You’ve probably heard all about pricebeating. Heck, you’ve probably ‘pricebeat’ someone. What I mean is, with the hugely competitive market of booking things online, direct with a supplier or direct with a travel agent, even as an agent myself I can’t blame people for wanting to make sure you’re getting the absolute best deal.
So what does pricebeating mean, why do prices fluctuate and why should you hunt around?
Basically, imagine this – you’ve been in to see a travel agent and been given one price. Then, you find the same room type with the hotel directly for slightly cheaper. Then, you find another website that sells a bit of everything and find it even cheaper. Sometimes it happens in this order, and sometimes it’s the other way around.
When a hotel prices something, the generally make it one price. They then give it to the travel agents and websites – travel companies can then do what they want with them, but as far as I’ve seen as a rule of thumb the travel companies don’t mark them up as they’re already given to us with a level of commission built in. The reason the hotel might have it cheaper directly is because they put their own sale on, and don’t pass it onto the agents (thus, really making us look like are ripping people off, but hey it saves the hotel having to pay commission out!). Those other websites that sell a little bit of everything change their prices around willy nilly – I don’t presume to know how they work, but they often have huge credit card and service charges at the end, so I’ll take a stab and say this would certainly help account for making up some of their loss they might make on one nights accommodation in Bangkok they sell for 50% off the RRP.
So if you’ve managed to stay tuned until now, here’s some tips.
- Shop around online, and even direct with the hotel.
- Make sure all of the prices are on an Australian website.
- Speak to your travel agent, because more often than not we also get rates that you can’t find anywhere else (hey, what else would we pay our head office for, if they didn’t negotiate the bestest ever deals!), and once you’ve collated the best prices, BOOK WITH THE AGENT.
Because even if their price was slightly higher (in my experience we usually do have the best price anyway, and NO we don’t add any service taxes like your online sites) we can pricebeat it for you. Yep, travel agents will still book you the absolute cheapest price for what you want AND you have the benefit of booking with a real human, who’ll be able to give you multiple payment options, give you itineraries, receipts and invoices on demand, liase with all suppliers on your behalf (you wouldn’t even KNOW the hassle of time changes the airlines give us to deal with), and send you your documents. Travel agents can also do any amendments for you, name changes, date changes and complete itinerary changes without you having to call an Asian call centre. BONUS. Also, who wants to deal with trying to organise their own holiday and guessing that they’re not getting ripped off, when they can have someone who is trained and paid to do that, at no extra cost?