Can TAs discount luxury resorts?

Jul 18th, 2003, 06:44 AM
  #1  
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Can TAs discount luxury resorts?

My fiance and I are looking at Peter Island for our May honeymoon. I've been watching luxurylink, and I don't think I want to wait to see if they have an auction for my time period. Is it worth it to book a trip to PIR through a travel agent, or are we just going to get the same rates that are on the PIR website? Thanks for any advice!
abby44 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 06:47 AM
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qbby==yes, a TA can get you a good rate on Peter Island--but you need to book now and lock in your airfare.....
andy is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 09:05 AM
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I am curious about this too as I have never found prices from travel agents to be any different than prices directly from the resort or hotel.

andy,
If you have first hand experience with this, can you tell me how to locate a TA who has access to rates that are less than what is available thru Peter Island directly?
Patty is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 09:34 AM
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Travel Agents cannot "discount" any luxury resort. They can however, find you a special thru various wholesalers. Some agents do not like to pass the bargain on to their customers. Lower price for customer = lower commission for the agent as they are paid a percentage of the price of the trip. Being a TA I can tell you my favorite wholesalers as I have had only great experiences with them. They are: Travel Impressions - they have Peter Island on their list, Classic Custom Vacations - also have Peter Island, and Island Destinations, they do not have Peter island but they do have Little Dix Bay, they have a summer special right now, but they always have some kind of specials going on. Let them price air for your too as the savings can be significant. Call a TA and ask him/her to price out PI using the above wholesalers. Even when I travel (own personal vacations) I book thru a wholesaler! You can visit their websites, but you need a TA to price the trip out for you. When you go thru a wholesaler, you get an actual airline ticket (remember those?) not an E-Ticket, which is nice, and they send everything in a very nice travel folder with everything you need. This does not come this way because of the TA, but from the wholesalers, although they may like to take credit for it! You can also pick out the seat you would like by going onto the airlines website and seeing which seats are available. The TA will tell you after doing the pricing what airline and flight, so it will be easy to choose your seats. Tell the TA when booking which seat assignments you would like. My husband and I are picky when it comes to seats. When we pay for first/business, I would hate to be assigned in the last row in first or next to the bathroom, so choose your seats!

Hope this helps you! If you have any questions I will be glad to help.
SandyFeet is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 09:42 AM
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As usual, you're always full of useful info, SandyFeet. Thanks for contributing.
rwilliams is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 09:50 AM
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Some of the popular luxury resorts don't offer discounts other than the same that they offer. Those that don't often have an agreement with some agents, like an exclusive, where you get an upgraded room or some percs tossed it. The wholesaler can sometimes link it to special charter arfares (that's the discount) or even upgrades on the airlines to Business or First. Custom Classic and Virtuoso are two that I am familiar with that offer some of the luxury spots. Don't know who handles PIR. There are also travel "clubs" such as Harpers that work with some of the luxury properties in the Caribbean. I just typed Peter Island Resort in my browser and found http://www.airtravelez.com/ but after getting quotes make sure you shop around - and watch those airfares!
KaribIslander is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 10:22 AM
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In my experience I have found Virtuoso to charge full rack rates. There is no real savings, they do give free "upgrades when available" and they might will throw in a meal or champagne/flowers - big deal. That is why they charge rack, becasue you might get an upgrade. So they think by paying full price for a lower room, you may get a higher level room. I think that's crazy, as many resorts do this on their own anyway. Classic on the other had is owned by Expedia, which is huge. There is not "free upgrade to business" but, depending on the destination and the time of year, business class thru Classic can cost a little more than coach, as Classic sometimes can save you on that. As far as resorts, since wholesalers buy large "blocks" they can save you $$. Classic advertises on some destinations 50 - 75% off rack rates, and they can do that because of the huge volume in which they buy blocks of rooms. It's just like anything else, the more your buy (volume) the less it costs. The savings is passed on to you! Be careful as some wholesalers (in my experience Apple Tours) will price out "run of house" which means at the time of your check in you may get a regular room, a suite or a view of the garbage disposal. I like to gurantee my clients a specific category, so I stick with the 3 wholesalers I mentioned above. Before I was a TA I looked into Harpers Q Club, and it just did not make any sense. After pricing out a trip with Classic, I found they gave the best price for the room I wanted, and Harpers cost money to join and the savings would have been the price of joining Harpers. I do not like going on a trip or selling a trip with the "hopes" of an upgrade, as I want what I want for myself and clients.

Really its because I do not want a phone call from an unhappy client early in the Morning.
SandyFeet is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 11:02 AM
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Thanks for the replies. As I like to use my ff miles for vacations, I'm generally looking to book accomodations only rather than a complete package. So I guess the answer is 'no' if I'm looking for just a discount on the resort without buying air?
Patty is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 11:27 AM
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Give your TA your FF #, and see if it can be applied, hey you never know! They can also be used for an upgrade. You can book land only thru a wholesaler, they price the resort only for you and you will still save money. You do not have to do air and land to save money as one has nothing to do with the other. Air and land is 2 seperate entities and you do not save on resort because you also but air. Hey look it doesn't hurt to call a TA, they do not charge you. Its always best for you to have all your options as far as $$. I think pricing thru Classic will be your best bet, (in my experience )and I know for sure they do land only, and they may be able to apply your miles. if you do decide to go with classic it will cost you $418.00 to make the reservation and the balance is due 45 days prior to departure.
SandyFeet is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 12:08 PM
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SandyFeet, Can you share any tips on getting a free upgrade? I usually book my view because I don't want to take a chance, but I hear stories of people who always seem to request and receive a free upgrade. Is there a trick to it? Thanks.
nickie is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 12:40 PM
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I believe in the straightforward approach and ask when checking in. Give them a moment to pull up your reservation and then ask them queestions, very nicely and very politely - Does this room have a nice view? What floor is it on? Start up a converstion about your room. See what they say. Many resorts will automatically upgrade you if available without asking. When you make the reservation you should state if its a special occasion, birthday or anniversary, as this gets noted in your reservation. When checking in the front desk will sometimes take this into consideration and you may get upgraded! It also all depends on hotel occupancy. I have read many people book a less expensive room with the hopes of an upgrade. I do not believe in that approach. There may be a convention or big wedding or whatever going on, you never know. I think you should always book the room level that you want, if you can afford it. Many resorts actually assign your room a few days before you arrive. If an upgrade isn't given, ask by saying something like " What is the chance of getting a Jr. Suite, is one available?" If they say yes there is, that will be $150.00 more per day, then you know they are not giving out free upgrades to anyone.

I don't know if this is right, but that is what I would do. I'm the stupid neurotic one that pays for the "upgrade".
SandyFeet is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 04:33 PM
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SandyFeet, thanks for the info! Didn't know that about Virtuoso since the only time I ever priced them (once) I did much better thru Harpers and doing my own fare - and she was unsuccessful finding appropriate accomodations en transit. I started using Harpers after my tried and true agent retired and do appreciate their feedback and critques. When I was traveling a lot it paid off and I was quite pleased. The membership was often returned with just one or two nite's discount. I have found that if an upgrade is available, most places will do it automatically anyway but maybe I've been lucky and I've always booked the accomodation level I wanted - that way it's a pleasant surprice if offered!
To abby, when PIR appears on LuxuryLink, the offering is for the garden/oceanview and not the beachfront. For a honeymoom, I really recommend the beachfront. And Harper's doesn't have them either!
KaribIslander is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 06:09 PM
  #13  
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Wow, thanks for all of that information. As usual, you all have been most helpful!
abby44 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2003, 08:49 AM
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Patty=

Your TA CAN get you a package price WITHOUT AIR-- all you do is ask for a LAND PRICE--BUT, if you are going to use FF miles, BOOK the FF first so that your TA can get the EXACT dates you need....

All FF systems are different- ie. Delta will let you book 360 out--but that is only for the outbound -then you have to wait a week before booking your return...They are the hardest FF to book...USAIR is probably the easiest...

But you CAN get a good package deal WITHOUT air....just ask for it that way...
andy is offline  

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