When I was in college, I would never consider buying a holiday package from a travel company. Mostly, my friends and I would travel to a destination taking a bus or train. When we’d reach, we’d take an auto and look around to find a cheap yet decent hotel and then for the remainder of our holiday, explore the place by ourselves.
Not that it isn’t a cool way to go about your holiday. Just that some of us grew up. Also, we started earning. And suddenly, I liked swimming pools in hotels. My friends who are married, don’t want to go to a place and then walk around searching for a hotel, they’d rather book it in advance.
Here are a few points on why I think it helps a traveler to buy a holiday package.
Because we shall always have better deals. A travel service provider will always acquire the same hotel room at a cheaper price than what you see on the hotel website as a customer. You might be able to book cheaper hotels, but face it, for the same quality of hotel, airline and transport, we shall always provide it cheaper than what you can find from that hotel, airline or transport company. The difference may or may not be huge, but it will exist.
b) Planning & Research:
Because being experienced at selling holidays, we have a much better understanding of the various interesting things in a destination, be it the things to do there, sightseeing, eating out places, activities etc. Our selection, be it hotels or activities, comes from experience and is backed by data.
It is quite obvious, jes? When you sell holidays every day, when you have a team dedicated to research, when you recommend things to people, when you talk to suppliers, when you collect feedback, when you attend conferences and when destination management companies come into your office to tell you about the best they have to offer, your understanding of that will be at a higher level than a person who decides to travel to a destination for the first time. Logically, we will be better planners then.
Of course, everyone can open that trippy hotel reviews website and choose a hotel they like, but is it really that easy to filter the options to your exact preferences. Say you want a hotel under Rs 3000, with a swimming pool, that serves vegetarian food, and is not more than half an hour’s distance from the airport. How do you do that? We have that data in every Sales computer in office.
c) Problem Solving:
Face it, it’s a hassle to plan a holiday. There are flights to be booked, then hotel rooms. For international travel, you also need to arrange for visas. If you are reaching at night, you want to make sure you have a cab that takes you from the airport to the hotel. If you are travelling alone with your wife and not in a gang of boys or girls like you did in college, you might like to have a car or a chauffeur service to take you around.
How many of these things would you like to arrange on your own? Even if you do, it’s a hassle, right?
Personalization is what we focus on. Let’s take a simple example. The Santana Resort in Goa. Maybe you have searched for beach hotels in Goa on tripadvisor, found out that it’s a stone’s throw away from the beach, and matches your budget. But would you also know, that it’s better to book a first floor room here, because its quieter, more private and has the best view. That is the extent to which a good travel company customizes and prepares their itineraries.
You reach a destination, you found a great hotel, you love the room, the view, the place, everything. You have planned to go on a full day trip the next day, and leave early after breakfast. A sudden twist changes things.
A few months back, we sent this group on a trip to Ladakh. It was easy enough for they only wanted us to book their flights and hotels, not activities or sightseeing. As they planned it two months in advance, they got the flights at quite an economical rate. The payment was made well before the trip, and we added that to our database, and signed off. Then, three days into their trip, we got a call. They were biking to Lamayuru, and their bike had a puncture. In the middle of nowhere. They asked if we could do anything. So we went and repaired their bike.
Heh, no, we aren’t that skilful yet, quite useless actually when it comes to repairing anything. What we did was to call up our local guy in Ladakh and tell him about the situation. Told him that they needed a mechanic. Nice man that he is, he took out his car, grabbed a mechanic from the nearby chai shop and sped off to our fellows.
A travel company can do that. Having a local man in all our catered-to destinations, in case of an emergency, in case something goes wrong, there is always a backup fall back plan. Alright, maybe pampering wasn’t the exact word to describe this, but c’mon man, I am trying to begin everything with a P here.
Till next time, keep playing and may pou pave a preat pay poday! Pheers.