How do you book your holiday(12 Posts)
I work in Travel. This is not a self promotion and I have namechanged. I'm giving my personal advice on Tour Operators who sell ATOL bonded package holidays, because, that's what we do.
Everyone wants to watch the pennies. There's a lot of opinion about booking all the elements of travel to make it cheaper and not going through a Tour Operator because they are more expensive. It's hard enough as it is ATM, but I'll try and convince you why (in most cases and especially with us) booking with a Tour Op is better.
1. Tour operators who put package holidays get "Inclusive Tour flights" (low priced fares know as IT Fares).
IT Fares can only be sold in conjunction with a hotel/resort (part of the contract for selling them at a reduced rate). On long haul the flight costs alone, could save you a few quid.
2. Tour operators get direct contracts from the hotels, or the hotel's marketing company. The hotel's contract rates (may vary between operator) gives Tour Ops reduced room rates, special promotions and incentives (like stay 7 pay for 5) when sold in conjunction with a flight to make a package holiday. We are sometimes given unique rates, especially when we book lots of rooms, or support them through a marketing campaign.
Joe Public going direct to the hotel will have to pay the 'rack rate' which is more expensive than the contracted rates. The hotels can't/don't sell you a single room at the reduced Tour Op rate because, they are contracted not to undercut them. They do this as it is the many Tour Ops that the hotels rely on to sell 100 or so rooms each month compared to you booking one room. Also it's the Tour Operators that pay to market the hotels as holidays, through pay for click on google, brochures or national advertising. The hotels rarely chip in to this marketing cost.
I'm not even going to comment on the benefits of financial protection via ATOL. This is about cost and why it is not always cheaper to book a holiday yourself.
Anyway back to work now for me.
Also, the Late Deal market has some brilliant deals right now, so if you haven't booked already for the summer hols, do it before the end of June, don't leave it much longer, as there are some great offers out there for the taking, especially on long haul.
I've never found a package holiday that is cheaper than looking around and booking the seperate elements myself. To do what we generally do would cost three times as much with a tour operator.
Also, package holidays rarely ever cater for families with more than 2/3 children!
Tour Ops that specialise in certain destinations are better IMHO, they know the resorts, hotels, and rooms that will accommodate larger families. FYI, we also have child ages up to 16 in some hotels (some All Inc) that can share a room.
I've NEVER found a holiday cheaper than booking separates. NEVER.
I always make sure we have insurance and book with reputable companies.
Not had a problem so far, touch wood all goes in well in August when we go away.
We did a package holiday four years ago and it was OK.
I much prefer doing the elements myself though; I prefer going S/C and it has also been cheaper.
When we wanted a room in a hotel in Singapore in March I rang four different travel agents in London for a price (we had already chosen the hotel). None of them came close to what I could get direct from the hotel. In fact one large and very well known specialist far east/Oz travel company quoted me more than twice the rate I got booking direct online. Same thing happened when we went to Oz two years before. Maybe I'm picking the wrong travel agents? But our holidays have always come out cheaper if we book the individual elements independently of each other.
You can still get hotel rooms cheaper than rack rate without going to a travel agent. We used to use hotelshop, don't know if it's still going.
Also, the reason people often book the elements separately is that they don't want a 'package' type holiday i.e. half board, ugly hotel, group meetings with the rep etc.
Possibly peoples perception of what a 'package holiday' is needs some updating. Anyone tried converting back after years of hating them, as times have moved on.
I think like puffling, that most people feel that "package holiday" have limited choice of accommodation (ugly hotels), stay dates and durations and then annoying spotty reps on arrival who want you to play water volleyball every five minutes or make you go on an expensive excursion.
These days you don't have to start your 'package' holiday squashed together on a resort transfer coach. Or wander through the rest of the holiday like a bunch of lemmings.
I'd hate that too.
I don't hate package holidays, I've been on many.
BUT prefer booking it all separately, its cheaper, much cheaper in most cases.
The package holiday is dying as more people realise this, I don't know many people who still book packages.
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