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Do you get cost breakdown detail on tour operator quotes?

Atlanta, Georgia
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Do you get cost breakdown detail on tour operator quotes?

It is usually recommended on here to get quotes from more than one tour operator when planning a safari. When asking several tour companies to quote on a specific safari, do you normally get just one figure, the grand total, as the quote? Is it OK to ask the tour company to provide a detailed cost break down such as how many $'s for each camp, each transfer, each pre or post hotel night,etc.? Is this amount of detail normally requested and do the tour operators willingly supply it?

I am not talking about a detailed itinerary, of course you have to have that, I am talking about the details of the cost which the operator has to have to add up to get the total cost.

Thanks,

Jim

Philadelphia...
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1. Re: Do you get cost breakdown detail on tour operator quotes?

Not in my experience. They like to keep their profit hidden so you can't negotiate it!

Cologne, Germany
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2. Re: Do you get cost breakdown detail on tour operator quotes?

I'm no expert on it but I don't think it's common to get such a detailed overview, at least I've never heard of it...what you can, however, ask are questions like "what will the price difference be if we take lodge B instead of lodge A", "how much more would it cost if we stayed one day longer in lodge C", etc...

what you can also day if compare prices of different companies and then ask company 1 why they are more expensive than compan 2, etc

Isle of Man, United...
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3. Re: Do you get cost breakdown detail on tour operator quotes?

Like the others, Agents play it very coy but if you insist, nicely, they will give some indication to help you judge between Lodges etc., To some extent I can understand the confidentiality bit, but I counter with the fact that when I buy a meal in a Restaurant I get a Menu so I can choose what I can afford to eat.

I did stop using a major (based in Nairobi and Arusha) operator when they refused. Their loss not mine. With later outfits I have always known the daily cost of the car/driver, and each Lodge. Park Fees etc., are easy to find out but DO check how many days they are paying for. You don't need to pay each day if not IN the Park but sometimes they factor this in as extra profit.

A plea! Please, if you DO get the information do not use it as a stick to drive down costs. They are entitled to make a living just like us.. And you risk them cuttng corners to claw some cash back. What's a few Dollars to us may be survival for them?

Seattle
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4. Re: Do you get cost breakdown detail on tour operator quotes?

Planetjim,

To be honest, i won't bother to ask the cost breakdown. Think about when you go to a restaurant and ask for a menu, do you request the price of cabbages, oil, salt, spices etc used? Also when you buy an airticket form Expedia, Cheaptickets, Last minute deals, Virgin, KLm etc, do you ask the price for fuel, pilot/steward commission?

I guess when we look for trips we don't have to interrogate these tour operators as to what profit they are getting.

Personally what i can do, is to get price quotes from different companies and then compare. I will not go to an extent of wanting to know their profit!

Edited: 07 November 2010, 08:16
Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: Do you get cost breakdown detail on tour operator quotes?

<<do you request the price of cabbages, oil, salt, spices etc used?>>

No but you do ask if service/Taxes are included and if a Hotel you do ask what different rooms are available. Similarly with plane tickets I would not be remotely interested in knowing how much the Captain was paid but I do ask the price of the various types of ticket that get me from base to destination and back.

With safaris, the type of Lodge can vary from dirt cheap/poor to luxury that you do not really need. How can you compare if you do not ask? What about the daily charge for the car? Anything from $125 up to $300 depending on who you use. You need to now these things in order to make a sensible decision. Not to screw the guy down but to be able to compare like with like to better judge which one offers the better value for money.

As an example, read the post "Tour Operators" by ratbone about the too good to be true offer. Richard smelt a con but it could be legitimate but you will never know unless you ask for a breakdown!

Edited: 07 November 2010, 09:36
Manchester, United...
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6. Re: Do you get cost breakdown detail on tour operator quotes?

no I wouldn't expect such a break down and I doubt many would offer such information.

the same applies to any package holiday.....i.e. if I book a week in Spain a travel agent will give me an overall price and will not break down how much the room is, how much the flight is etc

If I'm unhappy with that price I simply go elsewhere or tailormake it & book my flights and accommodation separately which is nearly always more expensive

Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: Do you get cost breakdown detail on tour operator quotes?

Agreed, but the TA for Spain would have a glossy brochure full of nice pics of ** & **** Hotels for you to choose from. Also car hire rates for classes A - X. Transfer prices and optional extras all nicely set out so you really are getting the breakdown the OP wondered about.

IME you can get a breakdown as a guide to quality. If they won't supply it try elsewhere! I did!

For the next trip I know exactly the per diem rate for Car & driver, his daily allowance, The Lodge price, the Park Fees. I never challenged them but I do know them and formed my judgement based on them!

Atlanta, Georgia
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8. Re: Do you get cost breakdown detail on tour operator quotes?

Thank you Retiree, Oliver,Mfuwe,Seattle, and Sabroc. You have given really good replys to my question.

It is interesting. A safari can be a big purchase, but most people do not know the price break down on what they are buying. I am working on my third safari, still very preliminary. If we do it, it will be next August and we will do 3 nights in the Mara at a nice tented camp and 3 nights on Lamu at a nice hotel, with air transfers inbetween. There will be 6 of us, 2 grandparents, 2 parents, 2 granddaughters (6 & 9). I am one of the grandparents and I intend to pay for the whole thing. Total price will be well over US$10,000.

This is a big purchase. It seems strange to me that I am expected to pay that without full disclosure about what I am paying for. On the other hand, I know that the grand total is all that really matters. By the way, I am not interested in this information to try to beat down somebody's price. Actually, although price is important, I am more concerned about service. For my family I want an excellent experience. I am not at all interested in trying to beat down a tour operator to the lowest walk away price.

At this point we have gotten quotes from three tour companies that are within about US$1,000 of each other, quoting total cost only, so I feel that all three are valid, competitive quotes. Now we have to decide is it worth it to us. I keep wishing that I had more details of what makes up the cost, to aid in the evaluation process, but based on the responses, I am not inclined to request a detailed breakdown at this stage. If I wanted it I think I should have asked in the original quote request.

Thanks,

Jim

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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9. Re: Do you get cost breakdown detail on tour operator quotes?

For me, the important thing as I worked to put together our safari trip was being able to compare apples to apples, so I did want to know what lodges/camps we'd be staying at in each park. A general search on the interet for the various lodges' pricing available to the general public will give you a feel for how well you're doing with your tour operator's packaging of your specific itinerary.

So for me, getting the best bottom line price (which was how it was quote) and knowing that my overall quote for the accommodations included was better than what I could do myself with the lodge was all that mattered to me. I added up the various components of our tour and had we booked our lodging independently, our price on that aspect alone would have been close to double.

Now I realize that generally speaking most do not pay rack rates, but in the absence of someone negotiating a "deal" for you, that is the best place to start.

Also, our selected service came in about $1,800pp less on a 12 day Keyna/Tanzania safari than the next company . . . and there were a couple that wouldn't use the same lodges (I'm sure they have their preferred providers with whom they get their best deals) so they were not in the consideration since we were comfortable with the lodging selected based on our desired level of service and location.

nyc
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10. Re: Do you get cost breakdown detail on tour operator quotes?

Most prices are "bundled" so it's quite usual NOT to get detailed breakdown for - meet/greet, transport (vehicle/guide or flights), room, meals, game drives (these should be included in the room/tent rate), daily park fees, taxes/VAT, all transfers.

If comparing apples-to-apples using the same accommodations in each proposal, the quotes should be pretty close; if different accommodations but the same level... likewise the price should be pretty close; if different level say between mid-prices and/or luxury, there will be a difference. And, if you wish to add/deduct a day at a particular location, i.e., 1/day less in the Mara (3/days vs 4/days) the outfitter should advise the reduction which would cover the room/tent rate + daily park fee (and if a driving safari, also 1/day less for vehicle/guide).

Difference in overall price may relate to the company's overhead, how large office staff, # of guides/vehicles, etc. A small 10/person operation is likely to be lower than the outfitter with 30+ on salary.

No harm in asking, and while some international (home-grown tour operators may breakout prices) few others will.