One thing that does spread like wild fire is bad news. Unwanted Shopping Stops are one of those nuances that have come up as one of the main nuance of private Tour. Before getting into the nitty-gritty of this , I want to tell you 2 things:
1. It is your tour ( all private tours are) and you own it. If you think someone is making un-necessary stops for shopping without your consent , you need to be assertive and say NO. Not rude just letting the other person know.
I know of various reasons where tourists are unable to say anything , either just culturally they are very accepting and private, or just find difficult to refuse or are plainly sold/fooled into something. While all these reasons for staying passive may be justified, they do encourage such unwanted shopping trips by the ecoystem.
2. You need to report to your Tour Operator about any pressure tactics ensued by your guide or driver.
Everytime you dont report , the operator is unable to take any action and thus there is no scope of improvement or change. It not only affects your own experience but also affects the ecosystem as it encourages the same unwanted behavior in future assignments.
——————-Now that we have clarified what should be done and how , I can perhaps tell you a little story- of what we learnt when we started with travel business in India . Its a little philosophical , a little opening a can of worms, but nevertheless for those interested to read can continue.
First thing I would like to state very clearly is that IdiscoverIndia.com does not promote any shop and take commission in return. Over the years we have been approached by many, and I would be honest to admit that at one time or two I have considered aligning with shops to send them customers, but we never did that. It was primarily for 2-3 main reasons :
1. All our tours are private and built exactly as per what our guest wants or what we think is an experience that our guest would like to embrace. So fitting shopping into scheme of things was difficult.
Now I understand this logistic issue is very easy to handle in Group tours, where the large group tour companies invariably make such pre-determined shopping stops . Interestingly the companies have tie-ups ( although they never claim it and can never be proven to) , but even more interestingly people dont object or raise their voice that much.
2.We did not have a way of knowing whether we got the correct referral money. We could have possibly agree on commissions from the store but how would we know what the guest bought other than what the shopkeeper tells us. We dont leave an integral part of our business( in this case earnings) on hearsay. It has to be part of full-proof and predictable process.
3. Lastly we overestimated our guest’s ability to say NO to any such unwanted shopping stops.
So if you look it , shopping and everything attached to it so much an intrinsic part of this ecosystem, that its only YOU who can undo its ill-effects.
PLEASE SAY NO TO UNWANTED SHOPPING STOPS AND REPORT TO YOUR TOUR OPERATOR .