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National Park Reservations (be careful)

Mobile AL
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309 posts
13 reviews
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National Park Reservations (be careful)

If you are booking reservations with this company be aware they charge a 10% fee for booking. I would look at the national park's government website for official concessioners before booking. NPR will keep the %10 fee even if you cancel. I could have saved some money if I had looked a little more closely at the web site. It does however look very official and if you don't read the reservation policy, you miss the additional fee information. I hope this warning will save others from paying additional funds. For further information on the company check out the national BBB

Marina, California
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for Tucson
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1. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

National Park lodging is generally (at the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce, at least) handled through Xanterra. If you're using a third-party to book, you should expect an extra fee, because they otherwise wouldn't make any money off the transaction. National Park lodging is also, at times, extremely hard to get, especially during peak season (you'll find a lot of posts on here about it), so if this service reserved room blocks in advance and then sold them off to people later, then I would think that this would be worth the extra money.

http://xanterra.com

Mobile AL
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309 posts
13 reviews
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2. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

In this case we were booking for Glacier, but I have since explored the site futher after realizing I was not at the site for the official concessioner. I noticed they make reservations for many national parks. In my case I know I could have made the reservation directly with the official park concessioner and had the same accomodations less the 10% fee. It is possible to end up at this site accidently when using google for the search. In my case I did not go to the welcome page first missing the terms.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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3. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

My recommendation is almost always to go thru the NPS website (www.nps.gov). They always provide information and links to their concessionaires' websites.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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4. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

Xanterra is the contract agent for almost all of the NP lodging in the southwest. The agent mentioned in the OP does a lot of booking with visitors from overseas. They do charge a non refundable 10% fee. It's worth it to call Xanterra from abroad. Their policies are much better.

Adirondack, New York
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3,934 posts
90 reviews
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5. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

While making any reservation and anywhere ALWAYS read very carefully cancellation policy. We all need to read cancellation policies regardless if we make reservation through a third party or directly with nps.gov. or Xanterra. I'm glad you stated you didn't look more closely at the website. I just checked this website, www.nationalparkreservations.com and I didn't see anything surprising.

As you open the company's, National Park Reservations, website you can read <<For this service National Park Reservations charges a 10% non-refundable reservation fee based on the total dollar amount of reservation made. This reservation fee will be billed separately to your credit card and will be billed under the memo "National Park Reservations." By using National Park Reservations the customer authorizes National Park Reservations to charge their card the 10% non-refundable fee.>>

I feel bad you had to cancel your reservations and lost some money but as consumers you and all of us need to take some responsibilities too. In this case National Park Reservations company is not to be blamed.

Seattle
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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6. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

The problem is that if you get to the website by a Google search for "Glacier National Park reservations", as I suspect speteeachmr did, you by pass the opening page with that information. You go directly to a page with the accommodations listings. The information about the 10% fee is nowhere to be found on that page. If you then go to make a reservation on the booking form,the fee is mentioned at the very bottom of the page, but nowhere do they advise that one can make the same reservations directly with the concessionaire, without the booking fee. People who are not aware of that go ahead and book with NPR and pay the fee.

7. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

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Adirondack, New York
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3,934 posts
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8. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

just googled under glacier national park reservation and once I got to www.nationalparkreservations.com website and then to reservation page I'm reading

<<This Form is a reservation request. It should not be used to check availability. To check availability, call 1-866-875-8456. Upon completion of the reservation process, your credit card will be billed the 10% non-refundable reservation fee based on the total dollar amount of reservations made & may be charged a room deposit depending on the lodging facility's policy. You should click on the hyperlink "terms" below to review our entire policy. National Park Reservations is not a concessionaire and is not affiliated with the National Park Service Branch of the Federal Government.>>

Sometimes it is hard to admit mistakes we make.

Enzian, I always respect your opinion and see your point of nowhere on this website information about booking for free but after all this is a business and I don't think any business is going to say to not book with them and instead use another company or book directly with lodging without any fee. Thankfully OP spent only $50.00 for booking and the next time she/he is ready to book she/he will review very closely every piece of information regarding cancellation policy.

Seattle
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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8,866 posts
69 reviews
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9. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

Places----you are correct that the fee is disclosed on the booking form, which everyone should read fully before making the reservation. But the website as a whole is likely to mislead first-timers, particularly foreign visitors, into thinking this is the right way to make reservations in the national parks.

Fortunately, the "regulars" and DE's on the different national park discussion boards are diligent about posting the correct website for reserving lodging inside the parks, such as www.grandcanyonlodging.com for Grand Canyon South Rim, Forever Resorts for the North Rim, Yosemitepark.com for Yosemite, Glacier Park Inc, for Glacier, etc.

If people would just consult TA first, they wouldn't have this problem!

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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7,419 posts
14 reviews
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10. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

>> but as consumers you and all of us need to take some responsibilities too. In this case National Park Reservations company is not to be blamed.

>> Sometimes it is hard to admit mistakes we make.

Places, to be fair to the OP, I didn't get the impression that he/she was trying to "blame" NPR at all. In fact, my understanding was that his/her intent was to give everyone a heads up in order to avoid making the mistakes he/she made.

While NPR's fees and reservation policies may not be surprising to you, frankly, I think it's very unusual in today's travel market. All of the online agents/sites I'm aware of do NOT charge a reservations fee. Instead, they rely on commissions paid by the properties, not the guest. Although I don't believe Xanterra (the concessionaire for GC South Rim) offers any commisionable rates (notice South Rim properties aren't offered by NPR or any other site), other National Park properties do. I was surprised to see Yosemite NP accomodations on Expedia the other day. (No fee charged by Expedia to book or to cancel beyond what the property itself charges.)

I also find it interesting that you've systematically posted in all of the forums the OP posted his/her "warning" with the same counter response.