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Is it more expensive to book via agency instead of direct?

Is it more expensive to book via agency instead of direct?

Feb 4th, 2009, 05:54 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2006
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Is it more expensive to book via agency instead of direct?

I am a bit confused with the recent quote I received from the US based agency, they seem to be $500 more than the quote I got from a africa based agency or if I book direct. I read some conflicting information on the board about travel agencies getting a discount for hotels. This is definitely true because when I asked to remove one of the hotel from the iternary, the amount was so much cheaper than the rack rate. So is the agency not passing me the discount?

Do you think it would be cheaper to just book everything direct?
bridezilla06 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 07:49 PM
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Perhaps so, because you expect top quality service!

sunny_california is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 11:26 PM
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The discount that an agency receives usually depends on how much business they give the lodge/hotel.

Some choose to pass some of this on, others don't.

Some of the lodges have agreements with agencies that they won't undercut them by offering better rates if a client books direct others might choose to maintain control of their rates.

Lynneb is offline  
Feb 5th, 2009, 04:05 AM
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I am currently in process of booking my South Africa and Mozambique trip and have received an itinerary from go2africa. I was surprised because I thought I would receive a better deal from them as they are dealing directly with these places all the time. However, the total trip is about $2,000 more than I can do it myself. When I asked specifically about the cost of the flights from JFK to South Africa which were about $200 pp more, the answer was that is because of the service they provide if the flights are canceled, since they are canceled very "often". That they hear sooner than I will and can rebook me. I don't know if I buy that. I will say I have never traveled in southern Africa so I don't know for sure, but have traveled extensively in Asia and Europe with small unknown airlines and have not had a problem. Not sure why SAA would be an issue.

Additionally, there were a number of errors with each proposal she sent me that I caught. Small stuff but if I am paying the premium I should not have to triple check. Just wrong days, forgetting a return flight from Kruger, etc.

So guess I am going to book on my own!
acnap88 is offline  
Feb 5th, 2009, 06:38 AM
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Since different agents have differing pricing philosophies this is a great first contact question to make sure their method agrees with your value system. Many agents will tell you published rack rates and/or discounted from there while others believe their service for some reason deserves a premium above and beyond what they are already earning from commission.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Feb 5th, 2009, 06:51 AM
  #6  
 
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Depends on the US agency.
There are so many variables. Some agencies are simply higher priced. Have you compared prices from this particular US agent with another?

Recall, my first trip to SA, with an agent I had used for my earlier Kenya and Tanzania trips, decided to see whether I could do better.

Well, based even on rack rates, it seemed I was doing okay, but then had to included the extras - meet/greet, luggage storage, transfers, vehicle rental, internal flights, etc. etc. Adding each of these extras kept bringing my costs up closer to what the agent was offering. For the small difference, I felt going with agent I'd have one contact, no various confirmations, slips of paper in case of emergency, and on and on.

As to the Intl air, there are so many options for travelers, unless an agent can get a really good price... go it on your own - w/airline, discounters, consolidators, etc - or use a local TA specific for air tickets. No reason for your US agent to be adding $200 (wow!) to the ticket price.

We're all different types of travelers, so if you feel the amount of difference is more than you can handle... go with the African agency or direct to the properties.
sandi is offline  
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