I called LL a year ago to lament all the meals for two, massages for couples, and villa/castle deals for an intimate group of 14. We solo travellers have no interest in the single supplement, do we? NO! We want a fabulous room (spare us the twin bed, thanks), a guy standing at the airport with our name on a sign, and fancy bottled water in the mini bar. OK, some of us will do the bottle of champagne. If massages for two are on the docket, why can't we have one on two different days? Or two different excursions? Or? How 'bout the either-or special, acknowleging that we exist, we fill vacant rooms, we like first class, we like a room with a view. Don't mind flowers or chocolate, but prefer a good room at the best hotel. Hey, been known to take a suite here and there, too. But whenever some ill-informed restaurant host says: just one? I answer: I am more than enough!
Out of curiosity, what did LL say in response to your feedback? I've mostly worked directly with the properties regarding 'adjustments' to the packages, but it would be great if LL could do some negotiating on our behalf as they no doubt have much more clout than we do.
Your comment about the restaurant host is funny -- I think that what these people fail to remember is that most restaurant critics dine solo. I used to review restaurants and any place that gave me poor service or a bad table because I was on my own got what they deserved in the review.
The Single Supplement sucks! It is also patently discriminatory against the lone traveller. Though my wife and I usually travel together, I have gone to a number of countries around the world on my own (while she was still working as a teacher) such as Peru, England, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Each time, I was hit with the &%#@* supplement and I hated it. Just don't see why resorts and hotels adopt a "per person" charge regardless of how many people stay in a room? Can't really understand what having another body in a room does for the hotel's bottom line? Sure they pocket twice the money, but all their facilities, especially the all-inclusive dining rooms and bars are used by two people instead of one. On the other hand, if they dropped the Single Supplement, they'd likely get a lot more people who travel alone buying the packages than do now.
I too loathe the single supplement (aka the rip-off fee, as named by a friend of mine). To add insult to injury, the single traveller often gets stuck with the worst room in the house while paying more (you need to be especially careful on the Continent, I've found).
I understand that there are certain overheads that need to be met regardless of how many people are in the room, so I can see a 10-20% fee as somewhat reasonable for a place like a safari camp where they only have 6 tents and no way to make up the money. But for a 200-room city hotel to charge a 50% single supplement is criminal. Personally, I'll just stay somewhere else -- and make it clear to the hotel that the single supplement is why I'm going elsewhere. The only way to convince the hotels to change is to make it clear that the supplement turns people off and drives them to stay at competing properties. I also make a point of making it clear how much I appreciate luxury properties with no single supplement -- this is one of many reasons why I've travelled so often with CC Africa.
The other place where you can get stung as a single traveller is at restaurants. Some places fawn over couples but will always give the solo traveller the worst seat in the house (even if the house is half-empty), and basically ignore you. I think they fail to realise that many (if not most) restaurant critics dine solo -- as I mentioned to 10CaratBlue I used to review restaurants and any place that gave me lousy service because I was on my own got an awful review.
Message Edited by jashermd on 03-26-200702:07 PM
That's a very appropriate way to describe the Single Supplement: the "Rip-off Fee" or ROF. I'm very glad to hear that some travel companies, like CC Africa, don't apply this ridiculous fee to folks who travel soslo. And, you're right.I hadn't thought of how it's applied to single customers in a lot of restaurants. It really is quite shameful and in the long run does them no good, as word-of-mouth will ensure that many prospective customers will stay away.
Ironically, the ROF at some mid-range safari camps is so bad that it makes luxury places like CCA much better value for money if you're a solo traveller. For the same amount of money as a mid-range camp + ROF a solo traveller can stay at a CCA luxury camp. The choice is pretty clear to me!
One way to avoid the ROF at least some of the time is to travel out of season (which I often like to do anyhow as places are much less crowded). I've had good luck negotiating reduction / elimination of the ROF when travelling in shoulder or low season.
How about that: the best way to beat the ROF is to travel OOS (out of season)! I hadn't mentioned that in an effort to not spill the beans on a very good thing...My wife recently retired from a long career in teaching, so suddenly last September we found ourselves for the first time in the enviable position of being free to travel in off-peak seasons! Until the, it was always March Break or summertime for our trips (when prices just about everywhere were at their highest). One of the first things that struck me was that not only could both of us travel together at much less cost than before, but each one of us could, if we wanted to, travel solo at a considerable savings than before. So, now my travel mantra will be: OOS beats ROF!
I'm an academic as well so I fully understand what you mean about getting stuck with high prices during term breaks (as well as hordes of screaming kids...not ideal travel companions). Fortunately Oxford has short terms which don't run in parallel with most other universities and schools so it's still possible to travel out of season while teaching there.
Interestingly, there was a movement by the UK education authorities to put pressure on hotels and holiday resorts not to bump to the prices up during term breaks, as there was an increasing problem with parents taking their kids out of school early to avoid the price hikes! Unfortunately it didn't really go anywhere and the prices are still rather high.
I wish the movement in England by educators you refer to had spread worldwide. Then, with the voices of hundreds of thousands of teachers and their families ringing out loud and clear against Rip Off Fees (ROF), the travel and accommodations industries might have sat up and taken more notice. And, given the outcry by such a huge segment of the travelling public, there may actually have been some long-overdue changes made to the pricing structure of travel in times (such as our March Break here in North America) when people in the educational sector are on holidays. I'd like to see LL Contributors in the vanguard of such a movement to eliminate ROF as well as the hated Single Supplement.