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What do you make of this?

Charlotte, North...
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66 posts
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What do you make of this?

After much debate I decided to do a final check-in with Capt. Sundown via e-mail. Here's what I wrote and you can see the reply below it. I didn't think I came off offensive, but possibly she read it that way? I don't get why it matters who I book through and why she wouldn't answer my questions. Is this odd? Did I do something wrong? I did read somewhere that they might honor the price listed in UKG which is less than on their website, so I thought it was fine to ask the best way to book. See below to figure out what I mean.

Hi Folks,

My husband and I would love to do your morning tour on Monday, Oct. 6th. It's about a week away and I'm curious about how the weather might affect the sail.

First, will you still be sailing out of the north shore at this

"transition" time?

Second, we are both sailers and read that you actually do raise the sails during part of the trip. Is that still accurate at this time of year? We would love to get in a little sail time while we're there and like your boat especially because of this.

Third, what's the best way to book and is there availability on Monday, Oct. 6th? I see a site online for $157.72 through Hawaii Discount, but I also see your website as $173.74. Would it be best to book through the Hawaii Discount site for the price?

Thanks for your help. Hope I haven't been too much trouble!

Aloha nui,

If you choose to book through Hawaii Discount (although it looks as

though taxes are not included yet in his price as ours does), please

send this email to have him assist you with your questions. We provide

excellent customer service and the highest quality of Na Pali Tours on

Kauai and we would be happy to assist you if you want to book with us



Portia B.

_Captain Sundown Ent._

Na Pali Catamaran
Sightseeing Tours, Boat Tours, Dolphin & Whale Watching, Scuba & Snorkeling
Blue Dolphin Charters
Scuba & Snorkeling, Boat Tours, Eco Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Dolphin & Whale Watching
Kauai Sea Tours
Sightseeing Tours, Boat Tours, Water Sports, Dolphin & Whale Watching
Calgary, Canada
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1,134 posts
3 reviews
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1. Re: What do you make of this?

IMO they are two separate companies even though Hawaii Discount is booking tours for Captain Sundown. I think Captain Sundown felt if you booked through Hawaii Discount then HD could answer your questions. Maybe I'm wrong but that's the way I read it.

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638 posts
16 reviews
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2. Re: What do you make of this?

I don't necessarily see any problem with their response. While they could have answered your questions they may have simply been trying to convince you to book directly through them to get the answers you want. Booking through the third party site might cost them extra money and they may just feel uneasy about giving you all that info if they are going to make less money out of the deal should you book through the other seller (and subsequently maybe speak well of the 3rd party which others may use more frequently in the future rather than book directly through them). I think perhaps you should have maybe just asked your questions about the sail and left out the best way to book. I'm not sure there are many merchants out there who will suggest booking through a third party over them directly. With that said, maybe have someone else send a similar email to them (or send one to them from a different email address) - without askign about the best way to book - and see if you get a reply with answers. Otherwise, if the sail sounds as good to you as you think it will be, just book it through whoever you feel more comfortable with. Just get a confirmation number if you go with the third party, and follow up with Capt. Sundown directly before you leave for you trip to make sure they have your reservation in their system. Good luck, and have a wonderful trip.

Sylvania, Ohio
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1,826 posts
25 reviews
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3. Re: What do you make of this?

I think Portia was pretty rude. You were asking legitimate questions and all she did was tell you if you wanted to book with Hawaii Discount, they could answer your questions, which most likely they couldn't since it is spcific to Capt. Sundown. Does that mean they won't answer your questions unless you book directly with them???? Pretty bad if you ask me.

I'd book with someone else after that answer.

Destination Expert
for Maui
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22,434 posts
19 reviews
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4. Re: What do you make of this?

Really!? I saw nothing wrong with the response! I'm running a business, another business who is offering my services, for a cut rate price, should indeed answer questions if you am using them rather than the original business.

Sorry you didn't get the "matching" price you were going for!

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4,366 posts
22 reviews
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5. Re: What do you make of this?

I thought the response was a tad rude also but some people are just more abrupt than others when it comes to giving out information. I think it was totally uncool of them not to answer any of your questions but then Portia may have thought it uncool for you to ask about getting a discounted price.

I would call the discount company to ask if taxes are included in the price and see if they can answer your questions about sailing and weather conditions during this time of year. You might also call Portia to ask your questions and see if she(?) might be more forthcoming over the phone. Sometimes an email doesn't convey a person's emotions very well.

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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38,559 posts
4 reviews
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6. Re: What do you make of this?

my take on it is that yes, they were put off by you asking for the full service without paying the full price.

I know you didn't mean to be rude.

My opinion about UKG's advice or any advice by Andy Doughty is that since he is IMHO one of the biggest jerks you could wish for, following his tips may indeed turn out to be a faux pas.

Obviously they get considerably less money if you go through the discount service. Not only the price difference but whatever the service makes in commission. For the discount price you get the boat trip but not Captain Sundown's Customer Service.

She's probably curt about it because it happens a lot.

Maybe an analogy would help:

You sit down at a restaurant table and you get a server, who you will tip. But you ask another server from a different section to get you stuff and answer questions while she's waiting on other people, even though you aren't tipping her.

That is not at all an exact analogy, but the response might be the same -- i.e., why don't you ask your own server?

Honestly, I have written queries to boat tour companies before, and I would not ask them to email me answers and at the same time suggest I'm not going with them directly.

Ultimately I may not book with them but I'm not going to say so in an email.

What you might have asked instead of who should I book with is "do you ever consider matching the price of Hawai'i Discount" if I go through you.

I'd ask that AFTER I got my answers about the tour.

Oh well, live and learn.

Why don't you just write back and say you really do want to book directly and not with some discounter, and sorry if you offended them by mentioning the other people. Maybe she'll turn it around.

I don't care for activity discounters, and I think a lot of operators don't like them either.

Moorpark, California
Destination Expert
for Kauai, Catalina Island
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14,658 posts
57 reviews
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7. Re: What do you make of this?

The point of a company using a third party to book their trips is that that company will answer your questions. Captain Andy's is most likely giving this booking company a substance booking fee and in exchange for that, that company should take care of the customer's questions, etc. In our business, we do this all of the time! If we give someone a finder's fee and we have to do all of the work to answer questions and make the booking, they get a much less percentage than those that do all of the leg work and just send us the purchase order. Answering questions, providing quotes, etc. actually costs the vendor a lot of money and when you go into deals with other companies to find your business, you expect them to do their part. The response from Captain Andy's is just fine. She wanted you to go back to the booking company, who is getting paid to answer your questions, to answer your questions. Makes sense to me!

Moorpark, California
Destination Expert
for Kauai, Catalina Island
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57 reviews
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8. Re: What do you make of this?

p.s. Captain Andy's is an excellent company. We have booked directly through them several times and have loved every cruise.

Kauai, Hawaii
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754 posts
4 reviews
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9. Re: What do you make of this?

I think it would be difficult for Portia to write you back in regards to the pricing question. Obviously the company wants you to book them period, and on top of that wants you to book directly. So it would be difficult perhaps for her to encourage you to book directly..ya know? I work at a hotel and we get more money when you book directly. On top of that, you get better service if you book directly- if you book through a wholesaler, such as Expedia or Pleasant Hawaiian, we have to call the wholesaler to work out any kinks you may have, especially billing issues. A lot of times I probably come off as unconcerned, when in fact the support I can provide to wholesaler guests is somewhat limited. Obviously I would prefer if you'd stay at my property and book through expedia, than stay elsewhere, and when the price is lower through these wholesalers, it is nearly impossible to prove the benefits of paying more, ya know? Hope that makes sense.

Regardless, Portia could have addressed your other questions about the weather and sails...

Kauai, Hawaii
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8,506 posts
9 reviews
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10. Re: What do you make of this?

We have booked many, many activities on Kauai,for 12 years of visits, and generally thru an activity desk with highly experienced reps.

Or called on the phone, and talked directly to the particular activity, and gave them the credit card.

If you book thru a discount place, the activity pays them a commission.

Your questions were all reasonable, but if you do call and go direct, as they suggest, life might be a bit easier,and you will get the straight inside scoops.

Pretty simple for the math. You get a discount for a whole $ 20.00, and then the boat tour company has to pay the discount hawaii people their cut.

We never haggled over discounts, we asked how much, and paid the price. But, we also got exact information as to what the activity provided, what we needed to bring, and the cancellation policies.

As an activity sales rep for two different companies after working here, we provided all that info to the guest, and in writing, and they signed their vouchers.

If it was in person, which was about 95% of the time, we also helped them with additional tips, that could come in very handy. I had actually been on most of the activities that people booked, or I would phone get the info for the guest.

Anyway, as "visitors", we found our favorite knowledgeable activity person, or picked up the phone and talked with the activity direct.

Life was easy.