In this little article (Never buy packages in big agencies) we will express about an experience that has made me reflect on the methods with which the big agencies work and the result that is given.
And here a real example that we try to assist (NOT OUR CLIENT):
Booking the trip in a local travel agency:
A couple contacts an agency in their city Dubai and ask them to organize a pleasant instance in Moscow, 4 hotel nights, tours to get to know the best of the city and 2 transfers to and from the airport.
– The agency in Dubai proposes a private pack for about 8000 Dirhams ($ 2180) Reasonable offer that also includes flights. PERFECT.
And the decline begins:
The B2B system (Business to Business):
– The agency 1 (We will call it Dubai) It makes calculations and decides the benefits that they will take out and passes the order to a second agency (We will call it India – Because it is real case) that says that it has connections with Russia.
- A) They bought he flights tickets ($ 450).
– The second agency (India) Calculates and decides that they have to take a maximum benefit from the operation:
- A) They booked a room in 4* hotel that came to about $ 280
- B) They must find guides that will serve these strangers and NOT important clients.
- A) In Viator they booked 2 transfers ($ 60)
- B) 3 random tours (cheap, $ 230).
Total: 450 + 280 + 60 + 230 = $ 1020
The final service received in Russia:
12/02: The couple arrives at the airport and nobody is waiting for them, call Dubai and wait for a circle of calls to get to know the driver’s phone number, the poor driver tell them; with some help from airport staff help to traduce, that he is waiting outside due that the VIATOR doesn’t pay the parking extra, he does not want to pay the $ 5 parking and was waiting outside the airport, (tourists must guess the car and the driver – CRAZY, isn’t ?).
The couple arrived to the Hotel (Tired and a bit angry) and they got the second surprise, the hotel location is nearly in the limit of Moscow (The largest city in Russia). They register and rest.
12/03: A guide (OF SOME LOCAL AGENCY – NOT US) comes and says that they assigned him a tour, he makes them pay the round-trip taxi since the subway is 20 minutes away by foot and with the cold in Moscow it is difficult for a person from Dubai to walk so much distance. Another surprise, they could only eat in the hotel restaurant, why? Simply because the hotel is nearly outside and only forest around and some residential soviet building.
12/04: Our guide arrive at the appointed time and they ask him about private transport? oooops, the options that we have with VIATOR are the minimum ones for backpacking tourists without transport or entrance to museums, in addition the guide of the previous day already took them to half of the places of the second day which leaves them only 1 place to visit. The wife filled their eyes with tears of rage and helplessness. We never work without giving importance to each person we attend, we change the whole plan, order a vehicle, make them a new program that in total cost for us the same as what we will receive from VIATOR (IT MEAN WE WORK FOR FREE).
12/05: For the whole day (WITH A 3d AGENCY) they were scheduled to visit the Cathedral of San Basil in the red square where they already were, they cancel the third day because it is already like a disagreeable joke.
12/06: Return to the airport disappointed and the wife very sad since it was her who organized the trip.
That why you should never buy packages in big agencies !!
Dear traveller, when you decide to travel, never chose like first option the travel agencies in our time, check all online and manage all by yourself, and if you have no time, just let the local agent in the destination country to organise the maximum steps for you.
If the couple of the real case that I told had contact us, with the sum of 2180$ they could have 4 stars hotel in centre, flight tickets and 3 days full of tours and with private transport in half of them and transfers from/to airport.
Dear travel agents and specialists, that the agency earns money is essential, but ending the odyssey with an armed robbery is another issue.
1- Why does this resistance exist to use the internet and look for reliable partners even though they are not travel giants?
2- Why does travel agent turn his back to the client once he has paid?
3- If you do not know the country of destination or the agencies that operate there, there is internet, there are telephones and there is a technology called EMAIL.
An advice to all travellers, sure you will enjoy more the trip if you organise by yourself, don’t waste your money and time with huge agencies, they don’t care about you.
We insist again : Never buy packages in big agencies