Quico Cunha talks about Package Holidays with a difference
Package Holidays with a difference – the rise of the high quality package break
Quico Cunha from the beautiful Mondo Surf and Lifestyle Village in Bali – one of our favourite spots! – talks to us about how they ended up choosing an all-in package type approach, a philosophy Plan B knows only too well 🙂
The so-called Package Deal Holidays always had a bad connotation in my mind growing up as a teenager. I would imagine this group of people following each other and being forced to interact even if they didn’t share interests or the same sense of humour. I could imagine this flag to follow in the hand of a leader too far from reach due to the innumerous heads in front willing to be the best student in class. Then things changed; I traveled more and saw other things on my own and ended up realising the benefits of a good, high quality package deal (not all are high quality, attention!).
As a solo traveler I could feel a bit lonely on some of the trips. Not because I am an anti-social person but because I just couldn’t find the right crowd to mingle. Maybe the locations I was choosing weren’t the most appropriate or maybe the locations I was travelling into weren’t the right match but… I know now that there would be a group out there that would have been the right fit.
As a couple traveler & family traveler, I realised that if I went on a trip without booked activities I would end up missing out on most of the action. Various reasons behind this decisions but could be the price of the activities, bad weather, lack of feeling with the locals, disappointment with the place etc. But the problem was that I was the one missing out at the end of the trip and my bag of experiences was less full. When traveling in a group you also tend to meet & greet fewer people due to the comfort of having someone next to you that already knows you and speaks the same language. You give less attention to new people and the chance of meeting a new person that can become a friend is less likely to happen.
So a big advantage of Package Holidays is that you can basically choose what is included in it: obviously the location which is key, but also the type of accommodation that is attractive to you, trips, tours, activities, airport transfers, meals. You can choose the packages personally to best suit your requirements and desires to ensure a good break and, once arriving at the location, simply be ready to be looked after, relax and have fun on your holidays not thinking or worrying about budget or different tour operators as everything you need and want is already included You can really switch off and enjoy it – which is what a holiday is all about after all.
Also, I think it feels very safe when you have someone waiting for you at the airport bringing you to the hotel/retreat at a new destination you maybe haven’t visited before. Dealing with taxi drivers and shuttle buses after a couple of hours flying is not the most pleasant and recommendable thing to do in some countries.
I started to really see and understand the many befits of Package Holidays being the co-owner of a small place in Bali – Canggu (www.mondosurfvillage.com). We initially started renting our facilities on Booking and Agoda and only after a couple of months did we start offering different sets of lifestyle packages with a blend of activities like surfing, yoga, martial arts and photography, with airport pick ups, massages etc. The difference between guests arriving at our place coming from the two different channels (Booking/Agoda vs Package Holiday) was huge and the willingness to interact of the guests on package deals was making Mondo Surf Village a much better place to stay, more vibrant and enjoyable. It felt almost like the “package guests” had come to have fun and meet and interact with some like-minded people, whilst the others were more insular.
At a certain point, when thinking about running and developing a successful place, we had to take a decision on choosing to mix the two types of clients or not, and we ended up choosing to have only the Package deal clients. This was a hard business decision since Booking and Agoda (and others) move a lot of business in this industry but the positive interaction of the other guests between themselves, the staff, the instructors and management was much more positive and was creating this awesome atmosphere that every guest was aware of right from the start of the holiday.