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Howto Pay Less For Travel


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A guide to buying travel! Explains the different players within the travel industry and how you can use them to ensure you are getting competitive prices on your vacations.

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Howto Pay Less For Travel

  1. 1. The Insider’s Report on How to Pay Less for Travel You are an eager traveler who loves getting a fabulous deal on your vacation. You might even pride yourself FACT: If not for the tax revenues gener- on your ability to find cheap cruise fares, discounted ated by the travel industry, every household in America would have to hotel rates and airfares that appear to be priced be- pay $995 more in annual taxes1. low the market. Wonderful, because that makes you exactly the person who can benefit most from what OPINION: It’s more fun to spend $995 you are about to read. a year on your vacation than on your taxes. A lower price, or thrill of the chase? As you read every word of this report, you may realize that finding discounted travel is not your ultimate objective after all—-some travelers actually waste hours picking around the Internet for travel deals, solely because they love the thrill of the chase. And there’s nothing wrong with that, unless you consider that you may not be getting the great deal you think you are. Here’s some food for thought: receives an estimated 10 million U.S. visitors monthly2. Do the math and you’ll see that 10 million monthly visitors equates to about 13,888 visitors per hour. If you stumble upon a smoking-hot airfare deal, you have to remember that there could be thousands of other eager travelers looking at that same fare. Clearly, finding something that’s readily available to thousands may not qualify you as a super-savvy travel deal sleuth. What if there were a way for you to get more luxuri- Same Old, Same Old: What everyone ous vacations without spending more? Or to save says about saving money on travel hundreds of dollars on the vacations you desire? Are you willing to spend a few minutes of your day to • Book early learn how? • Book late • Book when no one else will I ask because I can only explain what I have to say • Book off-season • Shop around credibly by giving some inside secrets about the travel • Collect rewards points industry. So please bear with me: this may not be the • Be a loyalty traveler most riveting reading of your day, but it could be the • Bundle airfare with hotel and car most important. These are effective ways to trim your Before you do anything else… vacation spend. But clearly they’ll only get you so far. Really, what if you don’t want to see Palm Springs when it’s too If you are skeptical, grab a sheet of paper and write hot to golf, even at midnight? What if this on it: here’s what I learned about saving money you wait so long to book that you end on travel. Now set that paper aside. By the time up staying home? you’re done reading, you will a few juicy morsels of knowledge to put on that list. Page 1 of 6 © 2009 BrockComm Travel. This document cannot be reproduced in any form without prior written authorization from BrockComm Travel.
  2. 2. The Insider’s Report on How to Pay Less for Travel Travel industry, a hodgepodge of players Who wants a piece of your The truth is, there are many businesses out there that vacation dollar? want to get a piece of your vacation. Suppliers, whole- • Direct suppliers salers, consortia, agencies, PLUS all of the businesses • Wholesalers that cater to those businesses. The latter group in- • Consortia cludes travel magazines, support services, printers, • Agencies web hosting solutions, etc. The best possible scenario for everyone is when one or more of these players can give you a real and valuable vacation solution. Since you are reading this, you are obviously willing to pay for scintillating travel when the price is right. The problem is, as I’m sure you know, some- times these industry players can tell you the price is right, tell you that you are paying a good price for a valuable service, when that may not really be the truth of things. So let’s take a look at each player to better understand where travel deals actually come from. Direct Travel Supplier: An organization that supplies travel and travel-related services • Many travel bargains result from supplier discounts Examples of direct suppliers • American Airlines • Most suppliers sell their services direct to the • Hilton Hotels public and through travel agencies and • Carnival Cruise Lines wholesalers • Supplier promotions can be advertised or What you should know unadvertised; unadvertised promotions are sold exclusively through agencies and wholesalers • Consider working an agency that buys group space direct from sup- • Suppliers do sell blocks of inventory to large pliers; you can get group rates without being in a group. agencies and wholesalers at below-market rates • Agencies often get advanced noti- • Agencies and wholesalers may be authorized to fication of upcoming supplier sell travel at below-market rates, but there will discounts. Since the supplier usually be a restriction on advertising those rates. puts capacity limits on promo- tional rates, getting linked in to This keeps the supplier from competing with these advanced notifications is those who sell its products. crucial to obtaining the best travel price. Page 2 of 6 © 2009 BrockComm Travel. This document cannot be reproduced in any form without prior written authorization from BrockComm Travel.
  3. 3. The Insider’s Report on How to Pay Less for Travel Wholesaler: An entity that buys travel products in bulk from direct suppliers, packages them and sells them to consumers • Wholesalers buy from suppliers at discounted Examples of travel wholesalers rates and created bundled vacation packages; pricing is usually competitive compared to if you • GOGO Vacations purchased each component of your trip separately • FunJet Vacations • FareBuzz • Some wholesalers sell direct to consumers; others do not What you should know • Wholesalers that do not sell to consumers prefer to rely on a travel agent network; this structure • GOGO Vacations, a top U.S. allows them to focus their operations solely on wholesaler, has a price-beat buying and packaging travel (i.e., they don’t need promise. GOGO will beat any verified quote by $10 per adult to add the cost of a huge consumer support staff and $5 per child. into their prices) • GOGO also offers a vacation mem- • Wholesalers run promotions too. They notify their bership plan that’ll get you free travel agent network and past consumers of flight insurance, free room nights and other perks for $25/year. Go special discounts. here for more information. Did you know… • You can keep tabs on airfare trends by visiting the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. • The Bureau of Transportation Statistics also publishes data on airline market share and airline on-time statistics. • You can search for flight and schedule changes here. • You can find entry and exit requirements for foreign countries at the U.S. Department of State website. • You can look up guides for destinations all over the world here. Page 3 of 6 © 2009 BrockComm Travel. This document cannot be reproduced in any form without prior written authorization from BrockComm Travel.
  4. 4. The Insider’s Report on How to Pay Less for Travel Consortia: travel organizations that negotiate exclusive travel services and products for member agencies and travel consultants; functions as a sophisticated buying group for agents • Consortia are membership-based groups, where Examples of travel consortia the membership consists of travel agents and consultants (no consumers). • Ensemble Travel Group • Virtuoso • Some consortia are nonprofit. • CCRA Travel • Some consortia buy group space and allow their member agents and consultants to book clients What you should know into that group space; this gives the client access to group rates and group perks. • You can’t access travel consortium perks and deals unless you book with an agent who is a consortium • Consortia direct a lot of business towards travel member. suppliers; for that reason, clients booked through the consortia often receive VIP treatment and • See the special deals offered perks, particularly with hotel and cruise bookings. through consortia by sending Normally these VIP perks are pre-negotiated. BrockComm Travel an email re- questing the Ensemble hotel direc- tory. • Some consortia are more exclusive than others, meaning they only offer membership to highly • Ask prospective travel agents if he reputable agencies and agents. or she belongs to any consortia and, if so, which ones. Page 4 of 6 © 2009 BrockComm Travel. This document cannot be reproduced in any form without prior written authorization from BrockComm Travel.
  5. 5. The Insider’s Report on How to Pay Less for Travel Agencies: travel agencies and their agents have sales arrangements with suppliers, wholesal- ers and consortia to book travel and travel-related services • Travel agents generally don’t set prices; they Examples of travel agencies quote them. • Montrose Travel • Many travel agents strive to bring a personal • American Express Travel touch to the industry, by offering guidance, advice • Expedia Travel and planning support to their clientele. • Travel agents don’t make commission on domestic What you should know airfare. • Because travel agents can book • Travel agents have visibility to the whole industry, through suppliers, wholesalers and consortia, they have access to a and can quickly look up special promotions and range of unpublicized fares and pricing from suppliers, wholesalers and consortia. rates. • The most effective way to work with a travel • You have to trust your travel agent is to consult with him or her at least once a agent; not all are reputable. Interview prospective agents until year about your travel needs; that way, the agent you find one you trust. will be watching for the right promotions on your behalf. • Ask prospective travel agents about the history of their agency • If you do your own Internet research and call an and whether the agency buys agent expecting to find a better deal on a specific group space. This will tell you how well established the company is. hotel for specific dates, the agent’s ability to im- mediately find you a better rate could be limited, depending on your itinerary (you can’t get a deal on a Christmas cruise two weeks into December.) • Large agencies buy group space on cruises and pass the related savings on to their customers. Generally, these group rates cannot be widely advertised. • With respect to cruises, a good travel agent will watch market fares after you book; if the fare goes down, he or she can contact the cruise line and (depending on cruise line policy) have your fare reduced. Page 5 of 6 © 2009 BrockComm Travel. This document cannot be reproduced in any form without prior written authorization from BrockComm Travel.
  6. 6. The Insider’s Report on How to Pay Less for Travel Finally, the answers to the cheap travel dilemma… Travel agents put it all together You can continue to dig around on the Internet for pricing, but you won’t find the unpublicized, unadver- tised deals offered by suppliers, wholesalers and consortia. You also may not even find the advertised deals because you won’t know exactly where to look (since certain suppliers and wholesalers specialize in certain destinations). The only way to get to these deals is to find a travel agent you trust. Working with a travel agent effectively involves being able to openly discuss your travel agenda, including your budget, your timeline and your preferences. Once you discuss your travel needs with your agent, that agent should act as your eyes and ears on the industry—searching for vacation ideas and promotions that will provide you with unforgettable and affordable vacation experiences. BrockComm Travel, a Montrose Travel affiliate 562-760-1730 CST# 1018299-10 FOOTNOTES 1 TIA, (accessed March 5, 2009). 2, (accessed March 8, 2009). 3 Wikipedia contributors, "Travel agency," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, index.php?title=Travel_agency&oldid=273524194 (accessed March 8, 2009). Page 6 of 6 © 2009 BrockComm Travel. This document cannot be reproduced in any form without prior written authorization from BrockComm Travel.