Promoted offer for singles not available

In the past few days I have received so much mail from Grand Circle Travel that I wondered how they could offer a decent trip paying so much for mail. I get mailings from them at least twice every week.

A couple of weeks ago (late June ’03) I tried to book a cruise with them that promised free singles and/or only an additional 25% charge for singles. After being told there were no openings, I asked to speak to a supervisor. The representative with whom I spoke admitted to their having mailed out brochures knowing there were no singles left to sell. The rep even laughed about what a good deal it was, either free single or 25% off. Try to get it.

At the time, I was willing to take any cruise they had open. It was suggested I book a year in advance and be put on a wait list.

They couldn’t give me a satisfactory reason for their advertising as they do when not being able to come through. I do not think this is an honest representation, and that brings me to question other aspects of their services.

Overall, I do not dislike GCT. I have traveled with them a number of times. It is convenient for me as I am a widow and don’t want to be alone. However, they have put a distaste in my opinion of their services. I do not get the service and pleasure of traveling with them as I did years ago.


Newhall, CA

ITN sent a copy of the above letter to Grand Circle Travel and received the following reply.

Thank you for taking the time to write to Grand Circle Travel regarding an inquiry from one of your readers. We would like to address her concerns.

As a direct mail marketing company, GCT relies solely upon its catalogs to promote its trips. We have no other forms of advertising, so all our promotional resources go into developing and mailing our catalogs. This, however, has no direct effect on the quality or pricing of our trips.

In regards to the actual booking process of Mrs. Wechsler, the information that was contained in the letter is limited, so we don’t have the actual booking date and the selected tour that interested Mrs. Wechsler. Therefore, I would only be able to comment on the process that was in place when we advertised this offer for free single space or a reduction in the cost of the single supplement.

Please understand that the offer for a free or reduced single supplement was advertised in our brochures, Web pages and special promotions. Due to this high volume of advertisement, it’s possible that when Mrs. Wechsler contacted Grand Circle Travel her specific date was sold out. However, we don’t advertise dates that are sold out, as we have put in place a process that prevents this situation.

The feedback from our travelers is very important to Grand Circle Travel. I will be happy to work with Mrs. Wechsler to help resolve her issue and try to locate a tour that will fit within her budget and or selected time of departure.

ALAN MOULES, Quality Management Department, Grand Circle Travel, 347 Congress St., Boston, MA 02210