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Tour Operator Reviews


#1

I hope I’m not out of line here, and I don’t know if it’s been done before on the forum site or the Resort Review site, but I think a “Tour Operator Review” would be exceptionally helpful to all the people who frequent this board.

I know I would have liked to have been able to access those reviews for our upcoming trip!


#2

The tour operator is pretty far up the line, above the hotel and whatever travel agent you use to book your trip.
It’s also not East Coast related, so I’m going to move it to the QQQ forum and we’ll see what happens.


#3

Are you talking about tour operators in the DR. like the Outback or are you referring to TO such as Transat Holidays, ans Signature?


#4

I’m refering to companies such as Sunquest, Transat, Sunwing, etc.

There are reviews of resorts, I’d like to be able to see people’s experiences with the Tour Operators themselves.

Currently it seems like a lot of people are having trouble with Sunwing. If I had known that they had problems before I booked our upcoming trip I would have stayed clear of them. The same as when I read a string of poor reviews on a resort, I would look for another resort.


#5

In most cases, the only contact you will have with your “Tour Company” will be your rep onsite at the hotel.
Unfortunately, in an effort to even out the loading on planes, buses and hotels, they have to juggle their schedules. Some juggle more than the others.


#6

You could also get many different reviews about an Operator such as one person would love to fly with Transat Holidays to a certain resort and the very same date and resort another person might hate it. If you read all the reviews in that section of the board you will see what I mean. So many different views and so many opinions


#7

Well, there seems to be one underlying theme with Sunwing, and that’s avoid them.

I only came to that conclusion after searching specifically for Sunwing in all forums and them reading back.

Do a search and look for one positive item about them.

I understand there would be many different opinions about Tour Operators, as there are about resorts. That’s where research comes into play. I just thought that a resource, such as this one, would be helpful if there was a dedicated forum just dealing with the Tour Operators, or maybe a forum such as “Reviews - TO’s, TA’s and Airlines”.

I know I would personally have some views with my experiences with all of the above. I should say that 95% of my reviews would be favourable.

“Some juggle more than others” - it would be nice to know who the “some” was when arranging a trip.

Again, with all the valuable information on these forums and the review site, I just thought a readily available resource of traveller’s experiences regarding specifically TO’s TA’s and Airlines would be helpful.

It was just a thought.


#8

#9

We have travelled with most of them and it really does depend on the Rep you have at the resort as to your overall impression of the Tour Company. To me they’re all pretty much the same. The only one we would use as a last resort is Conquest! As with resorts it also would depend on whether or not it’s your first trip. Once you’ve done the DR vacation routine a few times you really don’t pay much attention to your rep anyway, unless you run into problems.


#10

I (accidentally) missed my rep’s pitch at the beginning of my last trip and didn’t see him again until the airport when I was leaving. I don’t rely on the rep but I do rely on the airline and I have always been able to count on Air Canada as my carrier of choice. I’ve not had a change to scheduled flights and they ensure that you get from your home town to your connection, be it in Toronto or Calgary or wherever, to your resort at the times that you originally book. I would find it difficult to fly with a company that didn’t offer me the same reliable curb to curb service. There may be another reliable company out there, but if my situation isn’t flawed I’m not looking for a change!


#11

[quote author=capercanuck board=general thread=1132675454 post=1132681720]Well, there seems to be one underlying theme with Sunwing, and that’s avoid them.

I only came to that conclusion after searching specifically for Sunwing in all forums and them reading back.

Do a search and look for one positive item about them.

I understand there would be many different opinions about Tour Operators, as there are about resorts. That’s where research comes into play. I just thought that a resource, such as this one, would be helpful if there was a dedicated forum just dealing with the Tour Operators, or maybe a forum such as “Reviews - TO’s, TA’s and Airlines”.

I know I would personally have some views with my experiences with all of the above. I should say that 95% of my reviews would be favourable.

"Some juggle more than others" - it would be nice to know who the "some" was when arranging a trip.

Again, with all the valuable information on these forums and the review site, I just thought a readily available resource of traveler’s experiences regarding specifically TO’s TA’s and Airlines would be helpful.

It was just a thought.
[/quote]

I don’t think capercanuck is out of line, in fact, I agree wholeheartedly.

When I booked my Majestic Colonial vacation, I asked the travel agent about Sunwing…unfortunately, after I booked. She was non-commital…which I took to mean she would rather say nothing, than say something bad.

Then she said something to the effect…"their all ok…but what separates the wheat from the chaff is how they deal with you if something goes wrong…

just my 2 pesos… :-X


#12

I agree with Kaki about Conquest. We were originally supposed to go to the Mayan Riviera with Conquest, but the hurricane changed that. They were very slow compared to the other tour operators in letting us know what was going on. They finally said they’d give us a refund, which I’m happy about, but it took them 3 weeks to physically do it and only after my TA called them twice. I don’t think their customer service is as good as Air Transat. We flew with Air Transat last year and we’ve rebooked through them for this trip. I don’t think I’d use Conquest again, unless there was no other choice.

2 more sleeps until I’m in the DR :smiley:


#13

I’ve got to play the devil’s advocate for Conquest. They had people stuck on the ground in the hurricane zone. They obviously got priority …


#14

We have travelled thru Sunquest and the rep we met at the hotel (Carol in Dec. 04) was absolutely wonderful. She really enjoyed her job, her home in Sousa and the people. Am hoping we will run into her on our upcoming trip. She is originally from France, but was hoping to get a posting in BC-Whistler. Do not think we even saw a rep in Cuba. Think this could be a great idea for a forum but could be a lot of bashing.


#15

I think capercanuck’s suggestion is a good one.

Although the tour operator is pretty far up the line, when you return from vacation and have a problem/disappointment that you want to bring to someone’s attention, your travel agent adopts a hands-off approach and refers your complaint to the tour operator.

When we complained to a tour operator a few years ago, we received a very non-customer friendly form letter reply. They ignored most of our concerns and the ones they did address were responded to very poorly i.[/i]


#16

The comment from a tour operator about “not operating the resort so having no control over what happens” is just not acceptable. They are the ones who buy the rooms in bulk. They may not be able to fix something “after the fact”, but they bear ultimate reponsibility in making things “right”. The traveller does need to be realsitic in their demands.

They should be reported to the provincial body governing travel, such as TICO in Ontario.

Tom


#17

We’ve got the same ‘blow off’ form letter as well. It’s true that they have very little control over the resort, but they do make note of that issue. If the problem is common and they get enough complaints, they will be talking to the resort about it. Generally, if they don’t get some resolution, they will drop that resort from their offerings. That generally gets the resorts attention! If it’s an isolated case, well …
That said, the time to make a complaint is directly to the on site rep, in writing if necessary, and not after you get home. There’s not much they can do after the fact. And if you are looking for financial compensation, it virtually never happens, the emphasis being on the word virtually.


#18

With regards to Sunwing not being a good tour operator…I think it depends on each person’s experience. Last Christmas our family went thru Sunwing to Cuba and were in a hotel with little or no water due to draught conditions. The tour operators were assured by the affected hotels that all was well and there were no problems. The day after we left for home, the hotel was shut down due to unhygienic conditions. Six weeks after our holiday, Sunwing sent us a letter of apology and a full refund of our holiday (less taxes). All the other tour operators, to my knowledge, offered a paltry 50 - 200 per adult in compensation. I will only travel with Sunwing now.


#19

When we travelled with Sunwing last Jan to PUJ we booked with them as they offered 3 to 51 day trips. We booked 11 nights at the Fiesta Resort (now the Palladium Punta Cana) we were to have an early morning flight leaving on a Wednesday and returning on a Saturday in the evening, after a few weeks I was checking on line and noticed our flight times where changed leaving Toronto at 4pm and returning on the Saturday morning ( Sunwing did not inform our TA I did!!!) so we would lose 2 full days of our 11 day vacation. I told them and our TA (our TA fought for us) that is why we booked these dates was because of the flight times!!! After much arguing between the TA and Sunwing, Sunwing said they would give us the extra day and we could return home on the Sunday but it cost us an extra $50 so we took it as we didn’t want to lose any of our vacation time. Once at the resort we saw a rep on the first morning who told us how dangerous the DR is and not to leave the resort (we have travelled to the DR at least 25 times now) we had to reassure the other couple that also travelled with Sunwing not to listen to him as we have always been and felt safe when leaving the resort. He was fired the next day (we did not have anything to do with that). Then we never saw a rep again, we had to book our day trip to Saona with the Air Transat rep!!! I was emailing home and decided to email my TA and tell her what was going on, on the way back to the lobby I noticed a girl in an orange shirt and behold it was a rep from Sunwing…(my TA called Sunwing and informed them of what was going on) she was looking for me to apoligize for not being of service and to say her number was in the book in the lobby if we needed someone, guess what ?? we had the hotel call for us and the number was out of service!!! We did not see her again until the airport on the way home and she said that she had been busy as she had family visiting her that week! She did refund our money that we paid for the trip to Saona as a courtesy to us and the other couple that we had met. When we arrived home I did send Sunwing a letter saying how we were very disappointed with them as a TO. Four weeks later we did recieve a letter and a voucher for future travel for $100 each (which we used to go to Cuba in Sept). So it does help to complain if you are not getting would they said you would…can’t hurt to try…


#20

[quote author=ottawatom board=general thread=1132675454 post=1132833676]The comment from a tour operator about "not operating the resort so having no control over what happens" is just not acceptable. They are the ones who buy the rooms in bulk. They may not be able to fix something "after the fact", but they bear ultimate reponsibility in making things "right". The traveller does need to be realsitic in their demands.

They should be reported to the provincial body governing travel, such as TICO in Ontario.

Tom[/quote]
I hear ya, Tom. At the time we still booked with our T/A and entrusted our complaint with her. When the tour operator told us we were S.O.L., we didn’t realize TICO existed. I’m older and wiser now though. :wink: ;D