Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Referral FEES- BEWARE!

The tourism industry in Costa Rica is not unlike every other in the world; which means it's FUELED by 'referral fees and commission checks' that are paid to middle-men, go-betweens and other entities trying to make an EASY buck by merely pointing YOU in a certain direction. *I'm not saying this is necessarily a BAD thing... I'm just sayin.

I know you probably already know that, but making the connection when you're actually in the 'situation', it's really easy to me. Take the below and 'add personality' to the people doing the referring:

- the taxi driver who tells you your hotel is booked solid, but of course knows another one JUST as good.

- the VERY likable tour guide who tells you he knows the BEST place to buy souvenirs.

- the tour operator who recommends one 'tour' over another.

- the gregarious gringo at the bar who tells you he knows a GREAT deal on some property in the area.

...AND pretty much ANYONE steering YOU in one direction over another.

It can be extremely difficult to decipher INFORMATION, when really you have NO CLUE and you're literally at the mercy of whoever happens to be dishing the info out... and you can BET there's an AGENDA attached, usually in the name of a NICE little referral fee.

The information given could be accurate or could NOT be, it really may be one of the BEST restaurants in the area, but what you CAN be SURE of- YOU WILL BE GRINGO PRICED! Referral fees and commissions are passed on to YOU the tourist, it's not like it's coming out of restaurant's own pocket. Case in Point: A large group eating at a more 'touristy' restaurant the tour guide 'happen' to recommend- do you really believe the prices on the menu are cheaper than the Soda (what they call small little mom & pop diners here) down the street? *Tour guides do particularly well in the 'referral' business.

REMEMBER: Keep this in the back of your mind when talking to taxi drivers, tour operators, tour guides or ANYONE for that matter, who are seemingly providing FREE information... and don't let your guard down just because they seem SO nice.

Check out our video about and SEE what we do to combat referral fees and commissions:

TONS of Costa Rica Travel Information and Videos on the links to the RIGHT. ENjoY!