Saturday, May 19, 2012

Buyer Beware - Daily Deal Sites

For those of us who receive e-mails from those daily "deal" sites, we recently saw the effect of seeing a deal that seemed great that ended up not being what the buyer thought it would be. Yes, even a travel agent can be tempted by some of the travel deals we see - but do your homework before purchasing.

We recently were on a travel agent familiarization trip to Costa Rica with a group of other travel agents to do site inspections of hotels. Hotels in Costa Rica are very different from those in other countries. Many are difficult to traverse as they are built into mountain sides and can be very difficult to maneuver around, especially if a client has any physical limitations. Many have no air conditioning. Some are basic accommodations with no air conditioning, refrigerators or ceiling fans. Many are high in remote places and far away from a town.

One hotel that we had been to before was a rain forest lodge. It was far from town, had no air conditioning, fans, refrigerator or t.v. On the property was a rain forest you could walk through, it had a semi-working farm but had a pool that was emptied every night and refilled naturally by a stream - meaning the water was very cold and it was difficult to swim in that cold water.

On the night we were there, we met a gal from NYC who was staying there by herself. It was her birthday and because she was by herself, our group invited her to join us for dinner. She had explained that she was bored stiff and had no idea that there was nothing to do at the resort.

How did she buy her room? Through one of the daily deal sites. The price was cheap and she grabbed the trip based solely on price. But she never checked the property before she bought the deal and had no idea that this was not the property for her. Food was not included and she had to buy her meals on property. She thought she would be able to walk to town - nope. A cab to the closest town cost $90 one way. There were very few excursions available. And there were also very few people at the resort - most were honeymooners who didn't want to socialize with anyone.

The great deal she thought she was getting ended up not being a good deal at all.  Had she booked through an experienced Costa Rica travel specialist, she could have been told about the hotel and what she was actually buying and I am sure that she would not have purchased the deal.

If you are considering one of the "daily deals" you see online, especially in a foreign country, remember this story.  A travel agent would have questioned this girl on her likes and dislikes and been able to tell her this was not a resort that fit her lifestyle.

No comments:

Post a Comment