The holiday was excellent. Great hotel, fantastic staff, and an absolutely fantastic location. One of the best weeks I’ve spent on holiday in recent years. It’s a real pity that the tour operator (can’t name them yet – I’ll explain later) were either uncaring or possibly downright malicious in aparrent efforts to scupper what was supposed to be a great gift.
The tour company pretty much lied about the terms that were applicable to the gift, saying originally that the gift applied to all of the destinations in the brochure, and would be applied against the brochure price as printed in the catalogue.
However, as we were doing our research on the locations and the timings, we were told that no, the gift didn’t apply to destinations that flew from Belfast as those were advertised in Sterling in the brochure and therefore the gift wouldn’t be allowed to be used there.
After raising the isuse with the people on the phone, we were told “Sure aren’t you getting a free holiday, what more do you want?” Well what one would expect from such a tour operator would be politeness on the phone, after all we would be spending a significant amount of money with them, and it could have been such a possible public relations coup. But, no, they chose to be bad-minded about it. After re-chosing our shortlist of destinations to only ones that flew from the Republic, we phoned back to get the relative costs of each destination possibility. Armed with this information we made our choice, and phoned back to book. Yes, would you believe it, the so-called “brochure price” had gone up by close to €1000 euro in less than an hour. “Oh, yes, it’s a booking on our live system, the prices can do that” we were told. Of our 8 destination/hotel combinations on the shortlist, 7 had raised in price by over €500. A quick comparison between our quoted final “brochure price” and the actual cost of booking online through their website that day, showed that the difference between the prices was not far from the value of the gift…. It’s a bit of a coincidence I think.
However, destination 8 had only risen by something like €300, and was still within the budget that we had set ourselves. So we booked, and paid the amount over that this holiday would cost over the gift value.
The further coincidences that we were the victim of, were interesting. We were not sitting together on the plane out, nor were we sitting together on the plane back, and the airline had no capability of changing the seating as the travel company did the allocation themselves (I saw the ticket screen and the block that had no change capability). Arriving at the hotel, we were told that our room was on the pool level and had no balcony as a result. The hotel staff knew that this was a less-than-ideal room for a couple on holiday but they had no capacity left to enable a change in room. However, there was a capability to upgrade us to the sister hotel nearby, for no charge. So we naturally took them up on the gracious upgrade offer and we had a brilliant holiday as a result.