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Tour Operator Kit or Rent in Resort?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi,

We would normally rent kit directly from Neilson/Crystal when booking but is it better to just book direct with the rental shop? I've heard that the shops give the worst kit to the tour operators so maybe we would get better booking direct?

Same thing for lessons, book when we get there or through the rep?

We are heading to Livigno 30th December for a week. Any companies that serve Livigno and come recommended?

Any replies gratefully received.

Thx
Alex
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
TO or pre book on-line.

The on-line discounts are way better than you will get as a 'walk in' customer as the shops know that you will not spend a morning walking around looking for a deal in the resort.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Personally I doubt there's much difference in the quality of the kit. Neilson and Crystal bring a lot of business to the shops they use and have their own reputations to think of. If Neilson customers start complaining to their rep. about poor quality kit the shop will soon get a "Sort it out or we'll stop using you" chat from someone senior. If it's a "We'll deliver your skis to your hotel" type deal it can be harder to reject kit though, as your choice will be what's in the van or walk down to the shop - and if you're going to have to walk down to the shop anyway, why not hire direct in the first place?

Provided you know where you're staying in resort get googling and it shouldn't be too hard to find the convenient hire shops and their prices. You can then as the TO their price and know if you're getting a good, bad, or indifferent deal.

Usual Dadmin hire statement: If you can, hire direct from the shop rather than through brokers. You'll probably get the same discount but they'll get 100% of your money, not what-ever's left after the broker's taken their cut for providing you a convenient, all-resorts website.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Rental shops do not care if you have booked through a tour operator or direct (on line) you will get the same grade of equipment you have ordered.

main thing to note is that the TO will have a set shop you have to go to, to which they are linked, which might not be the easiest for your accommodation, if you book on-line yourself you can choose somewhere near to you. Other thing to note is that depending on the TO and resort some offer free / very cheap ski storage in there offices...i know Crystal do this in Mayrhofen and the office is right next to the main lift to very convenient.

Do not just walk in and ask to hire, you will get higher prices for the same kit, book with your TO or pre-book online, skiset or the like.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I've not booked through the TO for a years, always go direct to a shop of your choosing.

Shop around, find discount codes. Then on top of that I've found that if you email a shop direct and say you've got 'x' price through a website (which takes a cut) then they'll beat that by a bit as well.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
I was told by a shop in AdHz many years ago that it does make a difference to the service and discount you get. I was told that at the time (circa 2005) the TO, Crystal took a considerable chunk of the rental in commission. If you walked in off of he street and asked you would get a 15% discount.

I had prebooked ‘premium’ or similar. I noticed the shop didn’t have a premium grade and that their price was lower than what I had been charged. I asked the rep/complained about being overcharged and got some hokey reply that not all shops in resort charged the same, and eventually got a refund if the difference. I pointed it out to my fellow guests and got bought quite a few pints that evening - Crystal had been doing quite well overselling apparently.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
One reason to avoid the TO for kit the week you are going is how busy it is likely to be. If the TO has busses of people all heading to the same hire shop it can take a long time to get kit. If you book online in advance off your own back you might be able choose a shop less busy.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Personal hire experience and not necessarily typical.
Worst experience with hiring was with a major TO who ran their own ski hire operation in the basement of the hotel, old clapped out skis and boots.
Best experience was with a small independent chalet owner who arranged ski hire with the independent shop next door, price was the same as available online but with the added benefit of a couple of glasses of local "Marc de Savoie" from unmarked bottles every time we returned the skis. Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Even though we no longer rent we drop in to see him when we are in the area and he still gets the bottle out.
For lessons I would always pre-book
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Thanks all for the replies, much appreciated and I will take it all on board and see what the online deals look like versus the TO options.

Cheers
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
The problem with the TO deals, especially the big names, is that they like to have 1 price for ski rental whether you're going to a "top" resort or a small family resort. Whereas we know that the price will differ...

Then the TO goes to the shop and says "Hi guys, we have these 3 categories, Bronze, silver and gold" (or whatever they're called this year) and this is how much money we're going to give you for each category. And then the shop in the big name resort says "but your Gold package is not enough to rent our top of the range skis...." So when the client turns up in the shop having paid for "Gold" skis he's expecting top of the range stuff, but as far as the shop is concerned he's only paid enough money for last year's kit.

I worked in a rental shop, and this was the hardest thing we had to deal with. Upset (understandably) large TO customers who wanted top of the line kit but through no fault of their own simply hadn't paid enough to get it.

My advice is to book direct with the shop where possible. That way you know what you're expecting and you also know you're not being overcharged if you're going to a smaller resort where prices can be a bit cheaper.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I'm fussy so I go into the shop holding folding and 'negotiate' if I see a ski I want

Research the online prices first so you know roughly what they'll settle for. Cash goes under the counter in privately owned shops so you've got that in your favour

**edit** ^^^ This didn't work in Strolz last year and in fact led to rather an awkward scene.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Thu 2-11-17 20:46; edited 1 time in total
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
FWIW. My view is:
- If the Tour operator is giving a great deal, then go for that.....last year, I got Advanced Ski Hire + Lift Pass, for less than the price of the Lift Pass.

- If this is not the case, do your research, so you know the online prices for the various companies....then go in and only hire if they will match them. They are unlikely to let you walk out of the shop. This way you have control over the kit you get. If you have pre-payed, you are tied in and can't (as easily) walk away and go to another shop, if you don't like what you are being given.
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