It’s almost impossible to know if you received the best price or product or service unless you have something else to compare it to and have looked at every option. Since there are 1000’s of online travel companies it’s almost impossible to check enough to even dent the list-considering the time it takes and the changes in pricing.
We will be adding examples of real vacations that we saved money and/or provided a service that was unique to Concierge and VIP Travel.
Our list will be updated and often and in our effort to be fair and honest show where we may have failed or we were not the best price.
P.A.- Holiday Cruise
Contacted us last year to book his wife, daughter and himself on a Christmas sailing on Celebrity Cruise Line.
His request was a double balcony room for his wife and him and an inside room for his adult daughter based on single occupancy. The wanted the two rooms as close as possible, the best price and the three to have the beverage package onboard.
1-Doing an internet search, the best price was based on a resident rate that saved $300 per room over the regular price.
(Based on the best price and searching online, it’s likely this was the promotion to be booked)
Instead of booking the lowest priced promotion I suggested they change to the regular price paying the additional $300 but with that promotion, they could select two “perks”, $300 onboard credit and a beverage package.
If Mr. P.A. was savvy and experienced or called someone from one of the sites he was looking at, chances are the same promotion would have been booked. Possibly one site or company may have offered onboard credit in addition, making them the best value.
What we were able to confirm.
After calculating the different options, factoring the cost of the beverage package for the daughter’s inside room we offered the option of moving his daughter to a balcony, next door to her parents, versus an inside on another floor for an additional $150 total. If the rooms were closer, on the same deck as the client wanted, the client would have spent more, once the beverage package was added in.
Clearly, the client said to go with the balcony rooms (even at $150 more it would have been worth it) and we were able to get an upgrade and save get an even better price, matching the original resident promotion. In addition, the client received double credit so $600 per room plus the beverage package and another $50 on top of that.
This doesn’t happen all the time but often enough that it’s not a fluke. The client saved money, a significant amount, well over $1000 plus better rooms and experience with his daughter next door.
His time invested was minimal, a brief conversation and a few emails versus the agencies investment, hours calculating the different options and contacting the cruise line later to move the clients into the 2nd promotion.
Had the client shopped online or called someone directly, based on his request or search, the best price on a balcony and inside, he would book the best price and feel satisfied with the result. It was putting the extra time into this package that enabled the client to save more money and receive the upgrade. We could have left it at that but we continued to work on the client’s behalf and came back with a lower price.
J.K.- Air only example
Called about booking a hotel in Italy and flights to London. Later decided not to book the hotel and said he didn’t need help with the flights because he does an exhaustive search online at every site and knows he found the best price.
He was going to book a flight out of JFK (instead of Washington/Baltimore) and take a train which together was enough of a savings compared to flying direct.
Not sure how much he was paying, but did a quick search on our Online Booking site, to see what the price would be if he didn’t go to NY and sent that over. It turned out to be cheaper and of course a better schedule, non-stop from his home city. He went directly to the site and booked online himself.
This is an example of looking at several sites and investing a lot of time but not getting the best rate. This is a roll of the dice one site may be lower than another but knowing that would it make sense to limit the time searching or someone to take care of it for you and pay a small fee to save time?
N.G. – Bahamas Land Package
Booked this client at the Hyatt Del Mar for 5 nights with her family.
The package included round-trip flights from Fayetteville N.C. (9 people) economy class with a premium economy upgrade for two. Ocean view rooms with balcony, transfers were provided with the package. In addition, we suggested access to their club lounge for $150 per room per night which offered breakfast, snacks during the day-including drinks (soda, water) plus evening cocktails with hot appetizers and dessert. In addition, a cabana was arranged for the duration of the stay along with dining reservations at the hotel and off-site.
Coincidently shortly after booking this I ran into someone I knew casually and travel was brought up and this person mentioned she was going to the Bahamas, one week earlier at the same hotel.
I offered to help her but she told me she does her own planning and always gets the best deal. We had a little challenge and we compared deals.
She had a 1 less person so calculating the cost on a per person basis she spent $220 less than the package I booked, however, her week was right before spring break so should be less. She had flights from D.C. but the basic economy which meant she wasn’t able to reserve seats and two of my tickets were premium economy.
About a month after both returned we talked and she went over the highlights of her vacation and a few differences came up. One major one was the club lounge. She would have booked that had she known since it was less than they spent on food and drinks during the day. She did see the cabana and reserved one for 2 days and paid $450 a day versus my client’s cost of $350 a day plus $100 food and beverage credit per day.
I couldn’t get the amount of time she spent planning but my client had everything arranged in advance and was presented with an overview along with a detail of her package before she left.
There was an issue with the final bill and my client called me the morning after she returned saying she thought she was overcharged. I told her not to worry about it, I would request the statements and review the charges and work on a refund if they were overcharged.
It turned out they were overcharged for the cabana and I was able to get that corrected and refunded plus arranged for an additional credit of just under $900 as a gesture.