Travel Industry Rule #1
Don't Expect What You Don't Inspect!
Effective DIY means reading ALL The Fine Print
What Do Pros Pay Close Attention To?
Winning in the land accommodation or big-ticket tour game is a tall order in today's instant-gratification society because it completely depends on one's desire to search for and pay attention to minute details and Terms and Conditions intentionally hidden or obfuscated to hook you online. Yes, they troll a variety of offers on the Internet sea, knowing one will hook you; with or without options and benefits, cancellation, prepayments, refunds, etc.
All of the online sellers of travel or OTA such as such as Orbitz, TripAdvisor, Priceline, and the clones they own are simply data-fueled by independent sellers of product. Nothing is guaranteed accurate 100% and there are enough caveats to indemnify them from your credit card dispute so sadly, you may never see your money in case of a dispute. As always Buyer Beware who is processing your money and what your refund or change options are. Industry professionals should carry licensing and Liability and Errors & Omissions insurance, a logo on a website does not equal validation, anyone can lift a logo image and add to their site, but a thorough check one or two levels deep as to employment or authorization to use a code is necessary to protect your interests; all should match by name. Individuals or "friends" cannot sell travel or be travel consultants in most states without some form of licensure or active legal affiliation. Most important, most individuals are not allowed to handle money, only an authorized agency is. Learn before the burn.
Your Internet search will ALWAYS bring back AMAZING results, likely many are not available when you go to book. Just missed the last room! Your week is unavailable, try again. Yet they still tease or troll for you. Is that right, we mean ethical?
What causes so many people drop their credit card numbers into the slot on a web page as if trance-like, as if the deal will disappear in an instant if they don't BUY IT NOW.
LAST ROOM AVAILABLE - First, accommodations do not generally give their entire inventory to OTA channel for sale. There is often a hold back the hotel can sell directly; often at a substantial discount to the OTA and with more inclusions. You can almost always call the property and get availability and a match; your travel agent, or shall I say ours, know exactly how to get rooms released and at the best price and location. Give us a try.
NON-REFUNDABLE - There is really no reason for anyone to accept this unless you are able to commit with absolute certainty that you are going and the price differential is sufficient to warrant complete loss of flexibility for refund. It is the Agency's experience that 25% of of our travelers experience some type of change event after booking; are you the 25% or the 75%. Neither pictured themselves in the other group.
AGENCY PRACTICES - As a general practice, a good professional agency does not accept non-refundable terms from its preferred suppliers and pass to clients.
CANCELLATION - RESCHEDULE - One must understand however, that even refundable reservations have cancellation, change and refund windows that must be attended to or you could lose the ability to receive a refund. By law, our agency must be clearly and plainly outline this for virtually each type of product, yet ultimately, the traveler has the responsibility to understand and track these windows; for example, a cancellation 2-weeks prior to arrival may incur a penalty of up to 100% and so on. This is normal. Hotels and tours may not be able to replace your reservation with another client.
PRIVATE CONTRACT RATES - As a company we endeavor to provide all of the above information in a concise and accurate manner which allows our travelers to obtain the lowest price with the least amount of restrictions. Many OTA do not provide this information at all, or until after your credit card has been charged. Below you will find links you can always check out but our rates will likely be lower with more services. Either way, enjoy your travel.
DIY-If one cannot take the time or interest in locating these hidden rules, T&C, please, use a professional, someone who is intimately familiar; ultimately you will save considerably. If our company had $5 for every story we've heard in this loss category alone, we would all be working fewer hours and likely doing it from Fiji.
We think Booking.com has done a decent job with customer support and therefore, we use them for some of our own agency travel and clients in a pinch. We are proud have their links on our site for those willing to DIY from our links, we small affiliate referral fee.
AirBnB and HOST Rentals - Hopefully you have checked out other sites for comparison. Lately the ABB community has been adding charges for just about everything except air and for those loyal and blind followers, apparently this is fine. We think it is gouging. Use comparison sites and you will likely find the same property without all the added fees and best of luck. This is not a professionally managed lodging segment we can be professionally involved with, but only to the extent to enlighten clients to T&C of what they are or are not getting for their money. Ed.