As I mentioned in my first post, one of the questions we get over and over again at Friendly Planet Travel is how we manage to offer such low prices. Well, the answer is simple. We’re not greedy.
We’re in the business of making it possible for travelers to go on amazing vacations in breathtaking locations, and to have the best experience possible while they’re there. And part of that is making sure you’re able to step off the plane confident that you’re getting the best deal possible for the highest value vacation. Our goal is to make travel pleasant AND affordable.
This might sound silly to some people, but I honestly believe that if people got to know each other better, it would be a profound educational experience. When you get to meet the people we meet on our tours, you get to see that the farmer in Cambodia who doesn’t have clean drinking water isn’t any different than you or me. We’re just lucky dogs. Where we grew up is simply a matter of circumstances.
I think realizing that makes an intense difference in the travel experience, especially for Americans. And it doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable experience, because almost any place that you go in the world, you can travel nicely.
When you vacation with Friendly Planet Travel, you stay in nice hotels, you sleep in comfortable beds, the bathrooms are clean, there’s indoor plumbing, there’s heat and air conditioning, etc. You don’t have to give up any comforts to experience what is wonderful about other places in the world.
And, of course, I haven’t been to every place in the world, but I can tell you I’ve never been anywhere where it hasn’t been incredibly interesting to explore, or anywhere where the people haven’t been friendly. I’ve never been to any place that hasn’t been, in its own way, wonderful.
What I’m trying to say is, all of that translates into the goal of Friendly Planet Travel (does the name make sense now?). We want to be able to offer the off-the-beaten-track vacations that are going to change your perspective of the world.
We’re offering those types of places — India, Ecuador, Egypt, Vietnam, Kenya, etc. — very nicely packaged, at a price point that makes it possible for anyone who could afford to go on vacation to somewhere more mainstream like Las Vegas or Hawaii, to have the experience of a lifetime.
And the way we do that is simply by not being greedy. That might sound laughable, but that’s the basic truth. Because let’s be honest, anybody could do what we do. But our prices are still the lowest.
Every travel agency has the benefits of contracts. Maybe I negotiate a little bit harder, (in fact, I’ve been told that I’m brutal) but I find that it’s not difficult to achieve the goal of the price point I want. Suppliers can see when they give us a great deal, that deal becomes something we offer the public. We don’t keep it for ourselves.
To get these prices, we can’t just work with any supplier. And sometimes, it’s impossible to get the deal we want. If that’s the case, we won’t have the tour. For example, right now we don’t offer an active Australia/New Zealand tour (which I would love to be able to do). It’s an unbelievable destination, but I can’t get to the price point that I want for my travelers.
At Friendly Planet Travel, we say that if we create a terrific package, we make sure that the accommodations are good, the services are proper, people are seeing what they need to see, the price point is right, and people have a great time, they’re going to reward us by coming back. Hopefully they’ll refer us to their friends, and our company will grow.
And it works! We know our travelers are going to come back, so we’re never going to try to squeeze as much money as we can from you. And I’m confident that no matter how hard you look, you won’t find a tour that gives you the same value for a lower price than a Friendly Planet Travel tour.