I recently read an open letter from one of our industry's opinion writers in a trade article. His take on 'cheap' vacations matches our perspective when we are building dream vacations for our clients. Enjoy some excerpts from his column:
So you are looking for a bargain. You want something cheap for your next vacation. You want the cheapest hotels available.
If you just Google "cheap travel" you will get 5.7 million hits. That gives you quite a few options to sort through! But let us save you some time. The word "cheap," which comes from the Latin caupo and means "petty tradesman" and "huckster," is not a term with legal meaning or standing. Anyone can say they are cheap. Any business transaction can be called a deal.
The first question someone may ask is why they want the cheapest anything, since price almost always connotes quality and the cheapest is usually the most poorly made, the poorest design, the worst service or the most poorly trained. Are you certain you want "cheap?"
Your next vacation will not be inexpensive. You will likely spend more on a vacation than you did on your last visit to the dentist or your financial planner or your doctor. Your doctor deals with some of the most difficult times of your life. Your travel professional deals with the best moments of your life.
Do people generally seek out the doctor, the surgeon, the financial adviser or the home builder with the cheapest prices? My guess is they don’t, because they told themselves that you pretty much get what you pay for.
We understand that our industry has misled the public on pricing, so we need to take some of the blame.
You see those ads on TV screaming that they have the best hotel pricing. Did you know one travel company owns over 85% of those on-line booking sites – but just under different names.
The fact is that we all have the same pricing, the same deals, the same cheap products. The difference is that most of the cheap products are so poor that we would never allow members of our own family to book them, so we certainly are not going to sell them to our valued clients.
Let's stick with hotels. You see the ads and you go online. If you call or chat - you are talking to a call center. You are likely talking to one of dozens of "agents" in a large room in Mumbai or Manila.
She cares little about your travel background, why you are taking the trip, or even whether or not this really is the right hotel for you. If you ask her for the cheapest room, she will get it for you.
She got you a "deal," and you show up at the hotel. Did you know that most hotels overbook? Whose reservation do you think they will fail to honor first?
But let's assume you have a room. Which room will you have? Hotel executives readily acknowledge that bookings originating with on-line travel agencies are often assigned the worst rooms in the category booked.
There is a reason for this. Online bookings are treated differently because hotels assume that the guest has no loyalty to their properties. They realize that the booking was likely made online because of the ‘deal’. You will likely stay somewhere else the next time you book as you continue searching for the best deal among the millions offered.
Hotels are one example why cheap is not the way to go. Ever. Sometimes it is better to save a bit more money while delaying your vacation until you can do it right.
Would you really like to make your airline arrangements booking the airline with the most poorly paid pilots or the tour operator with the best pricing because they hire the cheapest guides while using the cheapest available hotels?
We work with clients to build the RIGHT vacation - perfectly matched to YOU at the best VALUE.
Excerpts courtesy of Richard Turen - Travel Weekly