How to Identify a Credible Agent in Bali
What is a Credible Agent?
When looking for a company that you can trust in Bali Indonesia, you need to have a number of factors ticked off that provide you with the certainty you require.
You need to be assured that you are dealing with someone who is reputable and honest, not someone who is sitting on the other side of the world with a laptop, creating an impression that they are a company in Bali. These fake agencies often provide a mobile phone number to a friend or driver to represent them in Bali.
Consider, will this fake company deliver the products and services as promised? For example will they be able to collect you when you arrive at the airport, will they be able to support or assist you if an issue arises?
Often this is not the case, BEWARE!
How to Know Whether an Agent is Credible
We have set out five important points to make it easy for you to identify whether a company is credible. Look at their:
- Membership of Association
- Payment systems
In Indonesia the name of the company generally commences with either a CV or PT. Foreign direct ownership is shown as a PMA. This verification gives confidence to clients who are going to deposit money with an agent, to know they are dealing with a legally registered entity.
Check the office address, telephone number and how long the company has been in business. Addresses in Bali have a Jalan (street) and sometimes a Gang (a small side street or pathway) in the address. Do not be concerned to find both in an address.
When telephoning, check to see that the numbers are as follows; Bali land based telephone numbers usually have 6 digits and commence with a +62361 or 0361. A Bali mobile number usually commences with the +628 or 08 numbers.
Additionally you can also check the owner or registrar of the website by putting in the website/domain name on the search bar on Who.is to verify the agent.
2. Membership of Association
Hospitality companies and agents in Bali Indonesia, generally, to show credibility have membership of a hospitality association.
Association of the Indonesia Tours & Travel Agencies (ASITA) is for companies that are travel agents and Bali Villa Rental Association (BVRA) is for villa rental agents only.
There are some major differences between a travel agent vs a villa rental agent in so much as, a travel agent must be a PT and has a larger scope of business that includes undertaking villa rentals. A villa rental agent on the other hand can either be a CV or PT however they can't be a travel agent and sell tours, hotels and such, they can only sell villas.
Natan Hospitality for example, is a travel agent and a member of both BVRA and ASITA. It has the capability to sell villas, tours, hotels, fast boats and much more.
You can check on both the BVRA and ASITA websites to ensure that the agent is a member. They will be featured with their company name, address and telephone number. An online form is also available, asking for questions or comments that can be forwarded to them from these sites.
As many of you are aware, other agents to boost their credibility can forge testimonials. An unfortunate reality is that friends and family can also write them, therefore you don't know whether they are true or not.
Check to see if:
- a) testimonials presented in a different format are featured on the website
- b) there is a photo gallery showing the guests
- c) there is other proof, such as testimonials from partners and photos of staff on the site
- d) the agent has a review from real customer at Trip Advisor or other travel forums
4. Payment Systems
Look at the terms and conditions of the agent for reservation and payment conditions, and check if the agent has or accepts:
a) Credit Card payment
The bank issuing the credit card machine will physically and legally verify the company. A company without the correct legal documentation is unable to become a credit card merchant.
b) DOKU online payment
DOKU is an Internet payment gateway that cooperates with some local banks. An agent must apply to join DOKU and have the correct legal documentation otherwise they are unable to use this service.
c) PayPal verified business account payment
There are 3 type of PayPal accounts:
- Personal Account for individuals who shop online
- Premier Account for individuals who buy and sell online
- Business Account for merchants who use a company
Make sure your agent has a Business Account. The agent will need a Company Bank Account to withdraw the funds from its PayPal Business Account. Please refer to information related to Company Bank Account below.d) Company Bank Account
Never send money to a personal bank account it should only be sent to a company bank account. A personal bank account is a clear indication that the agent you are dealing with may not be credible. A company without the correct legal documentation is unable to have a company bank account.
BEWARE of low rates offered by an agent. All agents have contracts with owners they must adhere too. Ninety percent of villa owners in Bali issue one flat rate price to agents that are passed onto guests. Discounted rates can be issued for last minute and long stay bookings.
If an agent offers you a lower rate for a normal, regular booking, this agent may:
- a) not honour their contract with the villa owner
- b) want confirmation of the booking and get your money as soon as possible
- c) may bill you hidden, extra charges later.
Do not put your or your family holiday at risk for a slightly lower rate.
These 5 key points are the copyright property of Natan Hospitality. Natan Hospitality meets all these identified points mentioned above and is considered one of the most honest and trustworthy companies in Bali, Indonesia.
*** Please note that this article may appear on other websites without the express permission of Natan Hospitality and does not ensure they are a credible agent.
We hope this information has been useful in assisting you to identify a credible agent and make your holiday a trouble free one.