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When it comes to booking holidays I can be really anal about the planning - my husband thinks I prefer the planning to the holiday!! I have used Direct Holidays several times over the years and have always found them to be completely professional and great value for money. I used them when I booked my holiday in November last year, which we went on in May and they are usually one of my first stops when looking for a holiday. They are owned by Thomas Cook, but seem to be run as an independent company.
Finding your holiday - Brochure or Website?
As I have booked with them several times now I am obviously a fixture on their mailing list and always get a brochure through a couple of times a year. I always like to have a nose through the holiday brochures when I am looking for a holiday (and have been known to pop in to the travel agents for an arm of brochures just to cheer myself up!) They do several brochures for short and long haul holidays, and you can also request these via their website and they are normally sent out within a week. I usually use the brochures to make a short list of ones I like the look at that I will then look at in more detail on the website and trip advisor.
Of course you can also search for holidays on the Direct Holidays website. I just prefer to use the brochure method first as I find it quicker to skim the details on the page and eliminate any that aren't suitable - for instance I am diabetic so I rule out anything without a fridge in the room. The search is really easy to use - You put in when you want to go, who is going, what airport and the country or region you want to go to. You can also cut this further by adding your budget, board type, free kids places etc. It will then bring you up a list of available places. Each hotel has a summary, a full specification and images (and videos if available). I like the initial summary page as you get to see the flight times straight off - and when you are travelling with a toddler this is very important! You can also click from here to see if there are other flight times and room types available. The other bit I really like is the change date tab as it brings up a calendar with the per person price for 2 weeks either side of your chosen date, and you can see if there are any bargains by going a couple of days earlier or later. The only thing I'm not that keen on is the compare function as all it really does is show you the price side by side.
You can book your break via the website or by phone. I have booked both ways - I usually use the internet but as we were taking a wheelchair and I had a few questions I booked by phone. The call centre is based in Scotland and the lady I spoke to - Lisa - was absolutely wonderful. After taking all the usual details of who was going and ages, she checked the price against my internet quote which was matched. She talked through whether we would a disabled room which we decided we didn't, but she said she would put it on the booking requesting a hotel not miles from the main facilities - and we ended up with a room a stone's throw from the lifts which was fab! She also explained who I needed to contact to book the wheel chair on the flight and what info I needed to provide, and put on the booking that we would be bringing crutches in the cabin in addition to our hand luggage at no extra cost. She even gave me her email address so that if I had any queries once I got off of the phone I could send them through. I also booked us seats together for a small fee and our in flight meals (including a kids meal for Little Man) - never a culinary delight but at least they break the flight up a bit!
If you book on line the process is pretty much the same - you type in the names and date of births of all passengers, then you can select your extras and meal requests by using the tick boxes on screen. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes online. Now I know how easy it is to travel with a wheelchair I would go back to online booking, but I would definitely recommend calling them if you have any queries as they were so helpful.
Paying for your holiday
When I booked there was a low deposit offer so I paid this via credit card which has a £5.95 surcharge. However I do it for the protection just in case the company goes belly up! Debit cards do not carry a fee which is good. The rest of the deposit is due 8 weeks later, and they will send you a reminder through the post to let you know, with final balance being due 12 weeks before you fly. You can pay by phone or online regardless of how you booked, and you can make payments at any time before the balance is due - if I had a spare £10 I would pay it off the holiday, although they do send you an updated invoice each time you make a payment and I had about 20 in the end!
Our tickets arrived 16 days before our holiday and came in a cheque book type document with little titbits of information about our destination, when and where to check in and of course our flight tickets. Like most holiday companies now they do not supply luggage tags but they do supply big direct holidays stickers to put on your suitcase if you really want to! This is really the last contact you have with Direct Holidays as once you arrive at the airport you are in the hands of Thomas Cook.
Why choose Direct Holidays?
For me it really comes down to getting the best value I can for my money. Although that you may find a similar holiday a bit cheaper through one of the holiday finder websites, but I am reluctant to book through a tour operator I have never heard of - I guess I am a bit of a coward. I priced my holiday up on both Thomas Cook and First Choice - Direct Holidays was more than £100 cheaper and the flight times from First choice were horrendous (I don't want to fly home at 1 am with a crabby 3 year old thanks!) Also, despite being the same company Direct Holidays gave me in flight meals and an extra 5kg baggage allowance per person included in the price so it was a no brainer for me! You still get your transfers, taxes and rep service but you get to take more clothes!!
As you can tell, I would really recommend Direct Holiday. The service you get is excellent and once you get to the airport you are like every other Thomas cook customer - just a bit smugger! Now obviously I had to look at the website to 'remind' myself what it all looked like, so I'm off to nag Hubs about this absolute bargain I've found for next year...
Never try and price match through this company!!! Even though it is an internet company it will NOT price match against any other internet company so when they say they have a 'price match guarantee'...... they don't.You can book the same holiday cheaper through HolidayHypemrmarket.co.uk or Beatthebrochure.co. Question it and the company comes back with all sorts of excuses...none of them relevant!
Over the years I've booked many summer holidays abroad with different companies. My holiday is very important to myself and my family. Before booking, I research the country, resort and hotel/appartments. I look at review sites but find this confusing. I tend to try to read between the lines and get an idea of whether most reviewers liked the hotel and resort or not. It's hard to tell as we look for different things in a holiday. However, I usually have a good holiday (fingers crossed for this one!) and believe, that after spending all that money on it, and time looking forward to it... I WILL enjoy!
I've holidayed with different tour operators: Cosmos, Mercury Direct, Thomas Cook, Thomsons, First Choice, Eclipse and Olympic Holidays. Maybe I've missed one or two out.
I usually pick a place where my family fancy going and then look at the different flights available and see who offers the best deal. Four, and Three years ago I believed I got a good deal with Olympic Holidays, to Cyprus but then, last year I stumbled across Direct Holidays. It worked out quite a bit cheaper than Olympic and Eclipse. I phoned Olympic to see if they would match the price but was told as my holiday was to take place within eight weeks they couldn't match the price. I thought this lacked foresight as I had holidayed with them on three occasions. They lost my custom!
So, last year we holidayed with Direct Holidays, and are to again, this year.
This company must be Thomas Cooks discounted holidays. I'm not sure how much they are linked but if you want to find certain things out on the website you may find a Thomas Cook link.
When you phone Direct Holidays you always get a friendly Scottish person on the line. Last year, Morag helped considerably with my booking. In fact, I always find this company very polite and helpful. I don't say this about many companies nowadays.
This year I went onto the website, www.directholidays.co.uk and found it easy to navigate. I went to the holiday search and typed in my destination, I had a few choices one being Cyprus, another Zante and Gran Canaria, then the approximate date that I wished to travel. There were a few places that appealed, so I left the site and researched those places. That done, I returned to the site, a few days later, to see what was available. I found prices and wrote them down and then thought I'd telephone and ask for some advice. There were five of us going and we wanted two rooms or studios. As my daughter would be seventeen when travelling she wished for some privacy so I asked about room choices. After a chat with the advisor, it came down to Cyprus and the Sentido Pafian Sun, as this ticked the most boxes and, for what I considered a reasonable price, we could have a studio and a one bedroomed appartment, with a bed in the living room area. I had some doubts as it is a little out of the way but I know there is a bus stop outside the hotel and the bus sevice is quite good in Cyprus. Also taxis should be easy to obtain. A friend also recommended this hotel and said she had stayed there on three occasions.
I was given the same quote as I had received online, which was under £4,450.00. This was with decent Saturday morning flights, departing and returning, with meals and fully inclusive board basis for fourteen nights.
I was asked for a deposit but I asked if I could pay less than this, as the website was offering a low deposit. I was told that of course I could, as long as I realised I had to pay the second part of the deposit in a couple of months. The advisor went through everything, asking for requests and I asked if two of the meals, included in the price, could be vegetarian. I also asked about booking seats together but was advised that if waited until nearer the time I could choose the actual plane seats, subject to availablility, at a cheaper price. I decided to do this.
When the tickets arrived I decided to choose the seats. I did this by visiting the Thomas Cook flights website. This is good as you can see what's available and choose . I chose for both journeys. This cost £75.00 which I know is quite a lot, but I don't like flying, and would rather have my family around. Also, if there is a delay in getting to the airport, it's reassuring to know that we've already booked our seats.
With direct Holidays, meals on the plane and airport transfers are included in the price. Also 20kg of luggage is allowed, as with some tour operators you now pay extra if you want 20kg and are only given an automatic 15kg. I don't travel light!
The flight is Thomas Cook with check in, coach transfer and reps all with Thomas Cook. It is a ThomasCook holiday but at a reduced price.
I have retrieved quotes from other well known, and so called bargain tour operators, but my holiday has come out very well price wise. In some cases it has ben almost £1,500 cheaper, which I think is a great saving.
Less than two weeks after booking, confirmation arrived by post. also, after any further payment is made a new invoice is sent. I nalso received a reminder ehen time to pay was approaching. The invoices are clear with the amount to pay and what has already been paid, clearly stated. All details are on the invoice.
When the time came to pay the rest of the deposit, I did this by phone, using a card.
My daughter had stopped eating meat since I booked the holiday so, today I rang Direct Holidays again, to ask to switch her meal to vegetarian. Again, the customer advisor was very polite and helpful.
I have just booked my 2nd holiday through direct holiday. They are absolutely brilliant and cannot fault them in any way at all! We started looking for a holiday last yr and couldn't believe the brilliant deal we found to the canary islands for easter this year on their website.. we booked it immediately online which we found easy and straight forward. The price even included our meals on the plane and an extra 5kgs on our baggage allowance! The holiday was brilliant, so much so we decided to book through them again this yr as we couldn't find anywhere that could even match their prices (thomas cook was over £300 more expensive for the exact same holiday, flights etc!). This yr i booked on the phone instead of online. I found them to be excellent on the phone, found me exactly what i wanted and dealt with my whole booking quickly. The lady i spoke to even told me about the hotel i booked cos she had been there herself!
Direct Holidays are a company I knew very little about until last year. I was starting my Summer holiday hunt, and came across the website. I immediately saw that they were part of the Thomas Cook group and this reassured me, Thomas Cook are a really well known travel agent who I have booked many holidays through.
The website is the same layout as most other holiday companies sites. It is very simple to use. On the right hand side of the page is a box for you to enter all your information. This includes where you want to fly from and to, the date you wish to depart, how long you wish to stay for, how many people will be going on holiday, and the hotel rating and board basis you wish to look for. Once you have entered this information you simply press 'Search'.
Your holiday results will appear quickly. You are then able to organise these based on price, resort, star rating or board basis. Booking is easy too, you just press 'Get Quote' on your chosen hotel, and you will then be shown the total cost, and a summary of what you are booking, including the room type and flight times. At this point you may be given the opportunity to upgrade your room type at a cost depending on what hotel you are staying at. If you press continue again on this page you will be taken to the 'Passenger Details' page to enter the information of all the people going on the holiday. Following this you will enter payment details, then that is it, you're done!
Last year I was looking for a holiday to the Dominican Republic. I had originally seen my holiday on the Thomas Cook website, but noticed there were a few different prices for the exact same holiday. I have since discovered this is because several of Thomas Cooks tour operators do sometimes sell the same holiday, and at different prices. For example, in my case it was Direct Holidays and Airtours, exact same holiday, hotel, flight times etc, but slightly different prices. I decided to look on the Direct Holidays site, and found that the holiday was a lot cheaper on there. The first thing I did was ring my local Thomas Cook store to ask if they could match the price, I did not think there would be a problem as they are all part of the same group. Thomas Cook however were not interested, and told me they could not get anywhere near the price. I had a quick Google, to see if we had any Direct Holiday shops nearby, as I prefer to book in store. I found out we did have a store, but it had been closed down, so it looked like my only options were to either book online, book over the phone or pay more to book with Thomas Cook.
I decided to call Direct Holidays to book my holiday. I was not waiting long at all to speak to somebody, and the lady was very helpful. She told me that unlike Thomas Cook they include 20kg luggage and in flight meals as standard which I was impressed by. It was all booked within 15 minutes, and I received confirmation in the post within a couple of days.
I had only a minor problem in the lead up to my holidays. I paid off my holiday over the phone, which was very simple, all automated and done within minutes. However, the invoice I received said I still had money to pay. A quick phone call to them and it was all sorted out. The only other problem I had was with Thomas Cook airlines, Direct Holidays were not interested in helping me telling me to get in touch with the airline direct with this which was a little irritating. Other than that, everything was straight forward. Our holiday was great, and we got a bargain. Although I prefer to book in store, I would not have a problem with using Direct Holidays again if the price was right and would recommend them to friends and family.
I have taken four holidays now with Direct Holidays and I cant fault the service.
I book all the holidays online inc pre booked seats, upgrading room etc, paperwork arrived quickly & was easy to understand.
Only downside to Direct holidays is they dont seem to have the same rep service that other tour operators have, so day trips ect seem to be limited.
If you want to find a holiday which will be cheaper than other tour operators the Direct Holidays are def worth a look, me and my partner bought a holiday to Zante, B&B for 7 days & it cost £400 all in which was at least £200 cheaper than I could find it anywhere else.
I dont really have any complaints about this company, the service I have received has always been good, pretty much what you would expect from a holiday company.
This is def the first company I look at when im looking to book a holiday.
If you want a straight forward booking use Chevron, if you want some additional help, forget it, Chevron seem like a "Stereo" customer services team. If you want some assistance i.e. calling for additional rooms or upgrade of flights, they won't put themselves out to call the hotel or airline. I have asked to prebook seats for my family and the response is, call the airline yourself which by the way Air Malta do not have any record of the booking at this time! I call Chevron who tell me they dont get conformation of the booking until 3 weeks before hand, they can only request the amount of seats at this time, which is quite worrying. They do not deserve getting the business and I wish I gave my money to someone who wants to earn the commision!
Last September my girlfriend and I went on our first holiday together, we found a great deal after hours of searching through travel agents, teletext and the internet. The deal was so good that when we told an employee of a rival agency that we were just checking to see if we could get anything better before deciding she told us that we were crazy - there was no way we could possibly get it cheaper. I can't remember the exact cost but it was around £250pp for a week half board in a 4 star hotel in Salou. I can have no complaints about the hotel apart from the food was not brilliant but there was a fairly large buffet selection. The hotel was excellent and overall it was great value for money. The plane was small and cramped but this is normal. As far as I'm aware kid's clubs when available are not included in the price and you can either book them while booking the holiday or on arrival, the club at our particular hotel seemed very popular and organised.
Booking the holiday was simple and unlike many companies had no hidden costs or taxes, any extra costs were either included in the cost or detailed at the time (such as in-flight meals & airport taxes). Booking can be done through the internet or in one of the high street stores where the staff are very friendly. The UK staff were very helpful in answering our questions and giving us a description of the area and things to do. I didn't take the insurance which was reasonably priced as I have union travel insurance but as far as I'm aware Direct Holidays' insurance is just about as cheap as anywhere else. Everything seemed to go flawlessly from the booking of the tickets, arriving at the destination and the holiday itself.
There was however a very dark-spot on our holiday experience, on the return journey just as we were about to take of there was a massive thunder storm. The power went out at the airport and after a 3 hour wait on the runway we were told to exit the plane, not much was done to inform us of what was happening. Back at the airport we were given stale rolls and rubbery cheese after waiting in the airport itself for another 4 hours. I felt sorry for the people with young children. There were no facilities and nowhere to go in the small airport. The airport staff were very helpful and some of them stayed even after the airport closed for the night (while we were still in). After a further 2 hours in the airport we finally got send to a hotel 2 hours away in Barcelona, I must say it was a very nice hotel and the rooms were great. But after spending half the night in a cold airport anywhere would have done. In Barcelona we were told we could go to sleep and get up at 11am for breakfast but when we got up we were ushered onto the bus for the return two hour journey to the airport. Once there the plane was delayed for another 2 hours. All in all we went 21 hours delayed without a hot meal! I'm not even sure this is legal! It wasn't the fact we were delayed that was the annoying thing, it was that we weren't treated like paying customers and weren't informed throughout. To add insult to injury we didn't get our in-flight meal which we had paid for as the meals from the night before had gone off and apparently the airport did not have facilities to make new meals.
Delays can of course happen to any travelers and tour companies, although I accept this the treatment we received from the reps and the aftercare from the company was sub-standard. The reps in general seemed unknowledgeable of the area and quite new to the job - their customer service was simply not up to scratch. This being said, all other Direct Holidays staff were very helpful and friendly.
When we returned I informed Direct holidays of these events and didn't even get my money back for the in-flight meals never mind compensation. The only up-side was the curry I bought when I finally arrived home was the best thing I ever tasted!
I have travelled with direct holidays now for 3 years and never been disappointed yet. Very helpful staff when booking your holiday some of them can give you an incite on what the place is like that you are going to. prices are very cheap no one has ever beaten them yet when i have compared them Reps out at the destination are very helpful and there not like some companys where the rep is very hard to find. we were delayed 12 hours this year the first time ever and that was coming back from rhodes but evrything was sorted out at the airport very quick and we were put in a 5* luxury hotel which was out of this world until another flight was available. We were also given free meals and drinks in the hotel and free drinks on the flight and of course your compensation when you got back home. Well done direct holidays you have a customer for life.
This year my husband and I decided that we would holiday out of season, and chose to visit Malta in late October. The usual rush to the Travel Agents revealed a variety of choices on the surface, but when browsed at home it became apparent that most holiday companies would book at the same hotels , yet the prices were often vastly different. By chance, I happened to notice an advertisement in one of the Sunday papers for a travel company that deals only in holidays to Malta: Chevron Holidays. I visited their website; www.chevron.co.uk and was pleasantly surprised to find and easy to follow, well planned site. We bookmarked the site, sent for their brochure, and compared prices. Because they do not deal with travel agents, the same holidays that were in the brochures were also available from Chevron at a much more competative rate. We decided, by looking at the brochure, which incidentally arrived within a few days, on the hotel we would like to stay in. Although the website is very comprehensive, their is no facility for on-line booking, just a phone number to ring. Expecting to be held in a long queue, I phoned. The phone was answered almost immediately by a very courteous young man, who proceeded to take my details, checked availability of hotels and flights, in fact, within 10 minutes the holiday was booked, deposit paid, and I was enjoying a cup of tea! The balance of the holiday was paid by the date stated on my invoice, which the company must have sent out straight away, because we received it 2 days later. Tickets arrived, as advertised, 2 weeks before we were due to fly out, and we thoroughly enjoyed our week in Malta. Never having booked a holiday direct like this before, I was a little wary before the event, but having used them, I would definitely book with Chevron again. The one thing I feel they perhaps could improve is the availability of on-line booking, although telephone booki
ng was really no problem, just the effort of picking up the phone!
The level of service offered by Direct Holidays is superior to any other holiday operator I've ever used. Last year a group of friends and I went to Gran Canaria with Direct Holidays and from the very moment we landed on the island, to the moment we left the level of service offered by the direct holidays reps was absolutely brilliant! The reps were always there when we needed them, with advice on the best places to visit, eat and drink, and they arranged a wide variety of really good value for money trips out - one of the nights we ended up staying out till 5 in the morning and were due to be picked up for a catamaran cruise at 8, obviously having had only 3 hours sleep, we werent ready to wake for 8 'o clcok, so when we didnt arrive to be picked up, the rep was good enoguh to come and wake us, and rearrange for the bus to come and pick us up a little later. Also, half way through the holiday, one of our friends became ill and our rep, Hew, was great - he sorted out all of the flights home and coach transfers for us. So if you're planning a holiday abroad, and want complete peace of mind that you'll be taken care of by your rep, go for Direct Holidays!
I have had three great holidays with Direct, and always found them to be a really good tour company. They have their own reps in each resort and in general they are really good at their jobs. I think one reason for this is that they seem to go for reps that actually have good people skills and an enthusiasm for the job rather than the usual 'dolly bird' type that look good but are not suited to the job. One big problem that I now have is that Direct have started to charge supplements from Scottish airports. At the beginning, when this was a Scottish company, there were little or no supplements. The only time that supplements were charged was at really busy times, and even then it was only about £10 per person. They are now quoting their supplements on a per person per night basis, which is something I don't like. Certainly up until now Direct Holidays have been a really good company - I only hope that being bought up by Airtours (one of the worst!!) does not do them too much damage.
Ive just returned from tenerife and booked this holiday with direct-holidays.They are a direct sell company who cut out the middle man(travel agent).When i decided to book my holiday,the hotel i had chosen happened to be in 7 differant holiday firms brochures.Direct-holidays were £100 per person cheaper than the best of the rest.I was on an airtours flight where in their brochure(airtours) they were charging £49 flight supplement,where as in direct-holiday,s brochure the supplement was -£20,yes minus £20.In resort each hotel has its own direct-holidays tour rep,where as the other big firms reps were covering 2-3 hotels.I have already booked next years holiday with direct and so should you.