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At House of Travel we believe the best holidays are created together. That includes you, us, your own research, our experience and yes, even the World Wide Web.
If you’re planning a holiday this year, here are 6 thinkers to consider before you book.
1. Are internet prices too good to be true?
Actually, no. The internet is awash with travel bargains. From super low flight prices to hotel deals that’ll leave you feeling richer than a Wall Street stockbroker. And they’re all good. And the reason we know they’re so good is because we use them too.
“Drop into any House of Travel branch and what we pull up on our screen is exactly what you can search on your own. And then some. We have access to all the big players we know you trust such as Expedia and Viator, plus other sites which consumers can’t access. With the added bonus that we can do all the clicking and confirm¬ing for you.” Lauren Keith, HOT Wakatipu.
2. Can I trust budget airlines?
Granted, the bargains are unbelievable. Twenty dollars for a one way flight to Paris? Better grab that must-have deal before someone else snaps up the sale of the century (and if the online pop-ups are to be believed, there’s only “One Seat Left” anyway). Best hurry.
Some airports (European ones especially), aren’t always located in the cities they are listed online. For example, certain carriers bound for Paris, actually fly into Beauvais Airport; in the commune of Tille and 65km north-west of the capital. That’s a minimum 90 minute transfer time.
Good to know up front, right? Book with your HOT consultant to ensure you’re flying into Paris’ main airport: Charles de Gaulle, or if you can’t resist the bargain they can arrange an easy, comfortable transfer. Sit back and mull it over, because as Lauren explains, “That urgent “One Seat Left” siren is flashing unnecessarily. Let’s just say your consultant’s screen probably says otherwise.”
3. How long is my transit time?
International airports such as Singapore’s Changi Airport welcome thousands of transit passengers every single day. Not surprisingly this calls for a myriad of boredom-bust¬ing amenities. Swimming pools, water gardens, Jacuzzis, Xbox stations, cinemas. You name it, they’ve fitted it.
Alas, like all things in life, not all airports are made equal.
“A few years ago, I had an eight hour wait in China’s Guangzhou Airport. I was tired, between two 12 hour flights and I didn’t even have a book. Because of this experience I now inform my clients about Guangzhou’s shortcomings upfront. It’s a very convenient transit airport, but I like to make sure they’re prepared. Usually I try to find them a flight with a maximum two hour wait, or suggest they pay NZ$60 for three hours in the Premium Lounge.”
4. Which is the best hotel for me?
Did you know there are approximately 187,000 hotels gracing the planet? And all of them want you in bed. Beautiful hotel images speak a thousand words, but don’t
you just wish they’d speak a thousand more?
Wouldn’t you like to know that a short elevator ride to the top floor of Kowloon’s Sheraton will present a hidden oyster and wine bar? Or if you take two left-turns from the Madrid Mercure you’ll find the best bowl of Paella in Spain? And while pretty aesthetic images plastered across hotel sites make us all giddy, pictures alone can’t divulge the information that really matters.
Our HOT consultants work in travel because, like you, they love to travel. Decades of adventure means they’ve collated all the information that handsome hotel images can’t. At HOT, our insider knowledge is extensive. Our consultants know because they go.
5. What if I need assistance while I’m away?
Internet search engines are clever little things. Tell them exactly what you want and they’ll spew out a thousand options at an intense speed. Bish, bash, bosh - job's a good'un. And once they’ve regurgitated the optimum results, sucked in your card details and spat out a confirmation email, there’s no such thing as a tip of the proverbial hat before they swiftly move onto the next three billion consumers. But hang on, what if you have a question, or worse, a problem?
The internet doesn’t do problems, it does results. The internet doesn’t care if you’re in a pickle: AWOL luggage, a missed flight or a run in with a nifty Spanish pick¬pocket. But at HOT, we provide 24/7 holiday assistance. “Due to a change in China’s visa-free transit times, and because Swiss Air staff did not have the updated informa¬tion, my clients were told they couldn’t board a flight to Shanghai. After phoning HOT’s free after hours’ number, a consultant spoke to Swiss Air directly and the issue was resolved.” Pia Lemin, HOT Lakers. In addition we recommend all our customers to download the HOT travel app. As well as storing itineraries, travel documents and flight details, it also puts you in direct contact with your travel specialist.
6. Should I really tackle this alone?
It’s clear that in today’s world, holidays booked inde¬pendently are incredibly easy. But self-reliance is also presenting an increasing amount of problems. Collaborations between traveller and travel agent permits double the knowledge and half the hiccups. Wouldn’t you rather have more expertise, greater trust and a 24/7 safety net?
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