Why I Chose YouAn email why we beat out the competition.
First I will say, and you may have thought, "why chose a tour company in the first place when you can get your own vouchers, book your own hotels, rent your car, buy a map and be on your way"?
When you add up the cost of the hotels and/or vouchers, the car rental plus the CDW/tax expense and adding to your CDW to get the Super (which I highly recommend....google Ireland CDW and read some of the horror stories of people who didn't get it and were hit with $3000 charges on their car for damage when they returned it.)
Then, and most importantly, however is to factor in the approximate cost of getting help with your itinerary, where to stop, how long it will take you to get there, recommends on accomodations, restaurants, plus many other tips and the value of that help, much of which you can't get on your own.
For us, since we have never been to Ireland; this added information and expertise was very valuable.
I chose the tour package with Enchanting Ireland Tours for several reasons which I would like to explain:
We are Seniors on fixed income so I spend a lot of time researching, comparing offerings and amenities and then deciding which company gave me the "best bang for the buck"
Out of many tour companies, I narrowed my choices down to 4 and contacted them with the rough draft of my itinerary, our need for an automatic car and 5 days of B&Bs in the countryside and 1 day in a hotel in Dublin. (later changed to 4 and 2) I soon eliminated 2 companies; one, because their quote was about $600 more than EI, the other, because it took them 2-3 days to respond to a question. I finally eliminated the last company because I had to pre-book all my lodging, I had to get my own SuperCDW insurance and their quote was a little higher (but that was not defining at all). That rep was fairly responsive however.
- Enchanting Ireland (EI from now on) was the only tour that would allow a NON-pre-booked tour using vouchers. (Since we didn't know where we'd be on a given day, we could use vouchers)
- EI did not charge extra from their basic pricing to get an automatic transmission.
- EI has the same rate for 3* B&B's as 4* so you are not as restricted in your search for accomodations. You may chose a 4* w/o any additional cost to your package.
- EI prices are in USD, NOT Euros!!! Remember this when comparing 2 companies.
BUT, the biggest difference between EI and the other 3 tour companies I was considering was Chris Woolson, my tour representative.
If I sent 10 emails with questions to him that I needed answered, I sent 50!!!!!
Usually within the hour Chris would respond to my question. My various researches for itineraries/car/CDW depended a lot on knowing the answers to questions ASAP and Chris always came right back with the answers so that I could continue. With his advice I made some changes in my original "draft" tour because of his experience and insight into tour planning.
Since deciding to tour with EI, Chris and I are now discussing specific distances/time needed/places to see and locations I might consider staying at on a given night in my final itinerary. He has given me so much information and has always been extremely pleasant and helpful. I have made changes all along the way and Chris didn't blink an eye about that but gave me the Pros and Cons for my decision and then we moved on to Plan B when I made my final decision on that question.
Obviously I can't speak more highly about Chris and all his help.Nowadays it's so nice and rare when you purchase something and get excellent service as well!
If you're looking to do a tour to Ireland, ask Chris for a quote and you might check a couple other companies to compare. You will soon find that no other can compare to EI with Chris planning for you.Happy Travels
Response from Chris, EI Owner
I was so happy to receive Mary's email for many reasons, the most prominent being that I felt as though we really "won" her business after an exhaustive search on her end to ensure price, quality and of course planning services.
In all honesty, I didn't think we would win her business because one I had to advise her early on that we cannot work on itineraries until after a package is booked - we're running a business and need to work for paying clients. It's a touchy subject but necessary when we are extremely busy.
In any event, the emails progressed and I answered questions about our specific package as soon as the email came through. While it is good customer service to do so, it is more from an OCD standpoint, ensuring I don't miss an email and respond to everyone. Thankfully that worked for Mary.
A few days later I received an email that she wanted to book her trip and I truly felt as though we won a large group and we wouldn't have to work the rest of the season. I knew Mary was comparing our rates and our service to other companies, as she should, and I was pleased to hear how well we compared with price. I asked Mary to give me her side of the shopping experience which resulted in her email above.
The important parts for me to reiterate are:
- Package Price - we work hard to maintain relationships so we work direct with Irish hotels and business to obtain the best pricing. We want the best prices for our own trips so we treat our clients as if it is our own.
- Communication - we all strive to get back to folks as soon as possible because we know you're shopping and service is important, both before the sale and after the sale.
- Pros and Cons - Mary brought this up and this is something I personally stand by - I will not plan a trip for you but rather with you. I'll tell you the good and the bad about particular question or option, giving you the information to make the decision yourself.
Thank you Mary ... for seeing our committment to each client!