When choosing your luxury holidays who will offer you the best deals?
The critics of the travel agent often say packaging your own holiday saves you money and this is what you should do but in today’s volatile world is your money safe? Should you pay more to an agent for peace of mind? Should you book your luxury vacation directly with an independent operator and cut out the middle man? There are so many options to consider, so what do you do?
As with most things in life, there are advocates with a strong argument in favor of all the options, so who should you listen to?
I guess the conclusion will be different depending on your perspective, how much money is too much to risk? Typical luxury retreats will cost between £2k and £20k and that is the cost of a good second-hand car, the deposit on a house for your son or daughter or that new luxury kitchen or bathroom you have always wanted. Would you buy a car from a man you had never met, based in a country where you couldn’t speak the language, pay the man the money three months in advance of seeing the vehicle without any guarantee of financial protection? Probably not!
On the other hand, you may be tempted if that man was offering the same car as your dealer down the road at a much lower price.
Surely the answer lies somewhere between the potential savings, potential risks and the amount you intend to spend but do you really know what the potential risks are or how much you have really saved.
Every high street in the UK typically has one or more of the multiple chains of travel agents and usually a local independent agent both of which seem to be closing down at a rate of knots. The problem with both these options are fairly straight forward; if you book your luxury trips with the network that is in turn owned by the tour operator, then surely recommendations will be biased to their employer’s products and not necessarily finding you the consumer the best deal. The second option being the independent travel agent but being based in the high street and encumbered by the cost of expensive shop rents and ridiculous business rates, are they really in the bestposition to offer you the biggest discounts on your luxury holidays? Again the answer has to be probably not.
Booking your luxury holidays online seems to be the way the trend is going, so how do you know that you are getting the best deal? Many suggest you should book with the tour operator direct as this will cut out the need for the operator to pay an agent commission and in turn deliver you better value for money. The question is without trawling through all the hundreds of tour operators how do you know you are dealing with the one that has the best luxury holiday offers. You Don’t.
You can of course book your luxury holidays independently as suggested before. So you go ahead and start hunting for the different elements of your holidays online and inevitably find that packaging them together saves you a little money but at the cost of financial protection.
The next option is using a member of one of the new travel agents consortium in the UK. One of the most successful and fastest growing is the Freedom Travel Agents consortium which is part of the Co-operative Group. These consortium have created a new breed of travel companies that have access to both an ABTA and ATOL licence allowing them to retail other tour operators luxury holidays as well as act as the principle tour operator and dynamic package your luxury holidays for you, much in the same way as you would on-line but providing you and your family with the financial protection you need.
Having access to all the tour operators products at the touch of a button and having specialist knowledge of each operator and their strengths and weaknesses mean that often these agents will be able to find the bargain you may have otherwise missed.
As a consortium, there are considerable savings to be had by its members and often much better commercial deals with the tour operators allowing more freedom to discount. The leaner and more efficient a business can be the greater the saving for you the consumer. The best of these agents can be found on the web and so unencumbered by those high street costs and in turn able to offer you the consumer the greatest savings on your luxury holidays.
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