Overall, this was a most enjoyable experience. However, it was not the best experience I've had with a travel agent. We used a Zicasso recommended company last fall had were extremely satisfied. This time right from the start, booking with this travel agency seemed to be a struggle. First I was told that I would have to provide a $200/person non-refundable deposit before details could be provided. I understand that agents can't work for free, but as a repeat Zicasso customer, this seemed to be a bit much. In the past, I have paid up front and the travel company then paid the various vendors. This time the agent took a check and my credit card and each vendor billed my cc individually. There were two of the properties that I had to pay upon checking out. It was almost impossible to reconcile the final "invoice" with the amounts paid. (It should be noted that my wife is an accountant and even she was confused with the billing process)I asked to be in 4 and 5 star properties. The first two were most acceptable, then the third property was a most disappointing surprise. It was very clean and had a very friendly staff, but the room was very small, noisy, and the bed sank to the floor. (it would have made Motel 6 look like a 4 star property.) I emailed our agency to express our disappointment and the reply was, "it rates well on Tripadvisor". The remaining properties we experienced were mostly adequate. All were very clean, but a couple were not in the best locations. Perhaps when the company told me just before we departed that this was a very complicated trip to plan, did not start us off with a lot of confidence.On a positive note, the tours arranged by this travel agency were all excellent and most enjoyable.I am sure this company is trying its best, but they don't seem detail oriented . This is not up to what I believe a Zicasso recommended company should provide in the way of service. I'm sorry, but I cannot recommend this agency.
WW II and cold war sights were most enlightning, even though depressing. Food (sausage, saurkraut, potatoes, bier, and desserts) outstanding. Talking with locals in Berlin pub a good experience. Most enjoyable Mozart concert and dinner in Salzburg. Mt. Pilatus a high point. (pun intended). Munich segway tour was a blast. Of course, Eurail travel was very impressive. Why can't the U.S. copy this mode of transportation?
Aside from using a different travel agency and doing better research on hotels, I would follow the same route.
Travel Company's Comments
Dear Mr. Perry K,
I want to first express our full gratitude for choosing us to undertake your most recent travel experience and I am glad that you felt that the trip was ‘over all, a most enjoyable experience’. I am however, distraught that we were unable to satisfy your trip requirements completely. We strive to make sure all ourclients receive our full attention from design to destination. We wanted to create the best trip possible, but seems we that you were unhappy with one of our hotel choices.
I do want to explain that the $200/person non-refundable deposit is common practice in our industry. Typically we do not ask for this unless we have provided one or two proposal’s without a commitment but more and more agencies these days ask for this before they even send the 1st draft. In your case I think it is fair to say that at least 5 or 6 drafts were presented before we requested this. The preparation of our proposals are very time consuming and we are not compensated at all unless you commit. The ‘plan to go fee’ is just a gesture of good will that you intend to move forward with our agency and is applied as a deposit towards the final cost.
The billing accrual process for a designed travel package is quite complicated as our trips are constructed using multiple vendors as opposed to using one company that would execute everything. This provides a way of ‘ cutting out the middle man’ hence providing our customers true value for money. We can process cards, however this incurs a 3.5% charge billed to the client! To avoid this charge, we try to encourage clients to pay in full by check or transfer. This would have been expressed to you. It was our understanding you wanted to pay by credit card only. We actually went the extra-mile on this request, and used your card to pay directly to the vendors, to avoid the 3.5% fee. It is almost impossible to predict the exchange rate on the payment day, leading to the confusion of all the various vendor charges. I want to reiterate, this is not our normal way of operating, but we were trying to accommodate your request, while saving you money. I am disappointed, and apologize we didn’t make this more clear to you.
I am extremely glad that the majority of hotels were ‘adequate’ to ‘most acceptable’ and all the tours we arranged were ‘all excellent and most enjoyable.’ We really take our designs seriously and want all clients to feel this way with everything we prepare. It is upsetting when a problem arises or a location is not a match to our clients taste. We always remain vigilant around the clock and ready for our clients that are on excursion, to fix any dissatisfaction or mishaps like rail strikes etc. Upon hearing about your dissatisfaction with one of the hotels, we jumped into action. We immediately called the location and arranged you to be moved to another room but you refused this gesture. We felt we did what we could to rectify this, but obviously fell short on this one particular location.
You claim that overall, we created ‘a most enjoyable experience,’ but the rating you gave I feel does not express that unfortunately.
Once again I want to convey our deepest apologies for anything you feel we could have executed better and wish you continued travel conquests.
Each review is written by a verified traveler who was matched by Zicasso to the reviewed agency. Traveler must have purchased and traveled.
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