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#1 JBean

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    Posted 22 January 2011 - 09:40 PM

    We are wanting to do a group booking through Westjet so that people are able to put down a deposit and have a few months to save for the rest, however, some people are starting to find cheaper rates on Expedia and may book through them - and then I'm worried we won't have enough people booking through the group booking and our rate will go up.

     

    My MOH found a higher tier room AND a $250 spa credit package through expedia for $200 less than our group rate, on the same airline. Which means we'd be on the same flight - but she paid less than other guests AND gets the spa credit. It's frustrating. It seems group rates aren't so great at all. :(

     

    I find it all very stressful. Is anyone else going through this? What did you do?

     

    I guess our options are:

     

    1) Let everyone fend for themselves and try to find the best rate they can - but that may mean less people come if they're not able to use the deposit system.

     

    OR

     

    2) Go through the group booking (which means Fi and I pay a little more too) so that people have the option of putting down a deposit, and hope people book that way.

     


    Brad & Janine - November 10th, 2011.
    Valentin Imperial Maya, Riviera Maya
    Bride & Groom + 29


    #2 LilyRose

    LilyRose
    • Jr. Member
    • 202 posts

      Posted 23 January 2011 - 10:25 AM

      Hi JBean,

       

      I am from Canada too and I am using Air Canada vacations but maybe I can help...

       

      Sometimes, Expedia has cheaper rates that they will offer for a small number of rooms (See other posts about it on the Travel section). Those rooms can be "inferior" and may give the guests different colors of bracelets in some resorts, so not everyone is getting the same package.  I do not know about your particular resort though.

       

      On my wedsite, I did a FAQ section where I have put the question "Is it cheaper to wait and book via Expedia and other discount website?" And then, I have explained the dangers of doing this: rooms all booked, inferior rooms, ect.

       

      I am not a TA but one thing I find strange about your case is that your price on Expedia seems lower even that far in advance.  My group price was between 200-500 $ cheaper per person that the Air Canada Vacations website (and any other one) and that, since November (my wedding is in July.)  I would understand better rates at the last minute (couple of months before the wedding)  on Expedia. Have you tried to go online and find the price of your package on West Jet Vacations?  What is the price difference between your group price and the "regular" couple price?

       

      I think you should discuss that with your TA. I am sure she will be able to help you with that. I would let her know what is happening like you have explained here to us.  Don't be afraid to be honest with her. If she can not find a better rate, she will give you more details about your booking and how you can convince your guests to pay extra for the group booking.

       

      Let us know!

       

      LilyRose



      #3 Hanna20

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      • 100 posts

        Posted 24 January 2011 - 10:22 AM


        Hi there,

         

        I am also from Canada (BC to be exact) and we also went with a group rate through Air Canada vacations. Our wedding is April 6th and my travel agent started requesting quotes from different companies back in October. Our group rate ended up being about $400 less per person than the price that was advertised on Air Canada's web site. Expedia's prices also were not much different either.... the thing with Expedia is also that you must pay in full at the time of booking and since your wedding is not until Nov I would be hesitant to have to pay in full thi fa in advance but that is just my opinion. With our group rate we also had the option that if Air Canada's price went down between the time we had to pay our deposits and when the final payment was due, we would get a price adjustment to the lower price. So we really couldn't lose with that! As of right now the price has not gone down any lower (in fact it has gone up).

         

        I really struggled with deciding between doing the group rate and letting everyone book on their own but after talking with many of our friends and family they all agreed that they wanted to be on the same flight, have rooms close together etc. So we then decided that the group rate was the way to go for us.

         

        I don't know if this helped you at all but good luck!
         

        Originally Posted by JBean 

        We are wanting to do a group booking through Westjet so that people are able to put down a deposit and have a few months to save for the rest, however, some people are starting to find cheaper rates on Expedia and may book through them - and then I'm worried we won't have enough people booking through the group booking and our rate will go up.

         

        My MOH found a higher tier room AND a $250 spa credit package through expedia for $200 less than our group rate, on the same airline. Which means we'd be on the same flight - but she paid less than other guests AND gets the spa credit. It's frustrating. It seems group rates aren't so great at all. :(

         

        I find it all very stressful. Is anyone else going through this? What did you do?

         

        I guess our options are:

         

        1) Let everyone fend for themselves and try to find the best rate they can - but that may mean less people come if they're not able to use the deposit system.

         

        OR

         

        2) Go through the group booking (which means Fi and I pay a little more too) so that people have the option of putting down a deposit, and hope people book that way.

         





        #4 JBean

        JBean
        • Jr. Member
        • 429 posts

          Posted 24 January 2011 - 11:38 AM

          Thanks for the replies ladies. Unfortunately, we didn't have the option of using Air Canada as they don't have our hotel. 

           

          The price of our package isn't listed on Westjet vacations yet (they have just released the pricing for November this week) so I have nothing to compare our price to. I didn't know but apparently Expedia does group rates - I emailed them but haven't heard back.

           

          I think we're still going to go with the Westjet group bookings and just be done with it. Fi's going back and forth with them as we speak to try and get some questions answered. 


          Brad & Janine - November 10th, 2011.
          Valentin Imperial Maya, Riviera Maya
          Bride & Groom + 29


          #5 blondy

          blondy
          • Newbie
          • 133 posts

            Posted 28 January 2011 - 05:59 PM

            Hi,

            I don't have any particular advice for you, but can relate to group booking stress - it is actually the only part of the process that has been stressful.  For us, despite the fact that we invited about 150 people, it was a struggle to get enough people to book (10) to keep the group rate.  In fact, we booked the 9th and 10 person today and it was the very last day.  We came very close to losing the group rate for our guests and our $2000 deposit.  Problems included that lots of people chose to travel on different days (we picked Sun-Sun with our wedding on the Friday), very inconvenient flight times (leaves our city at 615am, and then on the return from Cancun, lands at 330am!  big mistake to set up the group booking before flight times were available), and that the price was ultimately only slightly cheaper than what you could find on the internet.  Ultimately, our biggest problem was the travel agent herself - any "perk" that we found for our guests we found ourselves and had to push the TA on, and she was not very knowledgeable about room types, etc.

             

            If I were to do it over again, I may select a good travel agent for people to contact, but would not set up a group booking - we found it too restrictive.


            We're getting married at Moon Palace Cancun on April 8, 2011!

            #6 Avens

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            • Member
            • 576 posts

              Posted 29 January 2011 - 10:31 AM

              I also ended up using Air Canada Vacations.

               

              I think West Jet Vacations ended up being slightly cheaper, but the way their group rate system works is different.  You get a group rate initially, but they don't hold it the way Air Canada Vacations does.  My travel agent explained it to me initially, you could probably ask yours (or maybe you already know!).

               

              I was looking online from about October until January to see what Expedia etc. rates were for the same time period (I'm not getting married until Jan 2012, they didn't have those rates out yet) and my group rates held out, even to the last minute.  The only one I found that was cheaper was on Dec. 23, and the flight was leaving on Dec. 25th.

               

              However, one downfall I've found, is that we thought we were "guaranteed" our rate once we had our ten people booked.

               

              In the new year, they raised our price up $40.  Apparently they were adjusting margins, which seems like a load of poo to me. Myself and my travel agent both wrote letter, and I'm still waiting to hear back.  I hope that they aren't able to keep raising the price, otherwise what was the point of getting a group rate.

               

              Anyone else finding this problem?

               

              All in all, I think a group rate is the easier way to go.  I'm sure some people will still book on their own, and that is their call.  However, especially if you have a lot of people who don't travel often, it takes a lot of stress out.  As well as when people ask you a ton of questions that you have no idea - you can refer them to your  travel agent (if you have a good one, mine are a husband/wife team and they are amazing!).  I think my mom talked to them for about two hours the other day while she was booking her flights.

               

              Good Luck!



              #7 proti007

              proti007
              • Jr. Member
              • 467 posts

                Posted 29 January 2011 - 10:56 AM

                I am going through a very similar experience:

                 

                Our guests are flying out of three different hub destinations (Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto) and received quotes from both Air Canada and Westjet in October. The rates from both carriers were quite high, much higher than a site like Expedia/Travelocity, and only a $100-$150 difference between their listed rates. The problem that we had (and continue to have!) is that our resort (Dreams Los Cabos) has placed an "early booking bonus" on the package. Well, one would think that this saves money (which it does, about $300 per package) but required quests to pay in full by January 7th. We declined the rate, and said we would start shopping again in the new year. We've now received our new rates (which are dollar for dollar the same as we got in October) and there is a NEW EBB on there from our hotel (which would require our guests to pay in full by the end of February!). The rates that we were able to find on Expedia/Travelocity are between $250-$300 less than our group rate, so we have suggested that our guests go forward with that (as they would have to pay in full in 3 weeks if we went forward with the group booking). It has been a giant headache.

                 

                So to sum up, for us, we've decided to have our guests book on their own and find their own rates and deals, rather than locking them into a group rate. 



                #8 proti007

                proti007
                • Jr. Member
                • 467 posts

                  Posted 29 January 2011 - 10:59 AM

                  Lily, this is very interesting information (with regards to different bracelets, inferior rooms). I've never heard of this before! Regardless, we're staying at an all-suites, newly renovated resorts that does not have bracelets (thank goodness! I've seen pictures of brides on here that are wearing their bracelets on their wedding day! lol fluorescent orange!).
                   

                  Originally Posted by LilyRose 

                  Hi JBean,

                   

                  I am from Canada too and I am using Air Canada vacations but maybe I can help...

                   

                  Sometimes, Expedia has cheaper rates that they will offer for a small number of rooms (See other posts about it on the Travel section). Those rooms can be "inferior" and may give the guests different colors of bracelets in some resorts, so not everyone is getting the same package.  I do not know about your particular resort though.

                   

                  On my wedsite, I did a FAQ section where I have put the question "Is it cheaper to wait and book via Expedia and other discount website?" And then, I have explained the dangers of doing this: rooms all booked, inferior rooms, ect.

                   

                  I am not a TA but one thing I find strange about your case is that your price on Expedia seems lower even that far in advance.  My group price was between 200-500 $ cheaper per person that the Air Canada Vacations website (and any other one) and that, since November (my wedding is in July.)  I would understand better rates at the last minute (couple of months before the wedding)  on Expedia. Have you tried to go online and find the price of your package on West Jet Vacations?  What is the price difference between your group price and the "regular" couple price?

                   

                  I think you should discuss that with your TA. I am sure she will be able to help you with that. I would let her know what is happening like you have explained here to us.  Don't be afraid to be honest with her. If she can not find a better rate, she will give you more details about your booking and how you can convince your guests to pay extra for the group booking.

                   

                  Let us know!

                   

                  LilyRose





                  #9 LilyRose

                  LilyRose
                  • Jr. Member
                  • 202 posts

                    Posted 29 January 2011 - 11:32 AM

                    I agree with you proti007! :-)

                    I was unaware of this either and then a bride on this forum informed us of that bracelet color thing.  My resort does not have any bracelet so it was not an issue for us.  Our rates are so much better with the group rate than nobody asked to book with another agent or website.  I think that because my resort is a boutique hotel (49 rooms), they do not discount their prices that much.

                    Originally Posted by proti007 

                    Lily, this is very interesting information (with regards to different bracelets, inferior rooms). I've never heard of this before! Regardless, we're staying at an all-suites, newly renovated resorts that does not have bracelets (thank goodness! I've seen pictures of brides on here that are wearing their bracelets on their wedding day! lol fluorescent orange!).
                     



                    #10 JBean

                    JBean
                    • Jr. Member
                    • 429 posts

                      Posted 29 January 2011 - 02:46 PM

                      We had the exact same experience and we've decided to have everyone book on their own. Most people are happy with this, as they want to search for the best rate anyways. 

                       

                      We booked through Expedia yesterday and saved $1000 over the Westjet "group rate". We even got an upgraded room and $250 spa credit. Expedia seems was definitely the way to go for us.
                       

                      Originally Posted by proti007 

                      I am going through a very similar experience:

                       

                      Our guests are flying out of three different hub destinations (Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto) and received quotes from both Air Canada and Westjet in October. The rates from both carriers were quite high, much higher than a site like Expedia/Travelocity, and only a $100-$150 difference between their listed rates. The problem that we had (and continue to have!) is that our resort (Dreams Los Cabos) has placed an "early booking bonus" on the package. Well, one would think that this saves money (which it does, about $300 per package) but required quests to pay in full by January 7th. We declined the rate, and said we would start shopping again in the new year. We've now received our new rates (which are dollar for dollar the same as we got in October) and there is a NEW EBB on there from our hotel (which would require our guests to pay in full by the end of February!). The rates that we were able to find on Expedia/Travelocity are between $250-$300 less than our group rate, so we have suggested that our guests go forward with that (as they would have to pay in full in 3 weeks if we went forward with the group booking). It has been a giant headache.

                       

                      So to sum up, for us, we've decided to have our guests book on their own and find their own rates and deals, rather than locking them into a group rate. 




                      Brad & Janine - November 10th, 2011.
                      Valentin Imperial Maya, Riviera Maya
                      Bride & Groom + 29





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