We are frequently asked by clients: “How is Frontiers compensated for their services?” This is a fair (and, frankly, much appreciated) question and the answer is straightforward: For travel to most parts of the world, we receive a commission from our suppliers, at no extra cost to you.
However, there are exceptions, particularly for customized itineraries (most prevalent in Western Europe); for example, trains, rental cars, most airlines, and some smaller, independently owned hotels pay little or no commission. In those cases, we must charge a nonrefundable “itinerary planning fee,” payable at the time of your initial inquiry. It covers our time in the research and development phase of your trip, much in the way you would compensate any professional (attorney, accountant, etc.) for services. We will endeavor to work within any realistic budget, with the belief that travel doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive to be rewarding! You will then receive a comprehensive final itinerary with sightseeing suggestions and all confirmation and contact details along with our insights and incomparable expertise that distinguish your journey.
The fee will be levied at the agent’s discretion and will range from $250-$650 per file, depending on the following variables:
- Trip’s complexity and length (minimum requirement is 5 nights with accommodation)
- Past travel history with Frontiers
- Lead time before your departure (fee goes up if we are inside 8 weeks of departure)
- Anchor components (fee may be lower if you book your air with Frontiers on one of our preferred carriers, or if there is a cruise or tour component vs. noncommissionable aspects)
Another variation on this theme is the “plan to go fee.” Any research, if it’s done correctly, takes time, and a customized trip requires an enormous initial investment of energy and resources with an attached cost. Obviously, we have no way to recoup these costs if you are just gathering information or if you elect not to travel. Thus, if we feel we are facing a tremendous amount of research at the onset and/or an uncertain outcome, we may charge this fee–also nonrefundable. However, if you book the trip, this fee is applied in full toward the final cost.
Value for Money
It might also help your perception of our services to explain our philosophy toward “online booking.” If saving money and getting the least expensive hotel room is your primary objective, Frontiers may not be the best fit for you. We strive to provide unparalleled customer service and often utilize our own firsthand experience and perspective in assisting you with your hotel choice and, in some cases, specific room preference. However, we recognize that we may not always be able to offer the lowest price. There are online booking engines that specialize in helping hotels “dispose of distressed inventory.” This is not our forte. Most travelers are savvy enough to know that the room booked at a given hotel on Expedia or Hotels.com and a room booked through a preferred agent who has a relationship with that hotel are two very different rooms. Frontiers usually confirms reservations directly with each property, involving the Sales Manager or General Manager in flagging you as a VIP client, often negotiating extra amenities, upgrades or special inclusions like breakfast, which can save $50-$100/day. Our travelers appreciate this level of personal involvement and enjoy the special recognition they receive.
While our trips may not be inexpensive, we believe that value trumps price every time. We welcome the opportunity to put our expertise to work for you.