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Book with lodge through website or through agent?

california
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Book with lodge through website or through agent?

We're planning a honeymoon trip next year and looking at lodge options (just booked tickets!). All the lodge websites list their rack rates and some promos (for example, Dulini is listed at 6800 with a 50% discount for 1 person).

Are lodge rates like a normal hotel where no one actually pays the rack rate, or are these rates fairly accurate? Could we get a better deal going through a travel agent?

Somerset
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for Cape Town
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1. Re: Book with lodge through website or through agent?

The best way is to ask for a quote direct from your chosen lodge(s) Then have a look on this forum at some of the agents based in SA who regularly post on this forum and ask them for a quote.

Some lodges do have special offers from time to time like pay for 3 nights get 4th free.

I would certainly contact a SA based agent rather than one in the USA.

Washington DC...
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2. Re: Book with lodge through website or through agent?

In my experience there has been no difference in rate as quoted by property direct or by an agent. I will often stay at multiple camps and need in-country flights so I use an agent. I just find it easier dealing with one person than several.

Edited: 11 September 2013, 13:47
Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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3. Re: Book with lodge through website or through agent?

A little update on Dulini - 2014 rates are R7400PP, but they do have a 4-for-3 that can help reduce the average nightly rate. In my experience, I sometimes do see camps offering a discount though most of the time they do not. With agents, it's all over the map. Some do, some don't.

Dave Patterson - Owner - The Africa Safari

Johannesburg, South...
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4. Re: Book with lodge through website or through agent?

Hi enby a,

In the industry booking through an agent or booking direct with a lodge should in theory be the same rate. So what you see on the lodges website should be the rate the agent quotes. It is completely different to a hotel booking where rates are constantly changing according to availability and is also dependant on how you book.

What you mentioned regarding Dulini is there honeymoon special, although as Dave pointed out, it is the 2013 rate. They also offer a Pay 3 Stay 4 special, which actually works out the same as the 50% off 1 guests stay on the honeymoon special. Agents also have access to the same specials that are available and with certain lodges their are specific specials that are made available to agents only.

What a good agent will give you is the benefit of their experience and knowledge of the lodges/hotels and logistics of getting between places etc and who can assist you to tailor-make your itinerary, especially if you are looking at multiple destination itinerary, a single point of contact for booking and payment, and somebody on the ground to assist where needed and other small things. From experience, it can be really time intensive making enquiries and then bookings with multiple lodges / hotels and like steveb said it is much easier dealing with 1 person. The choice however is a personal one.

Also, when are you travelling? It is always advisable to book sooner rather than later, as safari lodges do tend to get booked up fairly quickly.

Regards.

Brett | Owner | Safaris For Me | South Africa

Hazyview, South...
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5. Re: Book with lodge through website or through agent?

I would take the "same rates" statement with a pinch of salt. Normally it is that way, but we have agents (few) that are not happy with the commission they receive, up the rates and hide it in a total package quote, difficult for you to check. Ask for a detailed cost listing and compare and work with a well known reputable agent.

The ones you find here on TA as regular contributors are IMHO all reputable and work on original rates.

The benefit, doubtless, you work with one partner that will look after you.

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Edited: 11 September 2013, 17:38
San Jose, California
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6. Re: Book with lodge through website or through agent?

This depends on the lodge and the agent.

I booked my private lodge through an agent based in South Africa. She was able to book the lodge cheaper than I could book directly.

Initially, I contacted several agents and had a few lodges in mind. I discovered that no one had any discounts on Mala Mala. Then some agents can better rates on some lodges than others.

I think the agencies establish partnerships with the different lodges, and can offer better discounts on the lodges that they work more closely with.

There are a few big South African agencies, you can simply submit an inquiry to these agencies, and ask for quotes on the lodges that you are interested in, and see what you get back, and go from there.

Hazyview, South...
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7. Re: Book with lodge through website or through agent?

you could contact bwanadave (The Africa Safari http://www.theafricasafari.com/Welcome.html ), Tanya at africadirect www.africadirect.co.za ) for example.

Highly recommended.

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

8. Re: Book with lodge through website or through agent?

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