The Philippines tourism industry has been consistently increasing by the year and the number of Travel Agency and Tour Operator has dramatically increased, but a large number of these agencies or operators are not registered and some are just freelancer organizing trips.
Hints to look out for before you book a tour
1. Deceiving Advertising
You call them and they will tell you that the slots for that price is already full, they will then offer higher rates, a good marketing strategy right? or just plain deceiving?
2. Their website or facebook page has very poor reviews or has no reviews at all.
Check out their website and/or facebook page and look for reviews, reviews are important, it reflects on how they service their clients, some have no reviews at all, it's either their not confident of the quality of their services or they removed it because of so many bad reviews. One good example is 888, they were bashed by so many people they removed the review section of their facebook page.
Poor reviews = Poor service
No reviews = Hiding or is not confident of their services.
3. They have no Business Permits, Certificates and do not issue receipts.
A trusted tour provider or company should have all necessary requirements to operate, and legal documents are basic proof that they are capable of providing quality service, would you hire an unlicensed doctor to take care of you?
Some are freelance organizer, we have nothing against these organizers, if you know them, well and good, if not make sure someone can vouch for them, cause there are cases that guest or participants already paid in full but the tour was cancelled and they could not refund, or after payment they could no longer contact the organizer, some expeerienced that nobody showed up in the assembly area.
Legit Tour Operator vs. Freelance Organizer
Campany Bank Account vs. Personal Bank Account
Official Receipt vs. wala lang, take his word for it.
DTI, Business Permit,DOT, BIR vs. Facebook Page
If something unexpected happens.
Legit Operators - you can have them accounted for.
Freelance Operators - why choose unlicensed or unregistered tour operator.
4. They make packages cheaper by sacrificing comfort and quality
Prices to watch out for
Php1,999 abd below that is offering 3 days and 2 nights
The Php999, a VIGAN DAY TOUR! [google mo travel time] do you really want to travel for a total of 14-16 hours and only see 5-6 sites in less than 6 hours, how will the driver sleep and rest? I will understand Tagaytay or Batangas, places that are 3-5 hours away Manila, sorry, but I think this should not be offered at all.
The Php1,999and below three days and two nights tour explained
Advertising strategy - to get more calls and inquiries, when you call and inquire, they will tell you that the slots for that rate is already full, then they will offer you regular priced tour packages or you have o be six and above in a group to avail the package.
Sardinas Tour - you will be sharing the van with 15 persons and above, keep in mind that you will be travelling for long hours, 10 to 12 hours per way If Ilocos or Sagada. Comfort should be a priority. Ask what van will they be using?
Toyota Gl Grandia - recline able seats with head rest, big leg room 10-14 seating capacity with one customized seat
Foton Traveler - recline able seats with head rest, big leg room, 12-15 seating capacity, with one customized seat
Toyota Hi Ace Commuter - non recline able seats with no head rest, tight leg room, 12-18 seater with 3 jump seats. Some have customized head rest except for the jump seats
Nissan - model varies
Underpaid Van Rental and Driver - most organizers and operators that offer low package rates cut cost by hiring a low priced van and drivers, in turn how do you think are the service of these drivers, another problem of organizers is that drivers sometimes cancel because they got a higher rental rate from other organizers. It also follows that if the van owners are underpaid how do you think they follow monthly vehicle maintenance. Your safety and comfort should be your priority.
Shared Rooms - you will be sharing rooms with other groups, usually dorm types or transient house, if you ask for a separate room, additional fees will apply.
Fees and Entrances - you will be charge for every fees and entrances. some will let you line up and pay for the fees and entrances, some driver will assist you and will collect payments from you, but beware some drivers overcharge. if you sum it up you will end up with three things as follows
1. You have saved some money but would have to endure the discomfort and hassle of a cheap package.
2. You end up paying as the same rate as regular priced packages
3. You end up paying more because of overcharging of entrances and fees instructed by the driver
"If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys"
"Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer"
"There is a difference between Affordable and Cheap"
"Mura na mapapamura ka" o "Presyong tapat, serbisyong walang katulad"
It is supposed to be a vacation filled with wonderful experience.
If you get cheap packages, you get cheap services
If the price is too good to be true, it is probably not.
About the Author
Ven Baclig is a blog noob that loves nature and would like to travel and explore the Philippines and beyond, He also owns and operate JAB Travel Ventours and would like to share his experiences with you. If you'd like to connect with him, head on over the Contact Us page and/or click on the links below, Thanks!!!
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