Travel Agency vs. Internet Bookings

Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 05:08 AM
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Travel Agency vs. Internet Bookings

My wife and I visited Fiji in Dec/02 for 2 weeks. Best holiday we ever had. We hope to return in the not too distant future. After extensive research, we booked our trip through an agency at home (Toronto), only to find out they passed the booking off to another agency in Vancouver who in turn finalized the booking with an agency in Fiji. I found this out too late, resulting in paying 3 commissions. Upon arrival in Fiji, the Fijian agency approached us and told us next time we come, we just have to arrange our own flight out and they'll take care of our accomodations when we get there, thus saving us "a ton of money". Has anyone done this - if so, is it really that much cheaper?
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 02:05 PM
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That sounds weird. I use my local agency in Tucson and they deal direct with the supplier. Always got a good rate and good service. Really good when my flight home got screwed up...they got me a partial refund.
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 02:47 PM
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You must have booked a package. That's how the travel industry works. Someone buys a block of rooms/flights/vacation tours and resells to travel agens who sometimes resell again. Experienced agents usually get you through all that without paying much commission. Booking yourself through mr. internet would probably save you even more.
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 03:37 PM
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Eric:<BR>I booked a tour in 2000 to visit Australia and New Zealand. I used an agency in Wellington, New Zealand. I live in Tennessee.<BR>No problems. Small glitches. Nothing major.<BR>A year later we went back. This time I did all the booking myself on the internet. Airplanes, hotels, tours. Again, no glitches. Everything worked to perfection. From time to time I would email the hotels to make sure all was still in order. Again, no problems.<BR>Next week we're going to Calgary, Vancouver and Seattle. You guessed it, I did it myself. If you have the time, I would not hesitate to do it myself.<BR>John<BR>Jackson, TN
Old Jul 4th, 2002, 07:30 AM
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I book all of my travel for both within Australia and Europe on the net and I've consistently saved a lot of money. However - Fiji is so packaged to various travel wholesalers that I have not found that I can get as good a deal via the internet as the agents offer. You shoud note that this is for travel out of Australia - so it may be different from the US. I suggest you identify several resorts you're interested in - check out their web sites (and email them for special deals) and the Fiji Tourism site and then check the prices with your agent.
Old Jul 5th, 2002, 11:03 PM
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Hi Eric<BR>I can understand your concern however you are only partly right. I have owned an outbound ski travel operation both at a wholesale and retail level plus NOW I do a lot of Internet bookings.<BR>As an earlier poster said, wholesalers, such as my former company, often got a 20% basic discount plus further discounts if we take a block of rooms for a given period. Note that we often had to pay 5% at the time of securing the space. We would usually work on a 5% margin and be able to allow the travel retailer 10%. Hence the client was getting at least a 5% discount on the hotel rack rate. If it was blocked out pre-paid space then would could offer discounts of up to 20%. I have had clients who have only taken the first week with us in resorts, like Banff, phone up to complain that they could not get any more accommodation at the rate we sold them accommodation!<BR>In Fiji, which I know rather well, the big wholesalers demand large discounts to biuld into their packages and a lot of the resorts try to recover the situation by charging direct bookers the rack rate which is considerably higher than what you would have paid. <BR><BR>Please don't think that I am defending the practise or pushing for the wholesalers!<BR>The Fijian operator was just being a sharp business person who while they may be able to give you the same price as your wholesaler was also looking for business.<BR>I do know of the Vancouver wholesaler and they do have the volume to generate discounts over the normal rate. If you were a poor Fijian resort fighting for business and your biggest wholesaler said "drop your price or we will drop you" what would you do? It happens alll over the world and Europe is the hotbed for such pressure discounting. Hence the great holiday pacckage deals. <BR><BR>Now to complicate matters, now that I am out of the travel industry, I do all of my bookings direct including two recent trips to Fiji this year. No problems BUT no real savings. However it was possible to book with small resorts that were not on the travel agents list of resorts and we did save by going to those resorts.<BR>Plus it is a load of fun using the technology!<BR>Kerry
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