I was recently shopping offline for Grand Canyon bus tours and was surprised to see such price differences. Clearly, it's cheaper to book on the Internet and here's why I think it's like this.
For one thing, it is cheaper for the tour operator to process online transactions. That makes sense. If you call the company, you'll talk to a real person. This individual costs the company money to retain (salary, health insurance, bonuses, etc.), and it's an expense that will be passed on to you.
The way around this additional cost is to book online and conclude the transaction there. Then, should you have questions about your trip, call and feel free to chat all you want about the cancellation policy, the lunch and the side trips. Customer service is always free to use.
The tour companies post their best deals on their websites. That is where you find promotions other dealers do not know about such as great savings on tours to fill up empty seats on buses. Just look at the details before you buy. You don't want to buy an inexpensive tour to find out later it has terms and conditions that affect your experience in a bad way.
Relatedly, if you are trying to book your coach trip within 72 hours of departure, the website is the place to go. You stand a good chance of getting a nice discount since tour companies are scrambling to fill cancellations. When you buy a coach trip like that, it might not be refundable, so be sure you read the terms first to make sure.
Don't let "cyber-security" scare you off from taking advantage of online deals. I've been booking trips on the Web for years and I've yet to have an issue. Unlike other merchants, tour companies are highly sensitive about protecting your financial information. A major operator will host their booking site on a secure and protected server.
Some travelers worry that some trips are not available on the website. The opposite is true. Most tour operators post tour releases on their website first. If anything, you'll have so much to choose from, you might have difficulty making up your mind. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed. Here's how I typically maneuver the selection process:
Decide if you will go to the South Rim or the West Rim. The Grand Canyon Skywalk is located on the West Rim and it is a shorter bus ride too. It's also where you go if you want to take a helicopter to the bottom of the canyon and a boat down the Colorado River. If you care more about scenic beauty rather than adventure, then head to the South Rim.
Whichever rim you go to, plan to be gone all day. The tour to the West Rim takes around 12 hours and the ones to the South Rim take about 15 hours. Although much of that time is spent traveling on the bus, you still get a fantastic experience viewing the unique desert landscape, Hoover Dam, and Lake Mead.
Now you know you get the best deals on coach tours by booking online. Remember, you have to pay for your tour online to get the low rate, but you can call customer service later if you need to clarify information about your tour. A bus tour to the Grand Canyon is fantastic fun for all the family, and it is an experience you will always remember no matter which rim you choose to visit.