What is the best way to make a gulet cruise booking?
Blue cruise concept is one of the most attractive concepts in tourism when it comes to relaxation, seeing the most in the shortest period of time and having the best time of your life.
However booking a gulet cruise for a group of family or friends is not easy. If a person in charge to find the best vessel makes a mistake all the pressure will be on him. He will have a hard time from his kids, his spouse or/and his friends.
So people are doing everything they can when searching for the perfect gulet to make everybody happy. As we are living in modern age, where the internet is everywhere. This makes our lives a lot easier. But is it really like this?
Will client truly get the best deal if one inquiry goes to 10 different agencies? Is it better to book a gulet as »Early booking« promotion or it is better to book it »Last minute«? Is it better to contact your local agent (from your town or country) or it is better to book with some other agency abroad, or even directly from the owner or local travel agent?
Is it better to find a gulet you like the most browsing hundreds of gulets on your own, or it is better to give all the info to your agent and leave it all to him? Is it better to book a fixed itinerary and gulet, which some agency is offering or it is better you tailor make everything on your own regarding your exact wishes?
These are the most important questions which every client show know the answer to. But quite honestly, there is no easy answer to these questions. What is good for someone can be terrible for someone else and what works for some group can be a problem for the other.
That is why we have decided to use our EXPERIENCE and give this info to all the clients. We will give you PROS and CONS for every possibility there is and you can decide on your own what fits you more and what is better for you.
So here we go!!
“EARLY BOOKING” VS LAST MINUTE!
– Most of the gulets are still available so the choices are unlimited with Early Booking concept
– »Last minute season« has limited options/gulets available especially in highest season – you can come up empty handed
– You will get bigger discounts with »LAST MINUTE« bookings, but this does not really mean better holidays. Read here why!
– According to our statistics, we have the biggest satisfaction from clients who booked »Early«
– When booking »Early« you have a lot of time for planning and all organizations
– With LAST MINUTE bookings, you have to be more careful. You have to be sure lower prices does not also mean lower quality of the gulet!
Our suggestion: if you have the chance, book Early. You will get a smaller discount than last minute, but you will have a bigger selection of gulets and at the end, satisfaction will be higher. If you are checking LAST MINUTE deals do not go for the biggest possible discount, but listen to agency advice and book the gulet which offers BEST VALUE FOR PRICE and not the biggest percentage. And always ask why there is such discount on the gulet.
BROWSE HUNDREDS OF GULETS ON YOUR OWN VS »A LA CARTE INQUIRES«
– If you make your own search you will become a huge internet gulet expert and will get the best idea of what you like, and what you do not like
– You will lose a lot more time if you browse gulets on your own
– There are not a lot of agencies in the market, that have pictures, info, prices, and everything updated 100%, so it can happen that gulet you like is either booked, sold, in bad shape or the info is not exact
– Agencies usually inspect gulets several times per year, they have a lot of experience, they know which gulets have the best crew and this is not 14 days process but it is 5 years process
Our suggestion: first set up an approximate budget range in your mind, and browse a couple of gulets inside of this budget on your own, and see what you like the most. Then inform your agent which gulets did you like and why did you like them and what is your approximate budget range, and then leave it to your agent, to prepare your offers according to that info. This way you will get best deals!
OWNERS/LOCAL AGENCIES VS TOUR OPERATOR
– if you book with the owner directly or via a travel agency, the price should be the same. However, it can happen some owners do not think long term and they lower the prices for their direct clients. This means you can get a bit smaller price booking directly
– when booking directly, there is a small possibility for some mistakes (without any intermediaries)
– on the internet, you have legit owners and not very legit owners. So it can happen you come to the destination and there is no gulet there (who are you going to call if this happens?)
– if you have some disagreement on the board of gulet (because of services, itinerary, food, cleanliness, crew….) you have nobody to assist you
– all other support which agencies organize for all clients such as transfers, extra trips, support during the cruise, professional approach to check in and check out are not as good
– agencies are paid from owners (they get a commission) and they work for this commission. You will get the best advice, good support and much more safety if you book with the agency.
Our suggestion: no suggestion here as we are an agency and our advice would not be very objective :-).
FIXED ITINERARY VS CLIENTS WISHES
– most of the clients wish to be very much involved in the itinerary design of their gulet cruise, following Lonely planet suggestions or some other very good guides. This way you will really see all the things you think you wish to see
– on the other hand, on a gulet cruise most of the time you are not aware of all the hidden gems there are along the coast. If you focus on most popular tourist destinations, you will miss a lot of hidden treasures
– nobody knows the areas more as the captain, who is cruising there for many years. Fixed itineraries are not made to save some money to owners on fuel, but because owner/agency believes they will offer the most satisfaction to clients
Our suggestion: do a little bit of both. Choose 2 or 3 places which you would truly like to see. Ask the agency for suggestions regarding your group interest (seniors, families, sports group, religious group, archeology group, island hopping group) and leave a little bit open for owner’s suggestions on board. This way you have a combination of FIXED ROUTE, which sounds like a lot of fun for your group + you are opened for suggestions from the owner while already on a cruise.
LAST 6 RULES YOU SHOULD KEEP IN MIND:
1) ask a lot of questions at the start – immediately when you are sending inquiry
2) give the agency as much info possible about your exact wishes
3) give the agency info about your budget! Usually, clients wish to avoid that, but from our experience, you will get around 4% – 7% better prices if you give a budget, rather than if you do not provide the budget – interesting fact, but it is true.
4) If you see agency knows EVERYTHING about gulets and they know what they are doing – TRUST THEM with their advice. They are dealing with gulets longer than you do and it is in their interest to keep you happy
5) do not book the discounts, book the gulets you like most.
6) if you are booking with gulet owner directly do your homework very very good! Be sure what you are booking so you do not end up with a disaster!
How would I do it?
I am a gulet expert and I was thinking how would I book a gulet for myself! And here it is how I would do it:
1) I would try to find an agent who knows everything about gulets and an agency that would know how to advise me
2) that is why I would probably check 15 different internet pages and send inquiry to 3 of them that gave me best feeling and most credibility
3) according to how fast, professional and detailed reply I would receive I would go with that agency
4) I would give the agency hard time and would ask for several gulet suggestions until I am not 100% happy with what I see
5) I would make the agency work for their money and would ask their advice for the best possible route, gulet, food, activities.
6) when I have everything I would ask for a bit of additional discount (would not squeeze too much) so that I know they will be motivated in case I need any support
I would definitely book “Early” and ask the agency to offer me gulet, where they have special conditions as an agency because of huge volume that they do.