I always advise my friends to shop around and look for value when booking a holiday. The package tour operator has been very prevalent in Ibiza for the last 40 years and has become a dominant player in the market. In recent years, and with the growing popularity of the internet, the manner in which a person books a holiday has changed.

There are now more options available, with many Travel booking sites offering great deals and value. The local Travel agent is experiencing poor sales and buisness primarily due to a changing environment within the travel industry. The landscape and buisness model of the Ibiza travel industry has been shaped and molded by the large tour operators down through the years. They have dictated to the local Hoteliers the type of client and holiday that their buisness should take rather than the other way round.

This has led to the  problems that Ibiza experiences today, with regard to the Ibiza Uncovered image of drunkenness, drugs and anti social behavior. Many hotels depend on the big tour operators to fill their rooms, and as they are the paymaster, the Hotels are happy to facilitate them. This reliance has led to many rooms, especially in the San Antonio area now lying vacant, as tour operator bookings begin to fall and clients look for better quality and value on the internet.

By cutting out the middleman, a person can save a lot of money. The largest profit margin operated by the tour companies was the room sharing charge. This was where a room or apartment was booked by the tour operator for a set fee, as a room only. The operator then charged the customer “per person sharing” for the room, thus maximising their profit four fold. They even charged “under occupancy” levies if the room was not filled by the required amount of people.

Lets take an example of the above action. The Playa Bella apartments in San Antonio bay can be booked through a tour operator or by independent booking, direct with the Hotel. For the purpose of this exercise we will base the Holiday on four adults, sharing a one bedroom apartment for a week, departing the 21st August 2010, from London Gatwick.

Booking direct with the Hotel, the apartment will cost €750,  i.e £150 per person. Booking with a low cost airline on the same dates, even at this late stage, will cost £200 return per person. That works out at £350 per person flights and accommodation. A taxi will cost £60 return as the transfer, so the total cost of the holiday per person, works out at £365 per person.

Booking the exact same holiday, from the same London airport with a tour operator costs £2400…. thats £600 per person, with transfers included.

The saving made by booking independently works out at £235 per person. Factor in the added value of booking  flights well in advance, and another £100 could be saved.