Most people tend to check the internet for prices on travel. Sometimes it seems easier and cheaper than using a travel consultant. Nothing against the “live” sites, but every day I have someone asking me for a quote on travel that they have seen as a cheap price on a competitor’s website. What they fail to realise is that the quote that they see, could either be on a static site, or an “average” price.
Let me explain that. Travel prices are like the stock market…they fluctuate. Not necessarily as drastically as the stock market and not minute by minute. As an example, I priced a flight for a family of five to the Philippines and got a quote back from one of our tour operators. By the time that I got in touch with the client, and she sorted out her payment method, we could not book the flight until the next day. Overnight, the fare rose by £700 pounds! Luckily, I was able to search through our suppliers (we have over 450) and found the same flights for her at £97 more than she was quoted the night before. Most tour operators will only hold flight quotations until the close of the business day.
If you go to a website that has a series of airlines listed and prices listed to where you want to go, click on the ad, fill in your dates and see if the price stays the same or does it tell you to call them. We did an experiment with a local travel agent that advertised cheap flights to the Philippines. This is one of our main markets, as we specialise in Far East travel. The agent had an offer for KLM airlines to the Philippines for £321 pounds. We put in the airport we wanted to travel from as Heathrow going to Manila on a particular date. We were then advised to call. So my wife did and it turns out that the price was £550 traveling from London City and £700 traveling from London Heathrow!
I consider this to be false advertising. It is used to get you to call the agent, who then tries to sell you something different than what you are inquiring about. The term is “Bait and Switch”, where they bait you with a seductive price on the internet for travel and then make you call them where they “switch” the price.
If you cannot book the flight you want on their website at the price advertised, then the price is not a LIVE price. How they get away with it, is by advertising an “average” price. This means they take the highest price and the lowest price for that flight in a year and average it. The other way is that they advertise the price , saying “as low as”. That means that on some Wednesday in the middle of some month, you can get the price that they are advertising.
It always pays to use a travel consultant to help you with your travel arrangements. Our commissions are paid by the operators, not the client, so the fares you are quoted are the fares you pay. Most independent travel consultants are available if you run into a problem on your holiday and can help you sort it out, where as most internet sites can leave you hanging.
If you need help with your travel arrangements, contact us. For short haul trips, check out our website at www.clbglobaltravel.com, this is a live site. For long haul or special trips, call us. Our advice and quotes are free, and you can have complete peace of mind.
Charles is a world traveler having lived in 44 states and 11 countries and traveled to dozens more. He and his wife spend time between London, Ireland, Canada, and the Philippines.