Don’t get scammed on your vacation package! Is BookVIP worth it? What about Premier Travel Resorts? We have now experienced both ends of the ‘luxury’
WARNING: Brace yourself. This is going to be a bit of a rant.
One Vacation Package was a DREAM! One, not so much.
We are bargain hunters. Spend less, travel more… right?! If you like to make your vacation travel dollar stretch, then like us, you might find yourself considering a vacation package promotional offer. But you should be prepared. Know that these promotional vacation package companies are not at all equal.
After the let down of our recent stay at the Cancun all inclusive through Premier Travel Resorts, I just got off the phone from trying to book the remainder of our vacation package with them (some time in Florida). Let’s just say that will not be happening. We are just going to eat the cost and forget about it.
From here on out, we will be booking vacation packages through BookVIP. Here’s why…
VIDEO: Our Month in Mexico Begins… How NOT to Get a Good Deal on a Cancun All Inclusive
OUR EXPERIENCE WITH BOOKVIP
Surely, you’ve seen the Facebook sponsored posts. If you click over to their website, you will see that it is full of the cheapest vacation packages to some of the most popular destinations. They have some seriously luxurious looking stays all over the world at some crazy good prices.
Our first ever
One quick note… We have only used BookVIP one time, at one luxury resort in Cancun. Logic tells me that not every resort vacation package is going to provide a similar experience. It really is all going to come down to the research you put in.
Researching the properties offered on BookVIP can be a bit of a challenge. They don’t advertise the actual name of the resorts. Instead, they use fake names. But if you really want to sleuth out the place you will be staying a bit of investigative work on Google to match up the photos will reveal the true identity of the property you are considering. We didn’t bother going that far. There was plenty of information on the BookVIP website to help us feel comfortable with making our reservation.
What we love about booking with BookVIP? You are on your own schedule. No sales calls, no pressure. Book when you have done your research and you are ready. You will know what you are getting. You know ahead of time if the dates you want to travel are available. There is time to compare the restaurants and amenities. This is a big contrast to the promotional vacation package sales calls I will talk about in the next section.
When you are ready to make your reservation with BookVIP, just be prepared for a few additional resort fees and taxes. Our $599 for 5 days/4 nights at a Cancun all inclusive cost around $720 after everything was said and done. In our case, part of the additional charge was to cover tips for the resort staff. After the experience we had, we found this to be well worth it.
OUR EXPERIENCE WITH PREMIER TRAVEL RESORTS
In contrast to BookVIP, our experience with Premier Travel Resorts (out of Florida) was not the best. If this had been our first experience, we very likely would not have participated in another promotional deal. It was that bad.
Are you on the calling lists? After our first promotional resort stay, we started getting phone calls offering vacation packages to various destinations. That is how we ended up with a vacation package including our most recent Cancun all inclusive plus a couple short stays in Florida and elsewhere.
These travel sales calls are always a high-pressure situation unless you just hang up. Say no enough times and they will keep dropping the price to where it actually sounds like a good deal. If they capture your interest and you decide to purchase, it is required that you do so before the end of the phone call. There isn’t much time to research the vacation properties they are offering. You might have a few seconds to quickly pull up some photos but that is about it. A picture is worth a thousand words, but not worth nearly as much as being able to read a few reviews.
They drew us in with a stay in Cancun (which is convenient for us because of the proximity to Belize) and some time in Florida (hello, sailboat shopping!). So we pulled the trigger and bought a package. But using it, that is a whole different story.
Premier Travel Resorts does not make it easy to actually use the vacation time. There is a lot of fine print that makes travel planning very difficult and potentially a lot more expensive. They don’t reveal these details during the sales call.
If you purchase a vacation package with Premier Travel Resorts, this is what you should be prepared for…
You can only reserve your dates 45-90 days ahead of time. Okay, fair enough.
However, when you call to ask for your preferred dates, they require you to fill out a long form requiring all the information that they already have. You then have to wait about a week to see if your dates are even available. Unless your travel plans will only consist of your stay at their resort, this makes planning the rest of your travel very inconvenient.
Planning affordable flights, or available Airbnb stays in conjunction with your Premier Travel Resorts vacation package is very difficult. In our case, the Airbnb we wanted to stay at after our stay at the resort was booked by the time Premier Travel Resorts got back to us.
Our package included a stay in Orlando and a stay in Daytona Beach. Premier Travel Resorts requires that those stays be back to back or 30 days apart. So, in our case, using them on either end of a business trip we had planned was not allowed.
We used the Cancun portion of our vacation package, but we won’t be using the rest of it.
The Bait and Switch Cancun ‘All Inclusive’ through Premier Travel Resorts
The room was dirty, the toilet was chipped, the lights flickered, and that is just the beginning. You see, they put us up, not in one of the luxury properties that they wanted to sell us on, but rather at their ‘cemetary resort’. Seriously, that is what the guys at the nice property told us they called it. For real.
Now, to be fair, Laguna Suites wasn’t all bad. The one restaurant that was included in our ‘all inclusive’ (if you overlook the air conditioner dripping into our food) was actually a nice experience. They changed up the menu every night, featuring foods from different parts of Mexico. And the staff was amazing. Very friendly and accommodating. And very willing to help us with our Spanish.
Once over the shock of the difference in the kind of place we thought we would be staying, we made the most of it. We met some nice people. Ate some great food. Took some nice walks on the golf course. And picked up our rental car a couple days early to go off and explore the area.
THE SALES PITCH
Both BookVIP and Premier Travel Resorts require that you attend a 90-120 minute sales pitch to get their discounted prices. No biggie. We feel like that is worth it.
Premier Travel Resorts, however, requires that you attend a promotional presentation during each stay. This is different from what we were told when they sold us the package. A two-hour sales pitch when you are staying somewhere for only two nights is a huge chunk of time. They sold us four different stays, that means up to eight hours of moderately high-pressure sales! No thanks.
OK, That’s it for my rant
Thanks for listening.
I would have much rather provided a raving review of both of these companies. Who likes being negative? But I wanted to share so that you know what to expect when making your travel plans. I hope you find this information helpful.
VIDEO: Dreams Riviera Cancun
It’s an oldie (published in 2017), but this video gives you a glimpse of our stay at the Dreams Riviera Cancun we booked through BookVIP.
Let’s talk travel companies!
Have you used these companies or other promotional vacation package companies? What was your experience?
Do you have questions that we might be able to answer before you make your vacation plans?
Share in the comments below!
Join Us on This Adventure
If you want to follow along on our nomadic journey as we figure out this digital nomad, location independent lifestyle, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel. Or, sign-up for our ‘On The Go’ Mail Drop to get notifications of new videos and posts delivered straight to your inbox!
Thanks for stopping by! And until next time… life is too short to stay in one place. Happy wanderings!