I recently booked a holiday to Vietnam with Flight Centre but they in turn used Travel Indochina to do much of the bookings, including booking a 1 night/2 day sail trip around Ha Long Bay. We went with Indochina Sails and had a lovely time but I wish I had booked directly with them because Travel Indochina charged us twice what Indochina Sails charges online.
Now I don’t mind paying a little extra for a travel company to do the leg work but charging double the price is just taking the micky! In asking Travel Indochina to justify why they charged double the price the response from their National Manager was “We are very clear in our pricing and breakdown the cost of each element on invoices, so if at the time of booking you were concerned about the cost of this cruise or found it cheaper online it could have been cancelled without any fees.” In other words, they don’t deny they are ripping people off, you just need to do some research yourself instead of using a travel agent!
If you are a western traveler you will have to get use to the double standard. You pay more for admission, tours, transport, food etc. It’s still cheap. I have lived in Thailand for a number of years and I still pay sometimes, although I am now retired and if I show them my visa, I get the local price. I lived in Ho Chi Minh City and in Vietnam you will pay unless you go to a restaurant that has English and you still pay at least you know the price. In the western world prices are what they are. In the east they are what they ask. BARGAIN! It is the game in the east! You say no and walk away and they say ok “300 baht” and you say 200 and they say 250???? You can bargain your way, but over the internet you pay without the option to bargain. Many scams, but never feel that you have to pay what they ask, but what they will take.
I don’t quite understand your post. You say you booked a holiday to Vietnam with Flight Centre. They
used Travel Indochina to do much of the bookings, including booking a 1 night/2 day sail trip around Ha Long Bay. You say you went with Indochina Sails.
Travel Indochina is a tour company offering group tours. How could Flight Centre use them for part of your trip?
I’ve just looked at Indochina Sails and checked their price for the 2day/1night tour and prices range from $330 to $528. That’s expensive and more than double what I paid last year, even three times higher. I went with Vega.
As far as tours to places like Halong Bay in Vietnam you get prices all over the place. You can get a $500 cruise or a $200 cruise? It all depends on what you want! Having been there many times I find that booking from the local agency is a much better way to go. You can bargain and if it is low season you can get the cruise for very cheap. I was on one last year and my partner and I were the only ones on the boat! Cheap!!!!!!!! If they are hungry for business you will get a deal! If they want to much go to the next one!
Living in Asia you learn to deal with the double standard, but never be shy about walking away! Many will chase you down as you go out the door and the price comes down!
Prices go up when the demand is high! When the deman is low you get a bargain! When you involve more than one vendor, they each get a cut! Go directly to the source and you will see how cheap it gets!!!!!