January 19th 2015
Once you’ve decided to come to Israel with an organized tour, a quick search on the Internet will reveal lots of companies selling tour packages. What you may not realize is that not all sellers are the same. Most companies that market tours to audiences overseas are not actually operating the tours – they’re simply resellers. Buying directly from an Israel-based tour operator, on the other hand, offers you three significant benefits over buying a packaged tour through a reseller.
Intimate Familiarity with Tour Details
A local tour operator is actually the one on the ground in Israel delivering the goods. When a local tour operator tells you something about what’s being offered, you know they aren’t making any assumptions about how things work, and you know their own reputation is on the line. Before you book, ask each seller, “What’s your relationship to the people who will actually lead the tour?”
Local tour operators are one-stop shops. They can’t pass the buck if a complaint comes in, because they are both selling the tour package and delivering it. So when you buy a tour package from a local operator instead of someone who is just going to sell your reservation to someone else, you know you’re going to get good service the whole time. They are accountable for every detail, from the time you ask your first pre-purchase questions until your flight back home. Before you book, ask each seller, “Who do I contact if there’s a problem or an issue I need resolved on the ground?”
No Agent Markups
When you buy directly from the company that is handling fulfillment of your tour, there’s no need for them to pad the pricing. If you’ve booked a flight on Delta, El Al, United or Continental with a travel agent recently, you’ll see that there will be two charges – one for the fare and the other for the agent fee. The days of airlines paying travel agents are over. Now the consumer pays the agent for services provided. Obviously, the more hands that are in the pot, the more commissions have to be paid. When you deal with a reseller, everyone involved will charge a fee. When you book with an Israel-based tour operator, there are fewer middlemen, because everything is handled though one company. Before you book, ask each seller, “How many different tour companies will make money if I book with you?”
It’s important to shop around when you’re making a significant purchase like a trip to Israel. The better you understand the differences among tour providers, the better informed your decision will be.