An investigation in the UK showcases difference in brochure and online pricing
An investigation has found a difference of as much as ￡468 on the price of a two-week Majorcan holiday for two adults and one child booked online, rather than from a brochure. (1/9/2007)
An investigation by Holiday Which? uncovered huge varieties in the price of an identical package holiday offered by four of the UK’s leading travel companies. The four major players are Thomson, Airtours, First Choice and Thomas Cook.
“When brochures were compared there was almost ￡250 difference between the least and most expensive brochure price, based on the cost of a two-week holiday to Mallorca in late July for an adult couple with one child. But by booking online the overall price of the holiday was cheaper than the brochure in every case. Holiday Which? identified a saving of ￡468 by booking with Thomas Cook online, instead of using its JMC brochure,” reported local media in the UK. “Thomas Cook’s brochure cost was the most expensive (￡2,165), followed by First Choice (￡2,157). The MyTravel brand Airtours was the best value for money both in its brochure (￡1,917) and online (￡1,617.40) and was the only operator to offer free in-flight meals.”
As per the information available, the second cheapest quote for the holiday was offered by Skytours on its website (￡1,817). The low-cost Thomson company also had the cheapest flight supplement for the chosen departure airport on the specific date.
Holiday Which? said there were “costly extras” on the advertised brochure price. These ranged from flight supplements and paying for extra legroom or sitting together on a flight, to under-occupancy supplements.
Lorna Cowan, editor, Holiday Which?, said: “For people already looking through holiday brochures and thinking about their summer holiday, make sure you read the small print. Extra costs can make booking a package holiday an expensive option - we urge holidaymakers to check costs, compare prices and go online to the tour operators’ websites.”
David Marshall, the head of policy and communications at the Association of British Travel Agents, said: “The majority of package holiday deals are booked through ABTA members. Any potential confusion on pricing will be clarified before a client makes a booking.”
A spokesperson for Thomas Cook reportedly said: “Thomas Cook makes every effort to ensure that the prices in its brochures give a good indication to customers of the price of their holiday. However, as stated in the brochure conditions, holiday prices can go up or down as a result of changes in demand, market trends, flight availability and other factors. Brochure prices are a guideline only, as many brochures can be produced up to 18 months before the holiday departure date. To gain an accurate indication of holiday prices customers must always consult a travel agent or website.”