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The big online travel agencies are advertising on TV, all over social media and probably send you dozens of emails a week about “deals” that they are offering.
My Vacation Lady won’t knock the online travel agencies because they are probably fine for some easy airline bookings but when it comes to vacation or honeymoon planning, where you want everything to be right, a travel professional is going to offer you the best chance of a stress free vacation.
I was working with a family that was looking at a complex itinerary in Europe and after providing them with a great itinerary and great hotels with character, they found the prices on an online travel agency to be less than I quoted. It happens. Sometimes the pricing that I can find will be less, sometimes more but there are major differences in the level of service that you will get both before, during and after your vacation.
My Vacation Lady has contacted a few of our trusted travel suppliers (both hoteliers and tour operators, who will bundle your entire vacation into a seamless package) to find out something very important.
Is it safer to book through a travel professional than the online travel agencies when it comes to ensuring that your hotel room will be available to you?
We asked one of our trusted travel suppliers to see if they had anything in writing about a “no walk” policy. In other words, if My Vacation Lady’s clients arrive at a hotel or resort and the room that we booked is not available, what happens?
We ensure your clients get the experience they deserve, even if the unexpected occurs.
- · In the unlikely event that a hotel cannot honor the accommodations you booked or provide an upgrade, we will ensure a comparable option is made available and give your client $100 towards their next vacation.
- · If a flight is cancelled prior to departure, we will preserve the vacation on other flights at the most affordable rates or provide a full refund for the entire vacation.
- · In the case of airline schedule changes, we will work with the airline on your behalf to ensure all available options are explored and help you with the reservation.
Will an online travel agency offer the same? So what does happen when a guest arrives at a hotel and the room they booked through an online travel agency is not available? In our research, we found out a few things:
- One of my trusted travel suppliers had personal experience with a room booked not being available. She was traveling from New York City to Philadelphia for a function and all of the hotels in the area were sold out. Her assistant found a hotel room available through one of the big travel websites and they booked it. When they arrived at the hotel, after their function, they and 2 other couples were turned away. The rooms that they booked and paid for through the travel website were not available. They were not offered an upgrade. The hotel front desk did call around but the neighboring hotels were all sold out. My travel supplier ended up driving back to New York that evening.
- One of my hotel sales managers was in our offices a few weeks ago. He mentioned that in the first 3 months of the year, 10 couples were turned away from one of his popular adult only all inclusive resorts in the Riviera Maya. They booked through online travel agencies and there were no rooms available. The hotel did not offer them upgraded rooms, they were just turned away. He explained this to us like this: When My Vacation Lady uses our trusted travel suppliers to book a room at one of his resorts, we have a “direct connection” to the hotel inventory. If I don’t see an oceanfront junior suite showing up on my trusted travel supplier’s booking site, it is because that room category is SOLD OUT. Apparently the online travel agencies (OTA)will not show the room as sold out and will allow people to continue booking a room category that is not available. In some instances, the hotels will try to accommodate the guest but in others, they are told to call the OTA and have the OTA find the guests another hotel. These couples who were walked, had to wait on the phone and pay for their own transportation to a different hotel. Imagine having to start your vacation or honeymoon like that?
While My Vacation Lady can’t guarantee connecting rooms to my family who was traveling on the complex itinerary to Europe, they would have a better chance of getting rooms that are connecting, adjoining or nearby because we would contact the hotel on their behalf. Will the OTA do that for their clients?
Yes, we understand that finding a great price for vacations is important but we also feel that there is great value in having a seamless and stress free vacation as well. For those DIY’ers My Vacation Lady may not be the right fit but for those travelers who are looking for a seamless vacation or honeymoon experience, we can offer competitive pricing + great service. We’re the top rated honeymoon specialist located in New Jersey and get referrals from our clients all the time, so we must be doing something right.