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Oct 13, 2008

Traveling With Cosmos or Any Other Tour Operator

by BeenAfewPlaces/ General

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Who are tour operators?


Tour operators are companies that combine different travel components such as accommodation, transportation, customer service on a destination, day trips and other into one package and offer it to the potential buyers for the price of one. The price of the package is by far cheaper than it would be if you would be getting each component separately. The reason the prices of package holidays are cheaper is that tour operators are wholesalers; they make contracts with the companies offering accommodation, transportation and other travel services and make reservations in advance without knowing if they would be able to sell them. It's a risky business and tour operators are doing everything in their power to sell their products to make profit.

By doing everything, in theory, means to the customer satisfaction but in practice things don't seem to work that way at all times.

To sell their products tour operators choose different selling channels. They often have their own offices both in the country and abroad but they also sell their products through other travel agents who get 7.5% - 15% cut from the price of the holiday package sold.

Losing this big interest does not suit the tour operators, so they are doing everything they can to sell their products through their own selling channels thus cutting work from the small travel agents. To us, it makes no difference if we would buy our holiday directly from the tour operator or an intermediary because we pay the same price and it is agents that get their cut from the tour operators. Now, there could be some variations from country to country and from continent to continent and you could have it checked just to make sure but this is how things should work. 

Internet and options for online booking was very welcomed by the tour operators that used it to sell their products directly to the customers without losing their interest and yet making it available for the customers to search for the right packages (or create their own) in the privacy of their homes.

So, we, the customers, should be privileged in this business and enjoy the whole process from buying our holidays to using them. It is us who they are selling their products to because to them, every unsold seat, bed, package is a revenue lost forever and should do things to our satisfaction and pleasure in order for us to buy them.

However, many return from their holidays disappointed and angry. While your friends may have had a blast holiday with Cosmos, you could have ended up with a lousy one even though you booked the same package at different time. Why is that?

One of the main tourism characteristics is that the service is being made while you are using it. It's a chance you need to take. There is no rule as we buy holidays without seeing the merchandise first.

Other characteristics are the human factor and the fact that the tour operator who combines different component can't control all of them because these are all different sectors and different firms. In order to being able to control the whole service, many tour operators are buying airlines, their own accommodation facilities to provide the best service overall or they unite with these providers (like Cosmos and Monarch airlines for example) under one name to better sell the products as well be able to oversee the services.

So, you do understand that it may not be Cosmos to blame although you bought their product. Unpredictable things happen that may not entirely be their fault.

Flight delay may not be their fault, switching of the resort may also not be their fault but could be fixed. The owners of the resorts or holidays may have wanted to protect themselves, so they double booked it. Remember, everyone is for their own piece of the cake and no one wants to lose their money. Like already said, an unsold seat/bed/tour is a revenue lost forever and many parties do whatever they can (often at the disadvantage of the customers) not to loose any money. The bad thing is that it happened to you.

I've been hearing such complaints from different travelers:

They like taking your money but they are so unhelpful……..after delayed flight and switching of the resort.
They didn't even say sorry
They didn't even make it up to us
There was no consideration on their side
The hotel was far away
We could not use the refund

This happens when the holiday provider, in our case, tour operator, puts profit before customer satisfaction. Remember, tour operators are the creators of mass tourism and when you say mass it often means lack of humanity like in mass production.

But the thing is that we need them too – they offer cheap holidays, they save our time, they offer us everything on one plate, etc

I agree that when mistakes do happen, that the holiday provider can do is at least apologize, instead of dismiss, offer kind words of understanding, offer the kind of compensation that would actually work, offer your money back if you are not getting what you paid for, etc

After all, if a change of plans occurs before your travel and they are not able to sooth the problem, just ditch them and ask for a full refund since it is their own fault. Don't be afraid that your holiday would go down the drain as there are so many last minute bookings you can use and have a blast.

Another thing you can do to make sure you will have a fulfilling holidays is to check the destination online as well as the booked accommodation. With the internet available in each home, you can learn about anything you want within minutes. If you do this part well, there is no way your holiday will fail.
You don't have to accept their expensive tours (not included in packages but often offered as a side trip) if you had organized yourself well and you know what you could be doing. Also, many receptive agencies on the destination may offer much cheaper tours, you should look around once at the destination.

Although you can't prevent the unpredictable, nor can your holiday provider, you can surely minimize the damage and make it less stressful by preparing for the holiday.

Many would now say but I am paying so that I can only enjoy and not additionally prepare, think or act, which is true and should be, but in reality, customer satisfaction is not always met. 

Important notification about information and brand names used in this article!

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