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How to Choose a Good Tour Operator

There are many tour companies that provide a wide variety of service inclusions at varying price ranges. And like any major purchase you make, you have to do a bit of research before deciding which one to trust for your next epic trip. After all, not all of your options are created equal.

So what do you need to consider when looking for a tour operator?

Experience

New operators are bold and exciting, but they may not have the experience required to provide the complete package. If you don’t want to be part of an experiment, choose an operator that has been around for at least five years. After all, the industry is very competitive, and they won’t last that long if they weren’t on top of their game.

Client References, Personal Referrals and Online Reviews

Ask your prospect for a few names and contact details of past guests. Better yet, ask your relatives, friends and colleagues about any tour companies they may have booked before and what their experiences were like. If you have a prospect that was not recommended by anyone, look them up online and pay particular attention to reviews. As long as you stick to popular consumer websites like Yelp and Angie’s List, those reviews can be very helpful.

Financial Security

Whether you’re paying this company a small or big amount, your money should be safe. Can they provide insurance, bonding or bank references? A reputable company will give you straight answers when you ask about these things. If the operator you’re considering is giving you the roundabout, that should raise a red flag. Move on to the next company on your list.

Customer Service

Try calling the company and asking a few questions. If they are professional, friendly and accommodating, that’s a good sign. Otherwise, you might not want to proceed further. Remember, you’ll never know when you’ll need them for something related to your trip, whether before, during or after. At least, you’ll want them to be nice enough to listen and provide a solution to any issues you may have.

Surprise Extras

You don’t want to ruin your trip with unwanted expenses. Make sure you know what exactly is included in the package before signing up. “Optionals” can easily inflate your costs, so be sure you’re not paying for anything that was never in your plan.

Accreditation and Business Organisations

Accreditation and trade memberships do not guarantee that a tour operator is good, but they do indicate that the company has been thoroughly vetted by industry experts according to the highest standards. If you had to choose between two companies that both enjoy great reviews, go for the one with accreditation and trade memberships for added security.

It’s tempting to go with the first tour company that catches your eye, but always explore other options before making a decision. Take time to consider at least two or three options and make comparisons. This is how you know which one is really the best for you.

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