I love Groupon as much as the next person. I check both Groupon and Living Social regularly for deals on events, spa treatments and other goodies. Travel suppliers are also jumping on the Groupon band wagon and I see self-proclaimed deals published daily.
Now sometimes these deals are legit, especially if the offer is directly from a hotel near you. But I caution you to do your due diligence before purchasing any type of package through these sites. Look beyond the sticker price to what is actually included, when you’re expected to travel and the type of accommodations offered.
I recently saw a promotion for a 16 day/15 night Grand 7 City European vacation on Groupon advertised for $2299 per person (based on double occupancy). I don’t know how long the link will be active so here is the screen shot:
This includes air from NYC, your internal train/flights and hotel accommodations. On the surface this sounds pretty good even if you have to travel in the dead of winter to get this price. But I can actually do better. For comparison purposes I’m using their same January 11-27, 2016 travel dates. I’ve also used all 4* accommodations vs. their mix of 3-4*
- Round-trip airfare from New York
- 2 nights standard accommodations in London at Hilton Olympic (4*)
- Train from London to Paris
- 2 nights standard accommodations in Paris at Sofitel La Defense (4*)
- Second class rail from Paris to Brussels
- 2 nights standard accommodations in Brussels at NH Grand Place Arenberg (4*)
- Second class rail from Brussels to Munich
- 2 nights standard accommodations in Munich at Angelo Hotel (4*)
- Economy class flight from Munich to Florence
- 3 nights standard accommodations in Florence at Hotel Cellai (4*)
- Second class rail from Florence to Rome
- 2 nights standard accommodations in Rome at Hotel Ponte Sisto (4*)
- Economy class flight from Rome to Barcelona
- 2 nights standard accommodations in Barcelona at BW Hotel Premier Dante (4*)
- Daily breakfast
From $1,899USD per person based on double occupancy
Optional activities like hop on/off bus tours, skip the line admission tickets to museums and galleries, cooking class etc. are available. Additional charges for baggage and seat assignments apply just like the Groupon deal as well as the local city bed tax which ranges from 3-7 euros per person, per night additional. Transportation between airports can also be added.
Plus, you have the added benefit of a trip that logistically makes more sense with the adjustment of flights/trains between London – Paris and Munich – Florence.
Now I know this supplier had to pad their cost a bit because they pay a ridiculous commission cut to Groupon on any packages sold through the site, plus there is a chance the noted hotel is not available so they’ll have to use another hotel (note the “or similar) that might be more expensive. But wouldn’t you rather have that conversation with your travel agent who can provide a range of options that might work better for you in the long run?
I often get told that travel agents cost more money. Not so my friend. Chances are if you found a better “deal” online, we’re not comparing the same trip components. So whether you work with me (you should you know) or another agent, don’t be afraid to ask questions or tell them if you saw something different online! We’re online all day long scoping out the best deals and comparing offers with our wide network of trusted suppliers. We want you to get the overall best value for your holiday while saving you both time and money! On the rare occasion there is a truly better rate online we can almost always match and you still can benefit from personal travel planning.
I need to work on my boxing lingo but I’m pretty sure I just knocked Groupon out!