Most of our clients have decided to work with a travel advisor because they know that we’ll take care of them before, during and after they travel. They understand that if they book online, they’re paying a mark-up to the online booking engine or directly to the hotel property, and getting no customer service. They value the expertise we bring to the planning process and the relationships that we have with cruise lines, resorts, hotels and tour operators.
But occasionally, we’ll get a client that just wants cheap. The lowest price possible. And we get it—after all, nobody wants to feel like they’re paying more than they have to. But the rates and fares we quote to our clients are always competitive, and often less than you’d find from booking online or direct. Why? Three reasons:
We have preferred relationships with travel providers that give us competitive pricing.
Many of our vendors will do price matches if you find the same trip online for less.
The power of “bundling.”
Bundling really makes a difference. Our suppliers negotiate rates with hotels that are much lower than published rates. And, they’ve got access to bulk and consolidator airfares, which are almost always lower than published rates. So, when you combine two or more rates that are below what’s available to the general public, you’re often paying less to book with a travel agent than you would on your own!
You might have noticed that hotels and online booking agents have a little war going on. Hilton hired Anna Kendrick to push the idea that you’ll get lower rates booking directly from them than you would from an online travel site.
But did you know that a travel advisor can book those same rates that you’d find on Hilton’s website? Or Hyatt’s. Or Marriott’s. Or really any major hotel chain. That’s if you’re booking just a hotel room and nothing else.
But if you’re also booking an airline ticket, a rental car, airport transfers, or sightseeing, we can package all of those things together, so that the overall price is lower than booking each element directly.
Sometimes our clients ask us for a breakdown of what they’re paying for each element, but our vendors don’t even disclose that to us, so we’re not able to pull it apart that way. But what we can tell you is that time and time again, we see the savings for our clients.
We’ve got to stress the point, however, that there’s a difference between “price” and “value.” Our value as travel advisors isn’t in finding the lowest common denominator. Our value is that we take the time to find the right vacation for each particular client, at a price that is competitive, and often with more amenities. So, if you’re looking for a deal, price is your only factor, and you don’t care about having someone take the time to make sure that your travel is stress-free? By all means, book it for yourself. But if you want to make sure that you’re taken care of while you travel, without spending more than you have to… well… give us a call!