Hotels and ferries offer off-peak discounts of up to 50 percent to lure clients, mainly from domestic market

Tourism companies are offering dozens of promotions or discounts that could reduce family spending on vacations until mid-July by up to 50 percent, compared with August, when prices are higher across all tourism services. Informed travelers can save money and enjoy better service, particularly if they choose to holiday outside peak periods, such as August, Christmas and Easter. There is a number of little secrets which can secure cheaper vacations. Negotiating the price of accommodation when the booking is not through a travel agency is always a good method. By booking early, you can secure better prices, or more nights if this is about a long stay. A key feature for families is the discount for children: These can be up to 60 percent, or even free for children up to the age of 12 years old. In practice, bargaining with the owners of small or medium-sized hotels in off-peak season has proven to be to the greater benefit of the customer. Crucially, offers that only mention the destination and the price of the package without specifying the category or the name of the hotel must be thoroughly checked first. Big hotels often offer free parking for stays of more than three or four days. They also make several economical offers but require a minimum number of nights’ stay to make the booking. Quite often they will offer an extra night for a stay of more than six nights. Accommodation prices may also vary depending on whether a room has a view of the sea or not. The range of offers varies according to the destination and the category of hotel. Many big hotel units offer all-inclusive vacations. Coastal shipping companies have introduced a series of passenger and vehicle fare discounts applied successfully in recent years. Yet competition has led ferry companies to a relatively new form of discounts: They offer attractive travel packages which, along with transport via a luxurious vessel, include hotel accommodation at lower rates. They have also made deals with car rental and coach companies. Virtually all coastal shipping companies have joined in this race and provide discounts ranging from 10 percent to 50 percent, depending on their size. The main battlefield is the Aegean and the Greece-Italy route. For instance, ANEK and Minoan Lines offer 30 percent discounts on return fares between Greece and Italy. They also give 10 percent discounts for families and people over 60 years old. For children between 4 and 12 years old they offer discounts of up to 50 percent. Hellenic Seaways also offers a multiple-trip ticket, which gives passengers a 20 percent discount when buying a block of 40 tickets and 10 percent off with the purchase of 20 tickets. Bargains are often easier to find on the Internet. A recent Kappa Research survey has found that the Internet is the second source for choosing accommodation (35 percent, from 27.9 percent in 2006 and just 11 percent in 2003), behind friends’ recommendations (46.4 percent). The same survey has shown that the main priorities for the improvement of tourism should be the upgrade of tourism service quality, cleanliness and better behavior toward tourists.

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