Value over Price in Vacation Travel

On my email signature my clients will always see the following quote from Warren Buffet:  Price is what you pay, and value is what you get.  We have found this to be true in many of our purchases throughout our adult lives, whether it be buying a car, a home, household furniture or appliances or our vacations.  Often, it is true that what we pay IS what we get.

One of the things I try to impress upon my travel clients is this principle when it comes to their hard-earned vacation money and vacation dreams.  As a Vacation Dream Maker, I long for you to have the BEST experience you can, within your budget, but sometimes looking beyond the price tag and stretching that budget a little bit more can increase your enjoyment, pleasure or value of your trip so much more.  Other times the value is in finding a great price alone.  

Here’s are a few examples of this value vs price principle from two of our recent trips:

  • My husband and I were travelling to Europe last year with family and friends.  A couple of times we decided to stretch our budget a little, like our port day in Naples.  As we poured over the options of cruise excursions, one particular small group tour really appealed to us – a tour of Ravello, Amalfi and Positano.  This tour was the only one we found going to these 3 destinations but the price was higher than all the other options.  Do we splurge on this tour, or do we stay within budget and go somewhere that isn’t as high on our list of “want to see” places in this port?  Because we were in a once-in-a-lifetime destination and celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary on this trip, we decided to stretch the budget and booked this small group tour.  To our surprise and delight on the day of our tour, when we found “Marco”, our driver, we also found only our names on his name sheet!  What we thought was a small group was REALLY small in that it was just the two of us!!  Marco drove us to Ravello, Amalfi, Positano, giving us time in each town to explore on our own, and then he gave us the option of what to do on our way back to Naples.  We ended up our day with a delightful lunch and wine tasting at the bottom of Mount Vesuvius.  Our choice of excursion this day was SO worth every pennie!!   Value over price totally won out that day.
  • Another example was our hotel in Venice.  I had found a wonderful hotel along one of the canals in Venice, a short walk from the train station where we arrived into this magical city.  Hotel Palazzo Cendon was an affordable hotel with an easy location to access the airport vaporetta and train station, without having to cross a ton of bridges with our luggage.  The hotel is just outside of the busy Grand Canal area of Venice so easy to walk to, but not overrun with crowds.  I researched their hotel rooms and found Standard room and Superior Room options that would be perfect for our 2 night stay.  We decided on the upgraded Superior Room because although it was slightly more, what it had to offer was also more – the room overlooked the canal below!  By paying only $30 dollars more a night, we were able to get a large, comfortable room that actually was so big we used it as a gathering place for the 6 of us to hang out, plus it had two windows that overlooked the canal where we could watch the sun come up over Venice, and the locals and tourists below going about their day or evening activities.  The value of what we got was worth paying the little extra amount of money.
  • Last example is from our last vacation to date, just prior to Covid hitting.  We cruised in February 2020, aboard the Celebrity Summit, and for this cruise we opted to purchase their 4-Perk cabin rate.  Even though the cabin price for this package was about $200 higher than the 2-Perk package, the VALUE of what we got for that $200 was extremely higher in the long run.  Their 4 Perk package included Premium Drinks Package ($69 USD per person per day), Unlimited Wifi ($400USD), Prepaid Daily Gratuities ($15.50 USD per person per day) and $150 USD Onboard Credit ($300 USD total).  We estimated that we saved ourselves about $1500 in perks for a pretty much “all inclusive”, worry-free cruise, and for only a few hundred dollars more in price than had we chosen no perks and paid for everything a’la carte onboard.  These perks also allowed us to experience specialty restaurants onboard, like Qsine.  The value we received far outweighed the price we paid for our cabin!
When I plan vacations for my clients, I try to use this principle as much as I’m allowed by the client.  I won’t just grab the “cheapest” vacation destination or price for my clients, but what I will offer is the best VALUE for their vacation dollars.  That might include choosing accommodations a little more than the lead-in price in a cruise cabin or resort room, but with that will come the value of a better view, a balcony, an amenity or two, such a personalized butler (like at Sandals resorts!).  
When I have honeymooners looking for their very special destination to begin their married life, I won’t start looking at the cheapest resorts in Cuba or the DR… I will seek the BEST vacation that fits their “must have” list that is around or as close to their budget as possible – something that will give them a real WOW experience they will never forget on this special once-in-a-lifetime trip.  Sometimes value for families might look like finding that two rooms or cabins is more VALUE as they will have the beauty of double the space and double the washroom facilities or privacy for the parents in one room connecting to their kids next door.  For those celebrating milestone birthdays or anniversaries, I’m going to look at the VALUE of a 5-star adult only resort, like a Sandals or Couples versus a run-of-the-mill cheap escape.  
Vacations don’t have to break the bank for sure, but there have been times when I have clients looking to get away for unrealistic budgets.  To those clients my advice is that it is better for them to save an extra 6 to 12 months and get a destination, cruise cabin or resort that is better value for their money than just grabbing the least expensive option and ending up disappointed when they come home because they expected 5 star service on their 2 star budget.  
Everyone has their own definition of value so I do try to always work within their vacation desires and budgets.  Sometimes a client’s value is in the quantity of vacations they can take each year.  For those clients the lower priced inside cruise cabin or Cuba all-inclusive is perfect value for them as it allows them to go away more often versus the value of having 5-star luxury accommodation or Suite cabin which gives them only one vacation a year (or they have to wait two years between).  I think it’s important that we understand what we value most when we are planning our vacations (or any purchase for that matter) and only we can truly decide the price we put on value and how that is defined for us.
What are your experiences with the differences between VALUE and PRICE?  Share with me in the comments below as I’d like to know what the things you value most when you are planning a vacation.

Until next time,

~ Sue ~ Your Vacation Dream Maker

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