How to choose a tour operator so as not to "get into trouble"
"I negotiated with the tour operator for an all-inclusive hotel, but they put me in a cheap hostel with a view of the wall", "A guide was supposed to meet me at the airport in a car, but I stood for 5 hours and could not contact my tour operator", "Dream vacation turned into hell, we just got cheated out of money". You've definitely heard these stories from friends/relatives/acquaintances. So here are some tips on how to choose a reliable travel agency.
Checklist for checking the quality of services
- Availability of documents: the tour operator must show you a statement confirming its registration as a legal entity and a special license. You can check the latter on your own by going to the register of subjects of tour operator activities. Since the war it is not updated, but you can see all the companies who received permission to operate until February 17, 2022.
- Membership in trade unions: this is one of the main indicators of the status of the company.
- Publicity: if you have often heard the name of a travel agency, know people who have used its services, periodically see its advertising on television or in social networks, then pay attention to this company. Large and well-known organizations often take care of their reputation and provide quality services.
- Agent agreement: any travel agency has an agreement with the operator directly organizing the trip. Check the terms of their agreement and the company that is the main service provider.
- Payment: never agree to give a travel agent cash. All payment should be made by official transfer to the company's account.
What else should you pay attention to when choosing a travel agency:
- presence in social networks;
- reviews on independent resources;
- the quality of design of the site;
- speed of feedback;
- arrangement of the office;
- number of employees.
And that's not all. Even if you have seen a lot of good reviews on the Internet about the travel agency, they may be fake. The first personal meeting with the manager of the company plays a big role.
Talking to this person, pay attention to different details. For example, does the employee agree to give you the tour operator's license number right away, can he give you all the conditions of the service without any delay, and if there are any questions about cashless payments. If you see that the representative of the company is not nervous after such questions, then probably the agency is trustworthy.
To be sure, ask a few additional questions that may help you make the right decision:
- what is included in the company's services;
- whether the dates of the trip can be rescheduled;
- how many full days you will stay abroad;
- whether someone should pick you up at the airport;
- whether your guide will speak your language;
- what terms and conditions of transfer are provided;
- which hotel you are booked at and in which room class;
- what free and paid services the hotel has;
- what is included in the tour and is all of it included in the payment;
- if there are any penalties for full or partial non-fulfillment of the contract by the company;
- whether you will be penalized if you have to reschedule your trip for good reasons.
How to check a contract
Signing a contract immediately after talking to a manager is, of course, very cool. But it is because of such a rash act that people get into various unpleasant situations.
It is advisable to ask for a contract to familiarize yourself with it. In particular, you need to reread it in a calm atmosphere, to make sure that all the points agreed upon are entered into it without change.
What should be written in the contract:
- departure and arrival dates;
- guide services;
- name and address of the hotel;
- terms and conditions of other accommodation, if there are any issues with the main hotel;
- number of travel days;
- program of the tour;
- penalties for both parties;
- force majeure circumstances cancelling or suspending the contract.
And even all this does not give you a complete guarantee that the trip will pass without "surprises". If during the tour you get into some unpleasant situation through the fault of the travel agency, you have the right to write a claim and demand compensation for damages.
To do this, you should record the violations on a camera or dictaphone, and write a free-form complaint to the head of the company that provided you poor service. It should be done before you go home.
Be careful when choosing a tour operator, and remember that in case of serious problems abroad you can apply to your official representative office.
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