Convenience is over-rated. For instance, do people really need the convenience of drive-through liquor stores, and what subliminal message does that send?
I understand the attraction of doing everything online. I know I don't always want to have a long, drawn-out conversation with a stranger. For instance, when I am shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, I want to be left to my own devices until I determine I have a question to ask. In my opinion, most salespeople tend to 'badger' their customers. I'd rather wander around aimlessly until I am ready to be assisted (which may not ever happen).
But some purchases, like a river rafting journey, more often than not, require further information. Users of our service need details and particulars. They need to know what the river classifications mean or indicate. They need to know what they are getting for the price they are paying. They need to know if granny can participate.
Of course, the information is 'out there'. But, when you are engaging in an activity like white water rafting, where there are many variables, it is easy to overlook or gloss over details that can be incredibly useful or important. And, I have found, no matter how thorough an explanatory e-mail might be, or a brochure, or a web site - sometimes a crucial detail gets missed.
Not to mention that when you are buying a service where your safety is at stake, you should be very interested in the attitude and demeanor of the person doing the selling. As I mentioned in an earlier post, customers ought to query the outfitter and their sales staff as much as possible to get an accurate reading of how they run their trips, not just when and where.
Online Reservations are a boon to those of us looking for quieter days with less jangling phone lines to deal with, but, if you are even the least bit unfamiliar with a river or going on river trips, don't hesitate to get your outfitter on the line and getting your questions addressed.