I have recently booked our own Dominican Republic Holiday, for a family of 6, and as I explored the prices with the main UK travel agents online I was amazed at how their prices would vary – even when looking at the same hotel! We saved almost £2000 in total. Read on, and I hope I can help you do the same!
Start with the Printed Brochures
Whilst I always book my holidays online, you really can’t beat flicking through the pages of the tour operators’ brochures for shortlisting your preferred regions and hotels, and for checking out the early booking discounts available to all (although in practice you can expect to save even more than this by booking online).
We found the brochures invaluable in helping us decide on a Punta Cana hotel, and it was much easier checking the facilities of individual hotels this way rather than viewing each hotel’s details online.
For the Dominican Republic we went through brochures from Thomas Cook, First Direct, Cosmos, Airtours and Thomson.
Hint – At this stage, don’t dismiss any Tour Operator based on price alone!
Going Online to Check Availability and Price
I expected Thomas Cook or First Choice to give us the best prices. For First Choice in particular, the headline price in the brochures looked amazing. Therefore it was a real surprise to find that when I went all the way through the booking process, with all the supplements and extras added on, that other companies came out significantly cheaper.
Other Ways We Kept the Prices Low
Check child prices versus adult prices – We spotted this anomaly weeks before it featured on television. Some of the online discounts only relate to adult prices, and when occupancy supplements are applied (as children do not count towards occupancy levels) you can find children are charged at a higher rate than adults. For example we found when we priced a room for 2 adults and 1 child that it came out significantly cheaper than when priced for 1 adult and 2 children. It can be the case in this situation that the first child receives the bigger discount and the second child is more expensive than the adult.
I don’t believe this is a deliberate attempt by any tour operator to discriminate against families, but just an
accidental result of the complex pricing structure of many holiday. So we ‘promoted’ our 11-year old to an adult.
Split the booking into two – As we needed two rooms, we saved even more money by splitting the booking into two.
This was because there was a reduction per booking at the time we made our reservation. Of course, we had to sacrifice any chance of the rooms being adjacent, but we were happy to do so for the extra discount.
Who Worked Out Cheapest for Our Dominican Republic Holiday?
We are going to the Superclub Breezes hotel in Punta Cana in late July, and both Thomson and Airtours offered us a really good price, and we chose one of these and saved almost £2000.
It is also worth noting that Thomson have now announced they are not charging fuel supplements on any of their package holidays.
However, the cheapest tour operator for you will depend upon your destination and date of travel. We reckon you’ll do best with Thomson or Airtours for Punta Cana Hotels in the Dominican Republic, but do recommend you check the prices with all the main tour operators when you are making your booking to ensure you benefit from any current offers and discounts.