As a travel consultant, I have come across many complaints. These complaints were mostly that I did not give a good package. This used to confuse me as to what `good part’ was missing. The travel agents would first ask did the hotel suggestion go wrong, the transfer came late or did you not get what was promised in the package. To my surprise, none of the above was the issue. The issue was that the traveler was not ready for the travel.
The tickets and the necessary vouchers were in place but he did not read them. His only focus was the rates and not the details. A travel agent has booked the flight ticket but you have to go to the airport yourself. You have to get the boarding pass, get through immigration, pass through the security check and take a long walk where your flight waits for you. He did not even know that he had to fill the forms to get a visa on arrival. Then there was no food on the flight because it was a budget airline. Hence the complaint, the bad trip and then the blame, those travel agents are bad.
Get informed; learn about the destination you are going. Know about the best attractions and what the best places in that country are. Do some homework about the location of your stay. If you are going with a family it would be a good idea to know if the hotels are for families. Read some reviews of the hotels and get to know their prices. Look for flights yourself and know what time the flight flies and what time suits you the best. Every country requires you to get the visa, know the process. Even if you do not like doing that, keep in mind to ask the travel agents. The last thing you should do is have a tentative idea about the package cost and the place you are visiting. Once you have done that you are ready to visit a travel agent or buy a package online.
A typical package will have a flight, hotel accommodations, transfers, and tours. The only food you get is breakfast. The rest is all extra. Do note, the cost is always per person. So, if you are 3 members that cost needs to be multiplied by three.
Hotel accommodation voucher you have to produce this yourself. You might feel that everything is booked and the travel agents will take care of it. Sure, he has booked through emails or online. The hotel front desk won’t know that! You should have the booking voucher or the booking number at least, to prove your booking. If you have not taken that voucher to the hotel, the hotel will simply deny your claim. This, however, is not a bad situation as getting denied boarding a flight.
This can be taken care but it might take 3 to 4 hours by an agent. In the case of the website, they can take more than 12 hours that too after making international calls to India. With mastyatri.com this situation gets resolved with 5-10 minutes. One, our personnel will be there to help you check-in. Two, we share the number of the Thailand counterpart in your booking form. The crux of the matter is getting the printout of that hotel voucher.
Hotels serve you breakfast as early as 6:00 AM. You should ask the breakfast timing at the time of check-in. The breakfast over the years has become a big pain point with travel agents. Most people will blame the travel agents for not telling the time. Big fights happen when a traveler comes just 10 minutes before the closing time. The thing here to know is that hotel rules apply, not that of a travel agent. I have observed that it’s not that the person got late, it was the attitude. This is not India you are in a foreign land and they follow time. Coming 5-10 early does not count. You should at least come 1 hour early. I am saying this for a buffet breakfast. The buffet service goes slow at the end. It would be unwise to demand or hassle a travel company to get breakfast.
Bangkok Guest Friendly Hotels – No Joiner Fee
The tour voucher has all tours which are covered in your package. That is also your itinerary. It will have the timing of your tour. In group travel, it becomes very crucial that you follow the timeline. If you are late the tour operator leaves you behind. You should at least go through the itinerary ones. You should also plan your breakfast accordingly. This helps you where some tours require you to go as early as 7:00 AM. The travel company is not liable if you miss your bus tour. If you think that insisting and talking loud will help, you are wrong. The travel agents usually will help you. But, if the bus has gone a certain point there is no turning back. You also get helped if the location is nearby and the bus makes a stop somewhere.
Breakfast and tours will never have a problem if you reach on time!
Guest Friendly Hotels – No Joiner Fee
No company owns flights, hotels, tours or transfers. They are all service providers. Travel agents book all these on your behalf. They have no say whatsoever in the policy. Whether it is airlines or hotels their rules apply and not that of a travel agent. Travel agents do know rules and policies. They will guide you in case of a mishap or help you in case of a big dispute. But they are still bound by polices of the hotels or airlines. They cannot help you beyond a certain point.
I will, however, caution you to select the right travel agent. Do not go blindly just by rates. If the person is knowledgeable and has visited that country he will be a good guide to you. But, if he is just selling packages I would not buy from him. You should note that the packages are made based on cost. They are not made for families, couples or singles. A family will have a nightmare of a holiday if the hotel location is not apt for families. At mastyatri.com we make packages for families to Thailand. We also make sure that their hotel location is fit for a family. We believe in customization.
I will agree that disputes happen with travel agents. There are also cases where the package booked was not given. However, my attempt with this blog is to present both sides. I hope the above suggestions will help you chose the right travel agent and bye the right package.
Eccentric Blogger, Traveler and Consultant.