WOW Scotland is proud to announce that, with immediate effect, we will only sell tours directly to our customers via our website. This means that you will no longer see us on third party agent sites such as Booking.com, GetYourGuide or Expedia. At a time when these online travel agents are on a quest to take over the tour market we are taking a bold stance by going it alone. However, we feel strongly that this is in both our and your best interests, for the following reasons.
1. Pay more or get less – not much of a choice is it?!
In return for marketing our tour, and processing the booking, online agents take 20-30% of every seat they sell. Firstly, that’s a lot of money for a small business to give away. Secondly, the knock-on effect is that companies are forced to increase prices to cover agent commissions, so this means that customers end up paying more. Conversely, if we don’t increase prices, then customers get less, as it is not feasible for us to produce the same product for less money.
2. Contribute to the Scottish Highlands
As 25% of our revenue goes directly to huge multinational corporations, that means that there is 25% less money flowing into the fragile economy of the Scottish Highlands. Multiply that effect by the hundreds of tour operators here using online agents and you can see that this can only lead to a deterioration in the quality of the tourism industry as a whole.
By booking with an independent locally-owned business studies have shown that significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, strengthening the economic base of the whole community. So, book direct so that we can continue to pay fair wages to our staff, contribute to local causes we feel strongly about and, most importantly, continue to provide the best service and tours to you.
3. You don’t have to shop around for the best price
Many online travel agents offer discounts if you sign-up or book tours through them, but their terms and conditions state that we are not permitted to discount our own tours. This means that it’s often cheaper to book with them rather than to book directly with us. By selling direct we can simply offer the best prices on our website all the time, and it saves you having to shop around
4. We want YOU to travel with WOW
Yes, that’s right. It’s statistically proven that people who book direct are smarter, funnier and better looking than those who don’t. Okay, so we might just have made that bit up but it is true that those clients who research our company and itineraries in advance are those who tend to enjoy our tours the most.
5. We want to offer you the best possible service
This is a biggie for us as happy customers are our top priority! We have used online agents in the past and have found that, whilst they are rare, complaints are almost always the result of incorrect information being provided by the agent. By having complete control of all communications we can ensure that we provide complete and timely booking information to you.
6. We have a personality, and we hope you like it!
If you visit an online booking platform all of the product descriptions look pretty similar, and they don’t tell you anything about the ethos of the company providing the tour. We think this is pretty sad, as we are proud of our company, and what we stand for. We want you to book with us because we are a Highland company, we are proud of our Highland heritage, we have the best guides in the business, and we can offer a depth of knowledge and level of service that is unmatchable. We could go on but you get the idea; book a WOW tour, not just any tour!
If you are reading this then presumably you plan to visit Scotland soon; fantastic decision! We are so lucky to live and work in such a beautiful country. When you are booking all elements of your trip (be it hotels, travel, restaurants or activities) please try to book direct wherever you can, in order to contribute as much as possible to our local economy, and allow all of us to nurture our thriving tourism industry.
How can you book?
If you would like to book a WOW Scotland tour online you can only do so on our website. The only other place you can book our tours is by popping in to the local Visitor Information Centre in Inverness – they are very helpful folk and can take cash if that is your preference (although we would recommend booking in advance online if you can, to ensure availability).
We hope that you will choose to come on a WOW tour, and we looking forward to showing you the wonderful place we call home very soon!