Trip pricing - 2007/08

Nov 16th, 2006, 05:39 AM
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Trip pricing - 2007/08

For those who don't know, my DH and I are planning a trip to Bots/Zimb. July/Aug. 08.
My question in regards to this, is that most of the quotes I'm receiving are current 06/07

A few TA's have told me that the fees may or may not go up 10 - 15%. This, I feel is higher than most inflation hikes for other services and goods but I will accept it if that's the case.

This does makes me wonder how I can put some kind of cap on this to prevent my TA from coming back next year with a request for 27% (or whatever) more than the original quote. I'm guessing that there's really no way of me knowing if the increase is legit or not.

Have any of you just prepaid the extra 10-15% and received a rebate?

Any suggestions or experience would greatly help as this is the first time ever that I've booked so far ahead.
Many thanks;
cybor is offline  
Nov 16th, 2006, 05:51 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Typically you should be able to make the reservation but not pay a deposit until the pricing is firm. This is what we've done in Tanzania.

Alternatively, if you *are* asked to pay a deposit before firm pricing is available then you should be able to get a full refund of the deposit if the final price goes up too much (maybe agree on a % before sending in the deposit).

Sending in a non-refundable deposit without knowing the final trip cost would not be acceptable to me.

Bill_H is offline  
Nov 16th, 2006, 06:43 AM
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For the travel industry in general, regardless where travelling, they always project at minimum a 10% increase. Some years maybe less, some more. As we've seen in East Africa, it's been more in the 15% range. You can't go by everyday inflation rates when comparing to the travel industry.

Have you asked your TA when they expect to have summer '08 prices? If so, and since it is just short of 2/yrs till your expected departure, I'd wait till they can confirm prices.

You can probably advise the TA
what you wish, when, where, how, etc. and just keep following up.

I certainly wouldn't put a deposit down now, unless there is a clause in their documents to you that you can cancel "without penalty/full refund" if the numbers are just unacceptable.

I'm holding requests for '08 and won't have prices till mid '07; wouldn't expect my clients to pay until they knew for what they were putting out the bucks!
Nov 16th, 2006, 06:52 AM
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Thank you both.

Generally can the TA book and reserve specific rooms and dates without a deposit? Most of the camps I'm going to are already filling and are quite small.
cybor is offline  
Nov 16th, 2006, 07:48 AM
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For this last trip I got the agent to agree in writing to a price in 2004 and if it increased beyond what I wanted to pay by 2006, then I could back out completely with no penalty. I was given a time frame of one week to make my decison after the final numbers came in. The normal terms would have required a penalty to back out. So I had the properties held for me, but still had the option to cancel if prices just skyrocketed beyond what I could pay.

When the final numbers came in, the cost did not increase above what was originally quoted. I was very pleased and the trip went well.

Like you, my plans included Botswana camps that were in demand with few beds so I felt I had to book early before final prices were set, otherwise I might not get into the properties I wanted.

I was also told back in late 2004 that the increase for 2006 (which could be up to 20% at that time) would likely be due to currency fluctuations as much as to supply and demand. The currency situation for 2007 and beyond appears to be a bit more favorable to US dollars than when I was negotiating.

Since I always book early, every year I ask, "Can I get this year's rates if I book now for next year?" For Africa the answer has always been no except once long ago in Zambia. I've had better luck with this strategy elsewhere.
atravelynn is offline  
Nov 16th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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cybor -

If the space is closing around you, then you have to chance biting the bullet. However, I wonder whether this is due to actual bookings or those being held by major tour operators, i.e., A&K; or Provisional Bookings, w/o deposits being received for the same concerns you have - clients not sure what the '08 prices will be.

Though as travelynn mentions and other including myself, see what you can do in coming to an agreement with the TA (in writing) as to maximum increase you are willing to accept with the option to cancel. Though WITHOUT PENALTY would ideal, you may be penalized some amount of percentage as a fee to the TA for handling this booking for you. Certainly, better than loosing the entire deposit.

How good are your negotiating skill? If not sure, nows the time to find out. Good luck. And, let us know.
Nov 16th, 2006, 12:23 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,274
I'll soon be making a provisional booking for SLNP. I've been quoted a 'guestimate' increase of about 5% for 2008 over 2007 rates. Being a provisional booking, I won't have to pay anything until about this time next year.

afrigalah is offline  
Nov 16th, 2006, 06:58 PM
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It also depends on your TA and their relationship with the camps or Company that operates the camps. If your TA has a GREAT relationship with them, then maybe they will hold your bookings longer. I think, if i were you....i would get two or three quotes for 2008 and put down a deposit based on a final estimate right away (especially, if they expect you to make a deposit now).

Botswana is getting more and more popular as a destination, and you are choosing some of the more popular camps.

Nov 17th, 2006, 03:12 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 20,139
Your all great - thanks.

My fear is that the agents that I'm thinking about using are smallish and therefore may not have the influence of one of the big guys like A+K and whomever. Some of the people I've spoke to claim to have intimate relationships with these camps but.....

Are you using an Aussie agent? Did you put a deposit down?

I do have an e out to one agent in particular asking what their holding requirements are. We have thus far done some $$ negotiating, so we'll see about the rest. It's good to know ahead from you that I MAY have some wiggle room....or not. Wish me luck.

cybor is offline  
Nov 17th, 2006, 11:47 AM
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I will be using an Aussie agent (a friend who knows my plans) but I got the cost and availability info directly from the operator. I won't have to pay a deposit until late next year.

afrigalah is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 03:35 AM
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Ask and you MAY receive.

Funny thing is, that the one co. that has thus far offered the best pricing, is the one with the most flexiblity on this agenda. This co. also seems to be the most knowledgable and hasn't pushed their own agenda/itinerary on me.

Once we tie up a few lose ends I will send a 500. deposit in good faith to provisionally hold my reservation. About 1 year prior to departure I will then put down a refundable deposit of 10%.
Moral of the story:
It pays to shop around, ask, and use the small guys.
Thanks for your insight;
cybor is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 04:38 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 316

That's pretty interesting, as it is my understanding that Wilderness Safaris requires a 20 percent non-refundable deposit in order to guarantee confirmation of your camp selection (and that is definitely stated in all of their literature). So a 10 percent refundable deposit is quite amazing to me, I think I would like to find out more! Is this a US based travel agent?
Thanks for the info!
brandywine is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 04:51 AM
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Makes sense....i think it's ridiculous for anyone to expect anything more for a trip that is two years away!!!

Good that you shopped around....

Nov 24th, 2006, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 641
Sherry, This is very fishy. My guess is that the “small company” is not going to really book it until one year out because Wilderness is not known for bending rules. Who is putting up the 20% non-refundable deposit to reserve your space in camp? Who are you booking with?

safarimama is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 05:55 AM
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Ok, here's the deal.
I will be putting a 500.pp, non refundable good faith deposit down now to provisionally hold my space until 1 year prior to my trip in July/2008.

I'm told that I can not get bumped out of those spots. Other fodorites seem to have done the same thing.

At the 1 yr. prior mark (July 07) I will then need to send a 20% (not 10% as I wrongly stated) deposit which I can lose if I cancel entirely or if I choose to move my trip forward (later) this fee will be applied.

This sounds like good business to me as I refuse to send out a 20% deposit now (1 1/2 prior) to my trip. It's possible that I could be institutionalized or broke (or both) by then.

Are you still stating that I can get bumped prior to the 20% deposit - if so why?
cybor is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 06:07 AM
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You seem to be knowledgable in regards of Wilderness's rules - are you an agent or have you been able to book directly with them to have this first hand info.?
cybor is offline  
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