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BillysBride

TA's Is This True?

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I've been checking around, trying to find out whats what in terms of travel agents in my area. We're still over 14 months out, so I'm not trying to book anything as there is nothing TO be booked yet with no rates available.

 

But I wanted to have just an idea of what rates might look like this time next year, so I contacted a local agency and asked one of the agents to basically simulate a booking for the trip for us, using the same specifics as we will next year as if we were going THIS year. Two weeks after Easter, 3, 5 and 7 night packages, looking into charter flights as well if available out of the airport the majority of us will be leaving from.

 

OK, so she gets back to me a minute ago and gives me the numbers. Fine. Pricey, but I expected as much with this almost being February already. When she said "these are with seats going pretty fast", I said "Right, with it being so close already to the date. I imagine those numbers would come down a nice chunk if we pull this together and everyone starts booking as soon as rates are available. She said "Not necessarily." I don't get that. I'm sure its not a hard and fast rule, but I've always thought that booking ANYthing for a trip, you get better rates if you book earlier. I also forgot to ask her if their agency applies rate drops, but I'd have thought she would have mentioned it if that were the case.

 

So, am I just backward? Explain this to me. I need to understand so I'm not thinking incorrectly as we embark on this.

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Well, I can tell you that when we locked in our group rates last May, those rates were the lowest available for the resort ... and the airfare prices were pretty low too.

 

Over time, I'd say 6 months, our Group Rates for the resort remained lower than booking online ... and airfares continued to rise.

 

However, since November, resort rates online are LOWER than our Group Rates and we can not get the lower rate b/c we locked those rates in. This was something I didn't know to ask about.

 

For our honeymoon, we just reserved through the resort's 800-number directly -- and did not have to put down any deposit. We were also told that if a lower rate becomes available that we just have to call back to the 800-number and they will adjust the rate.

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Sometimes it's higher at first. I take a flight from raleigh to houston pretty often. It will be $400 when the prices are first released. Then it will drop to $225 & rise up until time of travel. So I don't book too early. I wait until it's just the right time. The trick is knowing when that is.

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Alright, thats info that helps to even out my thinking. Thanks Morgan and Foxy.

 

What about price drops? Do your TA's adjust for that? Sounds like yours doesn't Foxy, but Morgan, do I remember you saying something once about your TA applying any price drops that happened after you booked?

 

I just want to know what I can look for in a an agent and what should make me bipass someone and keep shopping around. If its standard procedure to be "stuck" once you book as far as a rate or how it works.

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My TA is with AAA Vacations and worked with Travel Impressions, which is a tour operator company that deals directly with our resort.

 

I don't know how common it is for a company to lower prices if you sign on for a particular rate, but it's question I never event hought to ask -- so I would definitely add it to your list when you discuss this with TA's. I certainly would have been more diligent had I known that rates were going to go down b/c we had 4 couples who booked on their own based on the rates and it kept us from getting some extrpgrades and freebies.

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I think the difference is tami did a room block & then bought flights. We are buying flights & room as a package. If it's charter air, they will get price drops. For commercial, it's not guaranteed. We also get price drops for the room. So recently the 3 night stay in the hotel dropped $10 so everyone who has booked just got $10 taken off what they owe. Hopefully they see more price drops. What I'd love to see is the flights out of Houston drop to $200 per person. I know they used to sell for that much close to travel time, but it was a different charter airline last year.

 

For our hotel, I suggest having guests book package deals (air, transfer to hotel & room). They don't offer any perks as far as I know for a room block. It also saves a lot of headache not having to get so involved in RSVPs & who is actually coming.

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Morgan- ya, she mentioned that thus far, she didn't think the hotel was offering anything for room blocks. I BELIEVE what she said about a charter flight was either up to or less than 20 people. Which one of those sounds right to you? I'm not sure of anything yet, but I do know we'll have probably at least 20, but how many of those leaving out of the same airport? I don't know.

 

I am just beginning to get an idea of how tough it can be to put something together that everyone is comfortable with. Even looking at 3-5-7 night packages, there were so many restrictions on what days people could leave. Even with us going for 7 or 8 nights, we will likely have to change our plans some based on when we can leave out. And we hadn't planned on having to leave TOGETHER with everybody else. Looks like I have some more thinking to do. I just need to sit down with the next TA and go through my growing list of questions. Thanks again ladies.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillysBride View Post
Morgan- ya, she mentioned that thus far, she didn't think the hotel was offering anything for room blocks. I BELIEVE what she said about a charter flight was either up to or less than 20 people. Which one of those sounds right to you? I'm not sure of anything yet, but I do know we'll have probably at least 20, but how many of those leaving out of the same airport? I don't know.

I am just beginning to get an idea of how tough it can be to put something together that everyone is comfortable with. Even looking at 3-5-7 night packages, there were so many restrictions on what days people could leave. Even with us going for 7 or 8 nights, we will likely have to change our plans some based on when we can leave out. And we hadn't planned on having to leave TOGETHER with everybody else. Looks like I have some more thinking to do. I just need to sit down with the next TA and go through my growing list of questions. Thanks again ladies.

We haven't been given a limit on how many people. There are also no restirction on when they can leave. Except for the availability of charter flights. There is just 1-2 flights per day they can pick from if they want charter. They can always take commercial too. Our texas guests are mostly flying charter, but out of north carolina we only have the commercial option.

I like how easy it has all been with the way we are doing it. I get updates price quotes from my TA from about 7 cities. Guests contact her if they want to book & work out their days, etc. I'm trying to not get involved. But, I have found people keep procrastinating. To get anyone to book I had to get involved. I organized my family's trips & they are the only that booked. Everyone intends to, but hasn't done it yet. Prices keep climbing. Hopefully they get on it!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgan View Post
I'm trying to not get involved. But, I have found people keep procrastinating. To get anyone to book I had to get involved. I organized my family's trips & they are the only that booked. Everyone intends to, but hasn't done it yet. Prices keep climbing. Hopefully they get on it!
Ha, I wish I could be uninvolved in the process. Guests will drive us CRAZY! And I think prices will definitely keep going up if history is any indication. Hopefully there will be some good sales between now and then for your guests.

The ones who haven't booked yet for ours -- I am just not worrying about.

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I'm just gonna keep this agency in mind, and keep looking around. I honestly feel like, hearing about your experience Morgan, there may be better options. Not so much pricing wise, cuz whatever will be will be sounds like. But definitely in the amount of "extra mile" they offer.

 

Is your agency out of S.C.?

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