Many schools now require Group Leaders to collect at least three quotes for their school trip. And some require the cheapest quote to be chosen. But sometimes the cheapest quote may not actually be the best value. Here’s what you need to ask when trying to work out which quote is actually offering the best value for money.
Are you sure you’re comparing like for like?
Even if you’ve approached two or three tour operators with exactly the same enquiry, it is unlikely that you will receive two or three identical quotes.
In fact, although they may seem similar, there are likely to be several (possibly very subtle) differences that could actually have a big effect on your trip.
To help you ensure you are comparing like for like, we’ve written a guide to comparing quotes.
Have you considered the value/quality of service offered?
As well as the physical inclusions, it’s worth considering the value and quality of the service offered.
For example, if you are comparing a quote from a school tour operator and a group tour operator, one thing to take into consideration is the fact that the specialist school tour operator will have the experience to advise you as a school group with specific requirements and learning objectives.
The school tour operator will also better understand the pressures on you as a teacher, having worked closely with many teachers in the past, and so they may be better placed to support you through the process.
And if you are comparing two school tour operators, make sure you check that both are fully accredited. Important accreditations to look for are ABTA and ATOL bonds, as well as membership of the School Travel Forum and the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge.
Of course, Halsbury Travel has all these important accreditations, find out more here.
Will your tour operator charge surcharges not included on the quote?
The other very important thing to check is whether your tour operator will charge any surcharges, as some do in the case of, for example, significant exchange rate fluctuations.
The last thing you want is to have to go back to parents to ask for more money, so you need to know whether this is a possibility or not. If you’re not sure, then it’s definitely a question worth asking.
So, what about Halsbury?
If you’ve received a quote from Halsbury, we hope that you’ll agree that it is very clear regarding what is and isn’t included.
We include a valid until date on our quotes – book by this date and you’ll pay the price quoted. The only exception to this is when your quote includes flights with a low-cost airline.
These are subject to potential increases over which we have no control until the flight is booked. However, we make our Group Leaders aware of this and advise them to build in a contingency to the price quoted to students that should cover this.
This means that our group leaders shouldn’t have to go back to parents to ask for more money to pay for the trip. And if the price of the flights does not rise, the extra budget can be used towards an exciting activity!
We take care to detail on the quote anything else that could affect the price.
For example, if you’re travelling via the Eurotunnel, there are ‘Super Peak’ dates for which there is a supplement to pay. As far as possible, we will let you know how much this is likely to be and what dates are affected, so that you can try to avoid it.
We’ll make it clear what accommodation the quote is based on and, again, as far as possible we will let you know anything that could affect the price. For example, many hotels charge a single room supplement.
And we will make it clear what activities and visits are included in the quote. Your quote will include a destination guide with other activity options and prices.
We are school travel specialists, founded over 30 years ago by a former teacher, so we do understand the pressures on you. As such, we’ve built our service around supporting you through the process and, hopefully, allowing you to enjoy the trip as much as your students!
We hope that you've found this information helpful. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to contact us.