We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Paying More Doesn't Mean Your Getting a Better Deal!

Volterra, Italy
Level Contributor
1,025 posts
2 reviews
Save Topic
Paying More Doesn't Mean Your Getting a Better Deal!

Quite often I read on Tripadvisor the ridiculous prices that people pay to stay in a Villa, Agriturism, Apartment or whatever. Do people know that booking through the owners and not through the agencies, costs half the price? Do the agencies really know what they are giving their clients? What are all your thoughts on the question?

Wales, United...
Destination Expert
for Fuerteventura, Istria
Level Contributor
11,273 posts
78 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Paying More Doesn't Mean Your Getting a Better Deal!

I agree that if it is possible to book with the owners of the hotel instead of using an agency the cost is significantly cheaper. However, some times this is not possible. For example, If I want to fly from my local airport (Cardiff) to Italy there is only one weekly flight to Verona from May to October. As this is a charter flight you have to book with an agency (tour operator) instead of booking your flight and accommodation separately. I agree that you have to pay more this way, but if you want to visit Italy and fly on a direct flight from Cardiff this is the only option. Cardiff needs some new scheduled flights to Italy.

Volterra, Italy
Level Contributor
1,025 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Paying More Doesn't Mean Your Getting a Better Deal!

There are also flights from Cardiff to Rome between May and October for £164 with Altalia. Is that a good price?

Ciao

Chorley, United...
Destination Expert
for Venice
Level Contributor
18,499 posts
118 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Paying More Doesn't Mean Your Getting a Better Deal!

Sounds expensive compared with what I have to pay on Ryanair or Easyjet or Jet2com from Liverpool or Manchester to Italy where is is well under 100 pounds

Wales, United...
Destination Expert
for Fuerteventura, Istria
Level Contributor
11,273 posts
78 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Paying More Doesn't Mean Your Getting a Better Deal!

There are no direct flights from Cardiff to Rome. The Altalia flights are operated via Amsterdam as KLM and Altalia have a code sharing agreement. Considering the flight is operated by KLM £164 is actually quite a good price but it does not involve a lot of waiting around in Amsterdam. It is actually easier and cheaper to fly from Bristol to Rome with Easyjet or on a charter flight from Cardiff. With a charter flight you will be pay more for accommodation as Jilma mentioned but you will fly from Cardiff. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why some travellers are unable to book with the hotel direct because they want to fly from their local airport. I am sure this is very common as there lots of regional airports in the UK, not everyone lives close to the large airports such as Gatwick & Manchester.

Massachusetts
3 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Paying More Doesn't Mean Your Getting a Better Deal!

The villa we rented this past fall was high priced and we thought well worth it given the location, amentities and staff. The balanced billing for the hidden extras forces us to rent direct with villa owners in the future. I don't believe our local travel agency was paid much of a commission and the agent in Italy told us the price would be the same whether we used our travel agent or not. We are now inclined to say the villa rental agencies; at least the one we used are rip offs. I joined this site as a result of feeling ripped off by Best in Italy and plan to spend a lot of time voicing my opinion to prevent others from getting scammed.

London
Level Contributor
456 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: Paying More Doesn't Mean Your Getting a Better Deal!

Hi, I've been to Tuscany various tiem and the first two years I've booked directly with owners but had not good experiences, they promote their own villa and will say anything to sell it, an agency cost a bit more but they ahve a range of properties and also provide services.

I've used http://www.renttuscany.com and the past three years http://www.tuscanviews.com. They're both local agency and are very helpful.

Meggy

Surrey UK
Level Contributor
1,978 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Paying More Doesn't Mean Your Getting a Better Deal!

For a number of years now we have been booking large-ish villas in the South of France and Umbria, directly with the owners via www.ownersdirect.co.uk. We have been reasonably satisfied by the prices and quality.

This year we are going to Tuscany and had a great deal of difficulty finding a villa that ticks all our boxes and at a suitable price. Tuscany seems very expensive (probably Brit owners pushing up prices to pay off their mortgages as interest rates rise)

We ended up biting the bullet and booking through an agent www.tuscanynow.co.uk. We have not yet been so I will report back later. The price seems about 25% higher but the villa does look much better (at least from the brochure). It is not obvious to me whether the agents add a commission to the prices demanded by the owners or whether the agents quote a market price and the owners suffer the commission.

Booking directly with the owners obviously carries some risk. But the owner would have to be deliberately fraudulent for you to lose your money.

The problem with agents which only book villas (ie with no travel arrangements) is that they do not offer us any protection via government bonded schemes. Our money is not "ring fenced". The deposit money they collect today is used to pay tomorrow's office rent, salaries etc. So if they go bust we lose our money. This is "normal commercial practice" and I suspect we are more likely to lose our money by using small agents than booking direct with the owners.

Anyway, must keep positive. I will report back on this agent after October.

Charleston, South...
Level Contributor
592 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Paying More Doesn't Mean Your Getting a Better Deal!

We have also booked with Tuscanynow. We will be there in May/June, so I will report back to you afterwards. I was referred to the company by a friend who has booked with them before and has been very pleased.

California
Level Contributor
24 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Paying More Doesn't Mean Your Getting a Better Deal!

We are close to booking with TuscanyNow, has anyone had any experience with them? Good or bad? It's for a villa in Panzano...

Also, is that a good central location for exploring Tuscany? We plan to see Florence, San Gimignano, Siena, and of course the Chianti areas....any suggestions?

Grazie!

brussels
1 post
Save Reply
10. Re: Paying More Doesn't Mean Your Getting a Better Deal!

We just came back from a trip to Italy and had booked a house for 3 in tuscany through tuscanynow.com... I was a bit worried because I could'nt find any posts about this booking agency.. The house was perfect, better even than described in the brochure, the contracts were very clear and complete, contact with the owner was great. Will do it again!!! and again..!

Michael