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Old 09-18-2007, 04:27 PM   #1
SYOTABUCS
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Should your LDS's dive trip be a better price than you can put together for yourself?

We really like our LDS and have met a lot of nice folks. We bought our BC's, Reg's and computer from them as well. (And they did figure out a way to improve on the normal retail price) (We were able to use a mysterious "CREDIT" we had on our account And also got a 10% discount by joining the dive team) We used the 10% discount on all training and purchases.

They have a social 3-4 times a year where you can meet other local divers and talk about diving stuff. Us being newbies we wanted to get some info on places to go.

BUT. the prices they list for their trips seem very high compared to what I could book the same trip. I know they are probably getting a person or 2 for free but as much as we would like to go with them we can take 3 similar trips a year for what they want for 2. Is this the norm? We were in the other day and were ask why we had not signed up for any of the trips and I ask her if she wanted me to be honest? So I told her as nice as I could that their prices were to high. So is it normal to pay an extra 400-500 pp for LDS planned trips vs. what you can book the same trip.

Not bashing them just wondering. They have treated us great otherwise.

Last edited by SYOTABUCS : 09-18-2007 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 09-18-2007, 05:12 PM   #2
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You'd think so but I've always found it cheaper to do it myself.

A lot of resorts/liveaboards comp a diveop at between 10-16 paid reservations. One of my lds's says this isn't true but I called the same boat that they booked and was told that I'd be free if I filled 12 slots on the boat. I even had a dive travel agent (Aquadreams) offer me the comp if I had my friends all book thru them.

We prefer to book ourselves. Diveop sponsored trips are for those who don't have the time, ability or resources to find their own deals - or would like someone to go to locally if there's problems during the trip. I've found the best deals by booking direct via the airline web sites and contacting the resorts/diveops via phone or e-mail/website. In one case, we were upgraded to a premium condo after I called the condo rental agency, the upgrade wasn't on their booking web page.

I've read that smaller LDS's resell packages from travel consolidators with an add-on. So you might expect those to be a little higher. But we have two local LDS's with dedicated dive travel agencies on-site. We did sort of an easy trip last year so I gave them both all the details, even specific to the resorts we were interested in, and asked them for a quote. Neither came back within $400pp of what I did with a little web searching and $10 in overseas phone calls.

Last edited by diversteve : 09-18-2007 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 09-18-2007, 05:43 PM   #3
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I'll tell you the main problem from the shop perspective. The travel agency screws us... pretty much as dive shop owners.

If we want to block out a group of 16 or so, they have us put down huge deposits way in advance. And so often, your trip doesn't fill up like you planned and you get nailed with cancellation costs for the empty seats. Then, so many more times than I want to count, I've paid $895 for a trip for 16 people, and a week before the trip goes, the airline has a bunch of empty seats, the hotel is half empty, and they advertise the same trip I paid $895 for, and they drop it to $675 to try to recoup some of the lost revenue that an empty plane would be.

It really is just not worth it. We certify more divers than any other shop in the area. We sell more gear to more people than anyone else within 1000's of miles... and we do about 1 trip a year. It's just too much hassle, and I feel I'm doing my customers an injustice because you are right, you can book it yourself and save 2 or 3 hundred bucks by finding a special. And trust me, it ain't worth diving with Joe for 200 bucks!!
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Old 09-18-2007, 05:50 PM   #4
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I got meet poor Joe. He really gets picked on!
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Old 09-18-2007, 06:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ScubaToys Larry View Post
I'll tell you the main problem from the shop perspective. The travel agency screws us... pretty much as dive shop owners.
First, I'm sorry for the less than stellar service you have received from the travel agency industry. Your experiences would sour anybody.

As the manager of a travel agency, I can tell you, it is NOT the travel agency that causes the problems you cite below. Rather, it is the vendors.

Quote:
If we want to block out a group of 16 or so, they have us put down huge deposits way in advance.
It is NOT the agency, but the travel product vendors that require the deposits early. For instance, the cruise lines want deposits within two weeks. Sometimes the amount is small, if the trip is six months out. Another reason we (the agency) look for these larger deposits is to quickly qualify the prospects. That is, a client may put down $25 now, but back-out six months from now when the final payment is due. If I ask for $100 now, the non-committed traveler is more likely not to book.
Quote:
And so often, your trip doesn't fill up like you planned and you get nailed with cancellation costs for the empty seats.
The vendor, again. If you cancel before the final payment date, you get all your deposit money back.

Quote:
Then, so many more times than I want to count, I've paid $895 for a trip for 16 people, and a week before the trip goes, the airline has a bunch of empty seats, the hotel is half empty, and they advertise the same trip I paid $895 for, and they drop it to $675 to try to recoup some of the lost revenue that an empty plane would be.
Often, the tavel agent can re-negotiate the price or have additional amenties thrown in. I've done so for my clients. Given that I work for the largest travel agency in the world, we have some clout (like ScubaToys has in the scuba industry.
Quote:
And trust me, it ain't worth diving with Joe for 200 bucks!!


I recently spoke to Joe about how much ScubaToys was making from the cruise in Feb 2008. He answered zilch. I discussed with him how ST can make money from these cruises, earn money for a favorite charity, and still offer a price less than the traveller can find on-line or by calling the cruise line directly. As I said, clout.

Larry, please don't give-up on travel agencies yet. As a diver myself, I'm looking out for what divers want and/or need.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:04 PM   #6
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OK, understanding is a little better.

Maybe I should just book on my own to meet up with the folks from the LDS at their destination. And then buy a round of drinks with the money I saved.

So rick, why not try to put together a trip on this forum?
Sorta like a group buy.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaToys Larry View Post
I'll tell you the main problem from the shop perspective. The travel agency screws us... pretty much as dive shop owners.

If we want to block out a group of 16 or so, they have us put down huge deposits way in advance. And so often, your trip doesn't fill up like you planned and you get nailed with cancellation costs for the empty seats. Then, so many more times than I want to count, I've paid $895 for a trip for 16 people, and a week before the trip goes, the airline has a bunch of empty seats, the hotel is half empty, and they advertise the same trip I paid $895 for, and they drop it to $675 to try to recoup some of the lost revenue that an empty plane would be.

It really is just not worth it. We certify more divers than any other shop in the area. We sell more gear to more people than anyone else within 1000's of miles... and we do about 1 trip a year. It's just too much hassle, and I feel I'm doing my customers an injustice because you are right, you can book it yourself and save 2 or 3 hundred bucks by finding a special. And trust me, it ain't worth diving with Joe for 200 bucks!!
What You mean Joe can dive...Are you sure? I heard that was a rumor so he could fit in at the shop. Let's see if he get's in the water at CSSP this Sunday!
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:53 PM   #8
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I don't think it should always be cheaper b/c you get to go with a group of people you know.
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:06 PM   #9
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Sometimes it's worth traveling with your LDS even if it does cost a little more (key word is little). I don't know about the rest of you but there are times I feel uncomfortable traveling to new places. Let's face some of the best dive spots are remote and may not always be terribly safe. Not to mention that some dive operations may be a little dodgy as well. Going with a large group gives me a little extra security. One thing is for sure, the boat won't leave you when there are a bunch of friends on it.

I guess for me I like to explore new places with the safety of a group. Once I've been there and feel comfortable, then I often return on my own.
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:16 PM   #10
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I wouldn't mind paying little more for the LDS to book the trip. Think about it, you pay and relax. No problems to deal with just shut up and dive. Now if I can take 3 trips instead of 2..sorry man I'm going for three.
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