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Viator vs Gray Line: Tour Booking Sites Compared

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Viator is a choice that will work out the best for those who anticipate needing to communicate with their tour company frequently. This is because the site has 24/7 phone and email support. Gray Line may be a better choice if your looking for unique tours

If you want the best vacation experience abroad possible, it helps to go with a tour booking site. That way you don’t have to just blunder around on your travels, you can get a guided tour to make sure you see everything you want to see in the way you want to see it. Here are two examples including a comparison between their features so you can end up with the best experience possible.

Viator

Viator is actually owned by TripAvisor, so they know a thing or two about travel and vacations. Their tagline is “travel with an insider.” You can get guided tours through the site of all varieties. You can call Viator at 888-651-9785. They will handpick tours and activities for you.

Features

  • 24/7 Live Person Support-The support you receive on the site is round-the-clock. There’s always someone at the helm for the phone line or other means of contact.
  • BBB Accredited-An accreditation through the Better Business Bureau at San Francisco means that you can trust that the site is legit. The rating they received was a “B,” which means they do a reasonable job handling complaints according to the basic numerical rubric through the BBB. This was largely because of the 91 complaints with few of them being closed.
  • Positive Score at TrustPilot-The score at TrustPilot is 8.3 out of 10. This is from over 2200 actual reviews.
  • Low Price Guarantee-If you find a price for a tour that’s lower within 72 hours of booking the tour with Viator, you can contact the 24/7 support team to get a refund for the difference. It has to be in the same currency, however.  This also includes if the price is suddenly lower from the operator at the tour. This doesn’t include concerts, and you have to have paid at least $20 for whatever it was. You can get a refund by emailing Viator with all the information such as your name and booking number, and the details of the lower price.
  • Hot Destinations-This section of the site in the bottom left shows you common tour destinations including Paris, Barcelona, Syndey, Tokyo and San Francisco among others. This can help give you ideas about where you’d like to get a tour.
  • Frequent Flier Miles for Tours-If you spend money on tours, each dollar will give you frequent flier miles with American Airlines or United.

Gray Line

Gray Lien has been around giving tours since 1910. They have many tours available for cheaper rates than some of their competitors. Some of their top tours include tours from Stone Henge, the Grand Canyon, and Versailles.

Feature

  • Extensive Pictures for Tours-Each tour has quite a few pictures you can go through to get a sense for what the tour will be like.
  • Easy to Use  Contact Link-The contact link is in green and right on the right of the main page. You can hit it without even scrolling down.
  • Gray Line Magazine- This magazine actually has some interesting articles for helping you to choose tours, such as giving you examples of “fictional” places you can visit in London from various canons such as the Great Hall from Hogwarts in “Harry Potter” or the Tardis, or Downton Abbey. There’s info about Sherlock Holmes tour locations as well.

Head to Head

Features

The support features are available in the bottom left corner, and you can connect directly to email or phone support this way. The site claims that they try to respond to email in between 12 and 24 hours, with 36-hour response being the maximum. Another interesting program is their feature that lets you earn Frequent Flier miles for American Airlines or Mileage Plus for very dollar you spend. These will come in within 90 days of your travel time.

The Gray Line site gets reasonably good reviews online, including for tours in New York.  The contact link for support features is in the bottom left. Telephone hours appear to be business hours on weekdays only during MST time. There’s also an email form available at this location as well, all on one page so you don’t have to fill out a lot of extra stuff.

Pricing

An example of pricing through Viator includes a Versailles Day tour for the palace of Versailles, the Canal Lunch and the Grand Trianon in Paris. This comes out to a little under $219 USD for a guided 8-hour tour. It also includes a local guide who knows all about the area, as well as a 3-course lunch. You can skip the line at the palace as well. The tours at Viator have a big orange “Check availability” button to make it easy to see whether the tour is still ready. Other Pricing for Viator includes examples such as a $49 “Hop On” tour for New York.  You can just jump on and off the bus whenever.

A guided tour from Gray Line of the palace at Versailles and Giverny will run $204. This is even a bit longer than the one at Viator at 9 hours instead of 8. You get lunch on the Epte River and visit Monet’s gardens in Giverny, in addition, to the palace. The price of food and all tickets are included in the price.  The tour languages at Gray Line such as for the Versailles tour appear to be based on days, with languages like Japanese available on Wednesday and Saturday. Another example is the Hop on Hop Off bus tour of London which is only $46 for 48 hours of access to the bus. This is good for those who like to control their tours more. For something more guided, there’s a $78 tour of London that lasts for 5 hours available here as well.

Overall, Gray Line appears to have more deals within the site already, and some of their tours are a bit cheaper than Viator, although Viator does have the low price guarantee if you want to try Viator at the same price, though there may be circumstances where they won’t honor it.

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Mitchell Wyatt

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