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Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,046
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Is it ethical or even good business for a tour operator here to charge walk-in customers less than they charge through agents? It is widespread practice on Ambergris Caye.

Split from the David Gegg ECP thread.

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,880
Why do you think that is unethical?

A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,046
OP Offline
I don't, someone else does. I'm waiting for him to come on here.

Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 955
Contrary to your comment it wont help my business, it actually will and does help my business Peter the more discount i can offer the better for by business.

In addition I am developing another website that will utilize the ongoing trend.

First off the reason for this issue is the economy, and everyone is struggling to make a living and its understandable that people will be cutthroat and undercut each other.

However I don't think its good for the actual Travel Agents and Wholesalers from the USA,Canada,Europe that promote Ambergris as a vacation destination.

I also think it is not good for the island in the long run as it cheapens the product and the perceived value.

The subject that originally bought this subject up was the advertised price of a resort course, so lets use dive shops as the example.

A resort course is clearly advertised online as $160.00 but if booked on island the very same course, according to you and Phil is just $100-$125.

If that is the case why not just put the correct price up online instead of a fake over inflated price.

The only shop actually advertising the right price charged according to you and Phil is Aqua Dives who advertise $125 and pay comm on that also.

So a travel agent or wholesaler makes an agreement with the dive shop to promote them, and send them business, then goes ahead and advertises Belize at there expense and finds a customer who they sell this particular tour to.

The customer buys and heads on down to the island, only to find someone is on the same course as he is for a substancial amount less for the same course.

Not only would he be pissed off that he paid a considerable amount more, but he would immediately think the agent ripped him off by charging him more for the same thing.

This makes the agent look bad, as the dive shop is undercutting them and making them out to look dishonest. The agent not only was provided the higher price but has worked to get that customer and it has cost them money to do so in advertising, tel calls, time, credit card charges, etc.

What if the dive shop took that booking online at the inflated rate and then the same things happens ?

The customer arrives and finds out the guys he is doing it with paid a lot less.

You don't think that is unethical ?

What would the dive shops excuse be for the big difference in price ? I can't think of one.

If the answer is he discounts it online too then it is a clear case of undercutting the same agents that are sending them business at the provided higher rate.

Its acceptable for there to be a 10% discount or something for walk ins but more than 50% in some cases is outrageous but great for the buyer.

This eventually makes the destination a cheap back packers type place where everything is up for negociation.

My main point is, advertise the truth.

If what you sell is a resort course for $100-$125 then advertise that on your website not an inflated price to which some people are overcharged.


Last edited by Gaz Cooper; 05/12/10 11:43 PM.
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 13,675
I don't know why I do it but here I go!
Resort Course is an antiquated term, the industry calls it 'Discover SCUBA Diving' wana get laughed at, go to DEMA and say 'Resort Course'.
The SCUBA world also gives a Discover SCUBA Diver student credit on line towards getting certified when they participate.
Of the 5 pool sessions and 5 training dives they get credit for dive #1 and pool #1 world wide.If they want to continue and get certified with us I subtract the price paid from the Open Water Course, and by the way the Open Water course is 475.usd.
We charge 160.usd for the Discover SCUBA Diving'and don't forget to bring your 10.usd park fee.
I offer a 20% commission to agents and hotels.
Discount divers get what they pay for, we have clean neat boats in perfect working order with O2, first aid, certified/insured divemasters that are licensed tour guides. Were a 5 star operation, that cost money and we charge a healthy price for it.
If a client walks in the door and wants to haggle the price, if they aren't from one of the companys I already pay commission to, I have 20% margin to haggle with.
I find it unimaginable that people pre-pay to dive with a company undescribed by the wholesaler.
I surf the net and look at the discount sites to find no guarantee of who you will be diving with, no name or photograph of these dive companys the tourist will be diving with and yet the tourist send their money and sign up.

White Sands Dive Shop
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 955
So I guess you are not included in the shops that Phil and Peter reffered to,

I agree with your reasoning I very rarely gave a discount when I had my place. Its called value for money.

I agree with you Elbert on the point of you chargin for a good service and providing a quality experience for a decent price.

As for the Resort course thank you for the lesson I will try to do better. I guess that term just goes to show how long i have been an instructor for, but you are correct.

With regards to Wholesalers all ones I know use a specific dive operator and divers are informed of which shop they will be using and the travel agent wholesaler recommends that shop.

As far as Discount sites, my own discount site allows divers to choose from a list of Dive Operators on the island who have signed up at my site.

So the potential diver can easily do research and then choose there favorite dive shop on the island and still get a discount while using the very best dive operators on the island.

Glad I know you stick to the way it should be Elbert.


Last edited by Gaz Cooper; 05/13/10 11:33 AM.

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