For front-line travel agents, there is a term which is certain to elicit a “fingernails on the chalkboard” response every time they hear it and which, unfortunately for them, is thrown at them several times a day. That word is “deal“. It is invariably wrapped inside a question like a cold frankfurter inside a stale bun. “Can you get me a really good deal on Europe?” “Do you have any deals currently going on for Cancun?”
From the point of view of the experienced travel agent, the client might as well be asking “Have you seen any Unicorns lately?” Or, “I am in the market for a cute little Mermaid.” (OK, who isn’t?) Or, “I would like to book a flight on a Phoenix departing from, naturally, Phoenix”. The problem is, don’t you see beloved reader, that the word deal is so amorphous, meaning such different things to different people, that it ends up having no meaning at all. If you spend your life chasing a deal, you will end up more frustrated than a blind man searching for the Loch Ness monster in Sasquatch country. I was going to say more frustrated than a lonely man looking for lasting love in a strip club but I was afraid you might leap to unwarranted conclusions about your humble scribe.
May I be so bold as to offer up a substitute term that I believe better captures what you really have in mind and has the added benefit of preserving the collective sanity of travel agents around the world. Next time, try this out for size. “I am looking for a really good value at an all-inclusive beach property in Cancun.”
At first blush, this might strike you as a distinction without a difference. But, au contraire mon ami . . . my little buttercup . . my little wildflower. Don’t ask me why I drifted off into a Pepé Le Pew rift. I have no idea. At any rate, the distinction is very real. The word deal implies you are looking for a bargain basement, rock bottom price with no other considerations. No sane traveler this side of Neptune really wants that.
Suppose I told you I can get you a room in Cancun for $20.00 a night? I probably can, by the way, but I can’t guarantee you won’t be carried off in the night by cockroaches the size of Yao Ming’s sneakers.
By way of contrast, the term value implies that elusive nexus between price and features. When you consider the fact that you most likely have limited vacation time and a finite amount of discretionary funds (we are not talking to you, The Donald), a vacation is way too precious to sacrifice on the altar of a supposed deal. We know you want a good price. That pretty much goes without saying. What is almost always left unsaid is that you want as good a price as possible on a really unforgettable vacation that exceeds your expectations.
You’re in luck. You have come to the right place. That is precisely what professional travel agents, like ours, are trained to do. They find the perfect vacation for you at the best possible price. So the next time you are looking to travel, just think back on your last disappointing travel deal, slap yourself up the side of the head (gently, of course), chug a cold V-8 and remind yourself: I could have had a great travel value.