My husband and I were part of a group that booked and paid several months ago to travel to a resort in Cancun, Mexico, to attend a wedding in July. We were shocked to learn that the wedding has now been called off. As we were looking forward to the trip and have booked the time off from work, we would still like to go. The travel agent handling the wedding group has advised us that if we wish to continue with our travel arrangements, we have to pay about $450 more to the tour operator, because we no longer qualify for a group rate. How is the tour operator allowed to increase the price and require a further payment to allow us to travel after we already booked and paid months ago?
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It’s unfortunate that the wedding was called off and that it also affected your travel plans. When group bookings are made with tour operators, consumers receive a discounted group rate depending on the number of people there are in the group. Group bookings, as with all bookings, are subject to various terms and conditions, including both a number forthe minimum number of passengers to get the discounted price, and also terms surrounding changing or cancelling the travel services purchased.
If several people have cancelled their bookings due to the wedding being called off, the number of people left who wish to continue with their travel plans may no longer be sufficient to qualify as a group booking. So you may no longer qualify under the terms and conditions to receive the discounted group rate. When this happens, the tour operator will charge the difference between the regular cost of the booking and the discounted rate originally quoted. This is likely why your travel agent has advised you of an additional cost.
I recommend you consult with your travel agent and discuss whether you have any other options available to you. Your travel agent can always approach the tour operator’s customer service department to discuss the matter to see if they may be willing to offer some type of goodwill gesture. Your tour operator is not obliged to do so, but, if you are not willing to pay more for your trip at this time, you may be able to cancel your booking and receive a voucher for future travel for the value of your trip for later use.
Or the tour operator may be willing to change your current booking to an alternate resort in Cancun acceptable to you, which falls within the price point of the travel services you already purchased.
Understanding all your options should help you make an informed decision on how to proceed with your travel plans. It should also afford you some peace of mind before you head off on your getaway.
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