A refreshing new vacation booking concept introduced by Eben Schoeman
Nobody should pay $10,000 for an American vacation with a street value of $2,000. We have a strong passion to design fabulous vacation experiences for clients who want the most value for the price they pay. . .
WHAT EXACTLY IS OUR "REFRESHING NEW CONCEPT"?
It is a new approach for booking vacations, illustrated in this booking diagram.
1. We communicate, on your behalf, with international tour operators and ground operators (guides, lodges and transport on the ground in the USA) - often leading to considerable cost-savings, better value for money and most certainly a more fabulous vacation experience.
2. We are independent and work for you - our client - and not for tour operators, ground operators, host travel agencies or travel consortia.
3. We work with any American supplier who has a quality product or service that may be of interest to our clients. From well-known international tour operators (Tauck, Collette, YMT, etc) to the very best local ground operators (Grand Adventures, Pink Jeep Tours, Private DC Segway Tour, etc.)
4. Together, we discuss all the vacation choices BEFORE presenting an itinerary based on your input. This is important; others may present itineraries with limited (if any) options but we provide you with all the relevant options and THEN we design an itinerary based on your decisions!
5. Ours is a very unique arrangement that requires in-depth knowledge of the tourist centers in America. We travel in an RV for several months each year to all our favorite destinations. 10+ years of research for our itinerary planning books have afforded us intimate and unmatched knowledge of the national & state parks, lodges, airlines and ground operators. We put all this knowledge and personal relationships to work for you.
6. We do not charge any upfront fees like many travel planners! Why should you pay somebody before knowing if that person can deliver the vacation you want?
If you want to compare our approach to the traditional vacation booking process, please take a look at the following diagram:
The travel planner (or consultant or travel agent or specialist) is either employed by the tour operator, or works independently as a commissioned agent or representative of the tour operator. The brochure rack of any travel agency is a showcase for the tour operators it represents.
In order to increase earnings, most individual travel planners and travel agencies are associated with hosts and/or travel consortia. They benefit from the combined buying power, increased commissions, joined marketing campaigns, lead-generation and back-office support. But in order to achieve higher commission levels travel planners are expected to promote and sell only tours from "preferred" lists of tour operators.
This arrangement is problematic for many reasons:
1. You are presented with a very small sampling of travel and destination choices. Most consortia have agreements with less than 5 international tour operators and very few, if any, local ground operators.
2. Surprisingly even USA-based travel planners have very little experience of American mainland destinations because many focus on Europe, the Caribbean, Disney and Hawaii! They receive some product training by tour operators but this knowledge is restricted to the itineraries presented in the brochures.
3. Your itinerary represents the day-by-day activities and inclusions/exclusions of your tour. But your choices are limited to the capabilities of the ground operator under contract by your tour company and/or travel planner. In other words, you get whatever options were negotiated between your travel planner, the tour company and/or the ground operator; you do not have any insight into these options.
4. You will not know exactly what you will get until you arrive in the tour departure city! Only then will you find out what your vehicle or bus REALLY looks like, where your lodge is REALLY located in relation to the sights, and how long it REALLY takes to drive from point A to point B on your itinerary.
5. You are expected to completely trust your travel planner, the tour company and the ground operator - not always a good thing!
Example - here are a few options that you may be missing:
f) Value for your money - a huge consideration! Do not pay $10,000 for a $2,000 vacation!