In general, negotiation mean bargaining process between two or more parties seeking to discover a common ground and reach an agreement to settle a matter of mutual concern or resolve a conflict (Business Dictionary.com). According to Fisher & Ury in their book Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In, negotiating is a basic ways in getting what you want from other peoples (1981). While in Oxford Dictionary, negotiation mean discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. In Women Are Getting Even (WAGE) website, they interpret negotiation as conversation between two parties in order to make an exchange. According to Rusk (2006), the meaning of negotiation is “discussion intended to produce an agreement”. It also can be referring as common solutions that used to make a decisions and settle down the problems (Moore, 2012), a process which is two or more parties attempt to agree on the rate of goods and services that they exchange (Robbins & Judge, 2003). Conflict and negotiation are a fact of everyday work-life, yet it often produces anxiety (Cutts, 2012).
The UK Border Agency has announced that there are still technical problems with online booking service (Kelly, 2012). This statement shows that sometimes online booking faced a problem such as lost record (Kirschbaum, 2009), security issues (Fane, 2010) and technical issues (Scoot, 2012). There are problems that faced by customer when they used online booking system. Despite the fact that all the respondents (except for one) use computers almost every day, 14% believe that booking online is not securing in general (Bogdanovych et al, 2006). Conflict happen because of these problems. Conflict happen when people did not agree with the issue, it will create a friction or tension between that individual or groups (Nahavandi, 1999). Negotion is a process that examining the facts of situation, exposing the interest of both parties involver and bargaining to solve the conflict as many as possible (Moore, 2012). Negotiation permeates the interaction of almost everybody in the organization (Robbins & Judge, 2003). According to Lucas (2008), conflict might occur because of differing perception, inadequate or poor communication and also contrary expectations. These problems often happen when dealing with customer especially in travel agency. In tourism industry negotiation is an important process to gain a mutual agreement of something, especially to travel agencies. It is crucial for them to confirm what their customer wants and need. Through negotiation conflict between travel agency and customer can be reduced. Negotiating through areas of conflict can often lead to win-win situations agreeable to parties, reducing ill felling and conflict (Queensland Government, 2011). Travel agents have the negotiation power because they have maximum choice to offer to their clients (Travel Café Inc 2011). This means they have variety of choices that they can get from their travel suppliers and they can give us the best deal with best value of possible. Online booking lack of firsthand knowledge and rarely gives customer opportunity to speak with someone knowledgeable about service that they are booking (Morelock, 2012). The clients and travel agents can assists us to get what we want in our vacation.
Online booking allow customer to make all travel plans on the internet means they can do it any time of the day or night at home or while they’re on their lunch break at the office (Oakley, 2012). It is true when we are doing booking online we can make a booking everywhere and anytime but we cannot negotiate the price of the tourism product that we wish to book. If we are negotiating with travel agents, we have the chance to get lower prices as possible. Price negotiation usually occurs during purchasing of materials or supplies (Francois, 2012). For example, if a travel package to Cameron Highlands costs about RM300 for two nights, the clients can negotiate the price lower and can get around RM250. With negotiations, both parties will receive their own benefits and it is a win-win situation (Rusk, 2006). When customer asks an agent to negotiate, means customer are essentially asking the agent to subsidize their vacation (Brock, 2009) but through online system, customer had no change to negotiate with an agent because the price is fixed. The Marriott International, Hilton Hotels, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts and others was charged in San Francisco Federal Court on charges conspired to use their market dominance to fix the hotel prices with travel websites like Travelocity, Booking.com and Expedia, a subsidiary of Priceline.com From this case we can see that customer cannot negotiate the price because the price is fixed. The aim of the negotiations is to decide the price that is acceptable for both parties (Francois, 2012)
From price negotiation process it becomes bargaining process. Negotiations commonly follow a process of “positional bargaining” (Cutts, 2012). Oxford Online Dictionary give two interpretation of bargaining, the first is an agreement between two or more people or groups as to what each will do for the other. The second is a thing bought or offered for sale much more cheaply than usual or expected. There are two types of negotiation which are distributive bargaining and integrative bargaining (Robbins & Judge, 2003). Distributive bargaining also called claiming value, zero-sum or win-lose bargaining is a competitive strategy that is used to decide how to distribute a fixed resource such as money (Spangler, 2003). Honeyman (2012), interpret intergrative bargaining as one of platform which party try to understand interests of another party, on the expectation that it will helping the opponent to create solution as responsive its own concerns. According to Tewart (2012), many times people say they don’t like to negotiate (bargaining) yet, they still shop around and never pay full price. The word bargaining here does not only mean price negotiation, it is a much differentiated and broader term (Management Study Guide, 2012). Customer also can bargain to build his or her own trip with or without help from a customer care executive (Agarwal, 2012), asking whether travel agency offer travel insurance (trip – Travel Responsibility Informed & Protected, 2012) and a customer can seek redress under certain circumstances commonly referred as the right to repair, replacement or refund (Government of South Australia, 2011). These are things that customer can bargain with travel agencies.
The freedom of customer is restricted when they make booking through online. Customer cannot confirm their specific requirement when make the online booking through the hotel reservation system (Vyas, 2010). For example, when they make booking through hotel reservation system, if they have something that they don’t understand, no place for them to raise the questions. According to Lloyd, booking online doesn’t have individual to deal with booking process, it leaf to customer to read and understand the complicated terms and conditions. One of the advantages of booking direct with the hotel, by phone or email, is that customer can request a specific room of the hotel and they cannot normally do that online or with an agent (Trend, 2010)
According to Tewart (2012), most people act in their best interest and most people who say they don’t like negotiating, actually still want to. This statement show that customers still love to negotiate and online booking system prevent them from doing it. Negotiation is needed in order to secure the resources required for successful project completion (Evans & Lindsay, 2008). Through negotiating win-win solutions with customers it will not only give your company the best chance to succeed but will also create relation between customer and your company for future sales opportunities (Douglas, 2003). Negotiation also can increase clarity about the problem, can lead to innovative breakthroughs and new approaches, involvement in conflict can sharpen approaches to bargaining, influencing, competing and also can focus more attention on basic issues and lead to solution (Wertheim,1996)
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