If you wish to pass on the task of vacation reservations and trip activity planning, you need to find a reliable tour operator. Due to the prevalence of the travel reservation options, nowadays there are lots of travel agents and sale representatives who claim to be a tour operator. However, it is advisable to follow through the below ten criteria to find the best tour operator for your next journey.
1. Transparency Matters. When visiting a tour operator website, it should vividly show the fees and any additional costs related to a trip. Thus, transparency in pricing or quoting matters a lot if you wish to build up a lasting relationship with a tour operating company.
2. Travel Agent or Tour Operator. It is better to examine the tour operator website to make sure it is not a travel agent. Some travel agents work indirectly for airline companies, or they are subcontracted by the other tour operators. As a result, travel agents may mark up their prices, then sell your travel info to another tour operator as customer leads. Some travel agents will only do airline and hotel reservations, both of which can be done easily by any traveler.
3. Clear Cancellation Terms. It is a good practice to review your tour operator policies for cancellations (Read "Trip Cancellations: Above Zest Will Make It Easy For You" for details). In particular: 1. Do they have a clear and flexible cancellation with refund options? 2. Do they have any ticket transfer options? 3. Are they willing to replace your trip ticket with another trip?
4. Group Booking Discounts. If you are a group of travelers (including a family), then you should expect the tour operator to give you special discounts based on the size of your group (Read "Travel Alone Or With A Group: Dilemma Resolved" for details).
5. Advance Reservation Discounts. Some tour operators offer discounts or coupons to the prospect travelers if they reserve their ticket in advance. So, double check if your tour operator has such deals.
Stay tuned for Part 2....