DIY holiday bookings online

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"The last four hours have seen one child fail to get to the airsickness bag in time ... another has left his shoes - HIS SHOES! - on the plane and a third just simply doesn't want to be here ..."

Sound a tad familiar?

So begins one family's holiday in the latest in a series of ads for the world's largest accommodation booking site - Booking.com.

The bedraggled family can be seen trudging up a hotel hallway to their room ready for further disappointment. This is a family that looks fed up before the holiday starts!

Of course - there's a happy ending!

Dad tentatively opens the door and the room is amazing! The kids shift out of their lethargy, eyes open in excited anticipation and barge past to check out their awesome holiday digs. Dad looks like he's had a reprieve - and Mum's relieved smile says it all.

Booking.com is hoping the message cuts through to families with the new campaign - DIY holiday planning need not have a miserable outcome! Recently rated by Hitwise as Australia’s “biggest and fastest growing” online travel agent, with more than 5.3 million visits a month, Booking.com's Chief Marketing Officer spoke to Out & About with Kids about the secret of DIY happy family holiday planning.

What can Booking.com offer families?

We have over 345,000 accommodation options with 25 different types of accommodation that includes everything for every taste and budget including villas and apartments, 5-star hotels, 140,000 pet friendly hotels and even igloos and treehouses - and we have 8 million photos!

How does your review system work to help families?

Unlike other travel review sites, Booking.com only invites people to review their accommodation after they've holidayed there so we can offer real reviews from real customers. We have over 24 million real customer reviews. We ask our customers to tell us a bit about themselves and the nature of their holiday so that our customers can filter the most appropriate reviews. A family won't necessarily be interested in a review by a couple whose holiday priorities were great restaurants, bars and spas or one hotel might be outstanding for older kids but not as suitable for younger kids.

How specific can a family be when searching a particular destination?

We have killer mapping tools that let you specifically map out your holiday. For example, if you've decided on a destination and you are looking for accommodation that is near a beach, or theme parks, or museums, you can narrow your search to properties within those vicinities so that you can be certain, when you arrive, you're not staying further from the fun than you wanted!

What are the fees associated with Booking.com?

There are no booking fees at all and we give families the flexibility to change their plans even after they've booked in most instances. You can even search for properties that have no Cancellation Fees. We understand that things happen or people change their minds. Let's face it, we know there's alot of pressure when you press "Submit" and make a booking so we aim to really enhance the customer experience and make it as easy as possible.

We all know there can be pitfalls travelling to foreign countries with a family. What back-up assistance do you offer?

We have 41 languages and 24/7 customer service because we know there can be uncertainty on the road in countries particularly where you don't speak the language. While you're away you can simply pick up the phone and speak to someone in your own language and these are in-house employees - we don't outsource our customer service - so you can be assured of the right help in real time while you're overseas.

What's the best way for a family planning a holiday to get started with Booking.com?

We've designed our service in recognition of the fact that everyone shops, or searches, differently so we've made it simple to start anywhere and navigate through on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone. If you know your destination, start using our filters to:-

  • Sort by budget or accommodation types. You may prefer an apartment or villa so you can do your own cooking; you may have decided you'll all stay in one room or that you'd like separate bedrooms.
  • Use our map feature. What is it your family most wants from their holiday? Beaches? Theme Parks? Hiking? Attractions? Restaurants? Shopping?
  • What are the ages of your children? Read our reviews for age-appropriate facilities and attractions. Are you looking for somewhere with a great Kids Club? Are you looking for somewhere with plenty to entertain teens?
  • Choose your accommodation and book your holiday!
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