The holiday season is upon us, the swimsuits are out for ventilation and everyone is busy chasing airline tickets, hotel rooms and all the other important aspects of the dream vacation: right now is the time to hear all the experts' secrets for the right, safe and fun vacation. Israel Hayom conducted a poll among senior figures in the tourism industry, and the answers are here.
Nadav Hanin, VP Marketing and Digital EL AL: "I recommend comparing prices, when it comes to a family trip - it is better to choose a direct flight and be calm about missing the connection or worrying about losing a suitcase on the way. Know that the flight is comfortable and without surprises. In addition, with children and family sometimes the plans change, so you should have peace of mind. EL AL Protect service can be used, which allows additional flexibility to the flight ticket, including cancellation of the trip for any reason."
Hila Hermolin Ronen, VP Marketing and Sales at Israir: "In order to enjoy the best price for a vacation abroad, it is recommended to purchase a package of hotel and flight together and not split. With us, for example, if you purchase a package, it includes a trolley weighing up to 10 kg per passenger free of charge. It is important to remember that when you buy a package through us, you receive a service solution to any problem from the moment you order."
Ben Gurion Airport. "It's worth booking early" (archive), photo: Coco
Tamar Gerson, VP Marketing and Digital at Arkia: "When it comes to a family vacation, you shouldn't wait until the last minute. In holiday destinations, such as; Greece, Sharm and Cyprus, the good hotels, with water parks, in a good location on an all-inclusive basis - close quickly for sale or raise prices due to high demand. Also regarding airline flight hours - when it comes to a family with children, it is important to fly at convenient times (not too early in the morning on the return trip).
Gal Gershon, CEO of Sun d'Or: "When purchasing a flight ticket, I recommend checking carefully what is included in its price. In addition, for those flying to nearby holiday destinations, pack a few things and fly with a trolley. At Sun d'Or we recently launched a benefit: send the trolley to the belly of the plane and receive a $15 voucher as a gift to redeem on the next flight."
Alon Netta, Commercial Director of Air France-KLM Israel: "Today you can enjoy more comfort, space and privacy on wide-body planes on the route to Tel Aviv on KLM and Air France flights. It is recommended to book the flight tickets in advance and thus enjoy attractive prices and check the weight of the luggage allowed on the flight ticket, the weight of the trolley in the Air France KLM group allows up to 12 kg."
Jan Folman, American Airlines Sales Manager in Israel: "It is recommended to follow the various promotions offered on the airlines' website and examine the benefits of joining the loyalty programs offered by airlines that provide benefits and priority in boarding and upgrades. It is also recommended to arrive at the airport about 3.5 hours before departure, book tickets directly through the airline itself and choose preferred seats in advance."
Radu Andres, Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Wizz Air: "Waze encourages passengers to purchase air tickets directly from airline websites and apps, where they can enjoy the most attractive discounts on air tickets and other services. In this way, airlines have a direct connection to end customers and can handle every aspect of the planned trip, especially during the summer holidays with the global challenges facing the entire aviation world."
"Lack of rooms in popular destinations", Acropolis in Athens (archive), photo: Oren Ben Hukhon
Tali Noy, VP Marketing and Sales at ISSTA: "Summer vacations are usually family vacations, so the best tip I have to give is not to spare a professional agent. A family vacation in the summer is an unmistakable event and only a professional agent will make sure the vacation fits the date, price and concept and don't forget to enjoy."
Giora Mandel, founder and CEO of Julio: "The simplest way to save money on summer vacations is to demonstrate flexibility in choosing the destination and dates. As we reach the months of summer vacation, when demand and prices are high, last-minute deals will also be published for those destinations, which are tens of percent cheaper than the original price."
Gulliver Group CEO Ziv Rosen: "Buy travel insurance to protect yourself from unexpected events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies or lost luggage. Book it close to booking your vacation because this way you will protect yourself during a longer insurance period, if something happens before the trip, God forbid, without paying a dollar more. It can save a lot of aggravation and ease unexpected moments."
Boaz Yaakobi, VP of Shlomo Sixt: "My recommendation is to order cars as early as possible. There are shortages, especially in vans, and most importantly – don't be tempted by unusually low prices offered on various unfamiliar websites. Sometimes it's worth investing a few extra shekels to get high-quality service and know that everything will work perfectly, poor service can significantly damage the trip."
According to Shirley Cohen Orkabi, VP of Eshet Tours: "The most important tip for saving on booking a vacation for the summer is that there is no exact formula and each case is individual. Sometimes it pays to book the flight and hotel separately and sometimes as a package, sometimes well in advance and sometimes at the last minute. Keep an eye on prices to know when it's best to book, and always compare as many companies as you can. With the rise of the dollar and euro, it is more profitable to order through Israeli companies where payment is made in shekels."
"In complex destinations, it's worth talking to travel agents", Thailand (archive), photo: Moshe Shai
Amit Goldberg, Travellist's CEO: "In order to find the ideal vacation for the coming summer, you should consult in groups and hear about recommendations and deals, such as the Facebook group 'My brother closed my flight', for example. Before booking, it's a good idea to compare prices and check a vacation package to your destination, which usually reduces accommodation and flight costs. It is also recommended to order from an Israeli supplier so that the order will be subject to the Consumer Protection Law."
Assaf Daniel, CEO of Daka 90: "Our tip, which comes up in every conversation about booking a family summer vacation that includes a flight and a hotel, in the high-demand destinations of Crete, Rhodes, Kos, Athens and Antalya, is to book your vacation early these days. As we enter the peak months, July and August, the hotel rooms sought after by the Israeli public will run out. And even more so when it comes to family rooms in ensembles of a +2 couple or a +3 pair."
Ilan Shalev, VP Marketing of tourism wholesaler Kavei Vacation: "As tourism wholesalers who hold a considerable inventory of rooms purchased at the beginning of the year in demand destinations, we as a company have the opportunity to keep our customers in terms of price, and also provide them with the requested rooms. Therefore, families who choose to book directly with a tourism wholesaler will be able to guarantee themselves the best price at any point in time, and no less important to ensure an address and accessibility to booking at any given moment."
Oren Cohen Maguri, VP Marketing and Sales: "This year, the first of September comes out on a Friday, and a family that orders, for example, a family summer vacation in Antalya for 4 nights, and is willing to skip the first day of returning to school, will save a crazy amount of $700-800 for the same vacation the week before. In addition, Israelis flying on these dates will enjoy a less crowded airport and a lower chance of flight delays."
Nir Mazor, VP Aviation Relations: "It is important to book your vacation with well-known tourism companies, and not on unknown sites in order to avoid aggravation and discover that the reservation does not exist, and of course reading the fine print - will save you money, including extra baggage charges and hidden extras. In any case, it is highly recommended to have insurance for the travel dates, so that if something happens that forces cancellation – there will be insurance. Usually insured three months before the flight."
Cretan beaches, a wanted destination, photo: Getty Images
Ofir Danai, CEO of Ofran: "Although there is a higher supply than last year, this year as well there is a significant shortage of large vehicles throughout Europe, with an emphasis on the southern countries (Italy, Croatia, Greece, France, Portugal, etc.), and therefore I recommend ordering a car as early as possible, in addition to the advantage in case of cancellation that the order is made through an Israeli company is that the customer benefits from the Consumer Protection Law."
Revital Ben Natan, CEO of Ofakim Tourism and Travel: "For the slightly more complex premium destinations, we recommend booking through travel agents, they have extensive knowledge and familiarity with destinations, airlines, airports, flight hours, types of aircraft and thus they can adapt everything to the customers' needs in the best possible way. Travel agents can also provide added value in opportunities and benefits vis-à-vis airlines that try to make premium classes and businesses accessible to a wider audience, sometimes at a relatively low cost."
Yoni Waxman, Deputy Chairman of Ofir Tours: "People have become accustomed to checking flights separately, and hotels separately – it's not always cheaper, you have to take into account the extras that the airlines take on baggage. Lately, trolley is no longer allowed on the plane, only with a backpack, which causes a lot of confusion. It's always better to check Israeli websites for deals that include baggage on flights, transfers and hotels."
"Multigenerational vacation option", cruise ship (illustration), photo: Getty Images
Udi Schnabel, CEO of Norma, Royal Caribbean's sales representative in Israel: "My tip, especially at a time of inflation and a high dollar exchange rate, is to also consider the option of a family cruise, which gives the highest value compared to many land vacations of 5 stars and above. A cruise holiday includes all meals throughout the day, entertainment and more. In addition, there is savings and convenience in the matter of baggage as well - you don't have to pay for excess weight and you don't have to stand in long lines at Ben Gurion Airport."
Gil Gamliel, VP Customer Experience at Diesenhaus Group, which operates Cruise, part of the Diesenhaus Group: "Today, cruises are the destination itself and provide a wide world of content that allows reaching Mediterranean destinations alongside a fine culinary experience. The fact that one of the options is to leave Haifa port, now that most of the packages for summer vacations have already been hijacked, a multi-generational family cruise is becoming a great option that includes attractions on the ship for the whole family, daily trips and at the end of the day back to the ship that serves as a floating hotel."
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