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kellymiller

Guests Not Booking Through Travel Agent

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Hi Ladies,

 

Recently I've had some questions from guests about booking for the wedding. Some of them have started to talk about looking at other websites to book the flight and hotel together to save money. The way we set up our booking is that we have a group rate for the resort but the guests have to book the flight themselves. We thought this would be the best for guests, because then they get to decide how long they want to stay/how much they can afford rather than us saying that they have to be there for 7 days etc. Guests have to stay for a minimum of 3 nights at our resort, so we wanted to leave people the option of choosing how long they stay.

 

Is there a polite way to tell them not to look at other websites and to book through our travel agent? We get a pretty good discount if we book xx number of rooms with our travel agent, so how can we tell them not to book elsewhere so we get a free stay without sounding totally rude? lol

 

Help!

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Honestly, people are going to go for the best rate. Our block rooms were about $200/pp cheaper than other places so we did not have this problem. I feel for you because it is so stressful, especially if you had to put down a deposit to lock in the rooms. It'd be hard to ask someone to spend more money so that you can get a discount.

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We had this same issue. I think it's rude to be honest , if someone is saving hundreds of dollars then ok I get it but some are going with another agent to save under 100 for a couple. Why not book with the group? We get a group rate based on how many people we have going. And we have a great rate cause we book as a group not many places will beat it. If I was invited to go with a group to a wedding I would book through their agent. It's just courtesy I think , some people obviously don't think there is a problem with it. Unfortunately, there is no good way to tell them, my agent suggested that it makes things easier once you get to the resort as the resort have our wedding booking and know now many people we have staying based on our tour operator and names of bride and groom. And it makes it less complicated once we get to the resort. Wether that's true I don't know but it was a way to encourage them to book with us.

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Is your travel agent able to help them book their flight as well?

Our TA through Apple Vacations is handling RSVPs, flights, transportation, and booking rooms.

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Yikes! As Canadian you will always find going through a tour operator and getting a package price for air/hotel as a charter will save money, I would suggest getting your TA to lock in a price for the package ASAP and let your guests know it's available for an option.

 

In the US it makes sense to book them separately but as a general rule this is not the case in Canada!

 

I'm surprised your TA didn't steer you in this direction! Our contract makes it actually cheaper including flights, than the "hotel only" quote we got originally. (Now locked in with sunwing/signature),,, except our US guests who will book separately,

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited by kmk2016

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Believe me - this is a situation that is as frustrating for the TA as it is for the B&G.  

 

Many people do not understand the difference booking through the established group can make either in benefit to the B&G or to themselves once they arrive for the function.

It depends on your TA whether or not they will book the flights as well - you should check to be sure.  But in the US (and I think the airlines are handling their rates the same everywhere, it may not be possible to "lock in" a great package that includes air - fare pricing is dynamic (meaning constantly shifting with demand and availability).  And a "deal" may not be a bargain at all.

 

That being said, the group rate is often an enticement to have guests book within the established block.  The B&G get credits and extras based on the number of guest reservations - that's a big benefit to them.

Often, the guests will get better pricing and more amenities this way that would not be available to them when booked another way - even at the same property.

 

The wedding coordinator is working with the reservations staff to coordinate the numbers and it may confuse the issue to have guests booking outside the group. It is definitely harder to track the numbers that way.

 

The property is using those numbers to establish how many rooms can be held for that event and for how long.  So when people book outside, it artificially inflates the demand and could serve to influence the numbers.  In addition, rooms made through 3rd party on-line sources may or may not result in the reservation the person expects .  If the hotel is oversold for that time period the guest could find themselves in a very different room category than expected (an Oceanview may become a really nice look at the parking lot) and paid for or, worse  they could be "walked" to a different property nearby.

 

It is human nature to want to get the "best deal" but the best way to ensure your guests have a seamless experience without unexpected surprises when they are coming to attend an event, is to have them book within the established group block.  But they need to understand "what's in it for them" so….

 

You may want to speak to your TA and ask about the group rate and amenities you have and what you could tell guests to help entice them to book in the block you have established. 

 

Hopefully, it will be a win-win for everyone.

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I'm trying to sell up the fact if you book through the TA then the transfer from the airport to the resort is included... really, that only probably saves you about $40 bucks though so I don't know

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Wow! I'm really surprised being in canada that you went this route! In the US, yes it can make a big difference, but in canada flights are SO expensive with all the ridiculous taxes we get charged, and aiport fees, etc. Flights from US cities can really be so much cheaper!! Package vacations are the norm here. Most tour operators that I've seen out of Toronto do offer 3/4 night stays as well as 5, 7 and 8 or 10. I'm surprised given the circumstances that your travel agent didn't cover this with you and offer you the alternative. It's really too bad that people are looking to book elsewhere. You could always look at the tour operators for flights only and if they're good enough make that suggestion. Sometimes Transat, Sunwing and Westjet have the seats to be able to do flights only. But again, they'll get stuck with the all the high taxes/fees that we get here. Ask your agent to look at other alternatives for you so that you can direct people to there with the idea that your agent can help them find cheap flights. It's worth a shot.

 

Good luck!

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We have had the same issue. Luckily so far only 1 person has booked through their personal TA. We put on our wedding site our TA info, also in our invites obviously and I try to send out updates constantlty on the status of our rooms. So I will email out through our site saying "We are getting closer and we are down to 3 available rooms! Book now for only $150 down and have the leisure to make payments through our TA"  So basically I am selling my TA and not the resort itself. Then again we only are booking around 20 rooms.

 

So sorry, try not to stress, everything will work out in the end =0)

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