Deal of the Week – Travel Agent FAIL !
Reading the Sunday paper’s travel supplement my eye was caught by the “Deal of the Week” by a well-known high street travel agency. Phuket FROM $1339 for 8 days share twin. What caught my eye – was that the dates to travel included the same dates as we are travelling to Thailand, indeed to Phuket, next month.
So could I have saved money by booking through this well-known travel agency?
The Actual Cost
Now in my country its illegal to quote prices in the paper that don’t include compulsory surcharges and other fees, so its a lot easier to price compare than it used to be! In this case however I do need to add the price from my home town – that makes it another $158 pp – so we now have a total of $1497 for eight nights.
- flying via Bangkok – adds a couple of hours flight time – joy!
- maximum of 30 days away.
Do It Yourself
I already have the airfare bought and paid for, a combination of Air Asia and Jetstar plus AirNZ for the internal airfares: came to a total of $917 pp – routing Wgtn-Christchurch-KL-Phuket-Singapore-Auckland-Wellington
So what about a hotel? Well assuming that the airfare is worth $917 to me – according to the package for 8 nights, I am paying (1497-917) / 8 = $72. Doesn’t sound to bad – but remember that’s a per person price! So the actual price for the room is $145/ night !!!! This is a deal for a named hotel – PHUKET ORCHID RESORT & SPA – so I checked out the hotel at my favourite hotel booking site – and what a surprise I can book that very same hotel for next month, or indeed, next week for $45/night (for the room not per person) !
So do it yourself would cost: $917 +8*22.5 = $1277 – though one look at the hotel confirms that its not sort of place – firmly orientated towards families and on a beach I know will probably be un-swimable this time of year (something the ads forgot to mention).
Now your mileage may vary and all the prices in this article are NZ$ – but the point is – it doesn’t take very much to research whether a deal is worthwhile or not through a travel agent – and I’ve checked quite a number over the last few months. And every time I’ve come up with that I could save hundreds of dollars, and get a better hotel for the same amount of money.
For $145/night in Phuket in August – you can go 5-star and exclusive – not 3 star and and average – that’s the difference in taking the time and book yourself.
Oh and the flights are one way so there is no restriction on how long I am away for.