amounts of tourist flocking to the worlds biggest Mardi Gras; nearly 800,000 tourists and most of Rio’s six million population attending the samba extravaganza, this year 50,000 police have been deployed to cut down on crime in the city.

In a further bid to create a safer environment 30 surveillance cameras have been installed – targeting pick-pocketers and muggers, as well as monitoring the crowds.

The Rio Carnival is the most fabulous of its kind, and a benchmark to which every other carnival is compared, the entire country stops for almost a week for the festivities. Which includes one of the most stunning parades in the world.

Starting of the celebrations was the crowning of the carnival King, followed by parades including children’s schools from the area.

Unlucky elite samba group Portela, saw most of their floats and costumes destroyed in a devastating fire, but having never missed a parade in its 84 year history they still put on an impressive performance.

Celebrities spotted enjoying the partying included Pamela Anderson, Gisele Bundschen and Jude Law.

Some of the revellers say they have already noticed the difference in atmosphere as a result of the police work in the months leading up to Mardi Gras 2011.

‘The re-taking of the slums has improved the Carnival atmosphere a lot,’ said one Brazilian dancer. ‘Before it was a problem, there were muggings, but now people feel much safer,’ he said.

Rio authorities are also trying to repair the city’s reputation for crime ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

Rachael Chew