Has anyone who has been to Athens dealt with Astoria Travel before? Looking to hear other's experiences.
These last couple of days I have been thinking that what is happening here, is totally absurd. I am facing a couple of detectives that came to a conclusion and I must defend myself to the accusations. I am accused mainly for offering good, personal service, probably something that the people do not get anymore and they tried to find a way to express their gratitude, even if they had never done such s thing in the trip advisor. Most of them wanted to pay me an extra tip but I refused and some of them mentioned that they would send me a “thank you’’ note, and this is what I expected. I did not ask them to write anything. This year until now I had nearly 550 individual customers. If I had asked half of them to write something, they would have filled more than 30 pages of recommendations. I am a post war child and I still remember that people greeted my father in a way somehow different. I could sense a sort of gratitude. Later, I found out that my father belonged to a team of Greek people that during the war, they helped people that needed help. 300,000 died during the 2nd W.W. from famine and a plague that hit the country. My family was lucky because the grandfather in the village in Peloponessus produced the basic food needs. This is the environment that I grew up in. Today, I feel that a foreign visitor to Greece needs help. And this is what I offer, without expecting a reward or an extra tip. The younger ones have never felt like this and do not know the satisfaction that one gets. I have been a travel agent for more than 40 years, and since my father started in a travel agency on Sept. 20, 1926, I grew up in a family that knew to sell service. Now that I am close to 70 yrs I am too proud to turn to cheap propaganda tricks to promote my services. I offer the service, I feel I must do. On the other hand, all the guided tours in Greece are organized by 4 Greek Operators. 3 multilingual and 1 in Spanish. The thousands of Travel Agents, in Greece and abroad, sell exactly the same tours. The Professor that 50 years ago, was lecturing in the faculty of Business Administration and Marketing, he stressed the point that in such a case, we should find a way to express our gratitude to the people for choosing us. I am following his advice. If you ask the Tour Operators, they will tell you that I am there in the tour departures that I have clients, and I meet and thank the people that trusted me. This is the way I express my gratitude for choosing me, and this is something that impresses people. Is this action, punishable? I feel that I am responsible to defend the innocence and the good intention of the people and I tried to. There was no intention of making propaganda. Whoever wants to believe me, he is welcomed to do so.
I believe you, and it is great that you offer these travel services for your customers. However, reviews \ reports should not be posted in the forums - done so by one time posters they will always carry the suspicion that they have been asked to do so by the tour provider.
The best you can do is registered your travel agency for giving reports in the "Review" section, which is where they belong. Posts written in the forums will vanish down the boards and will be hard to find for anyone looking for the reviews. Reviews in the proper section will remain there for others to look up when wanted.Edited: 4:32 am, November 27, 2013
Thanks. I am going to do that. I did not know what they had in mind to do and I did not intend to start such a tricky promotion. The problem is that I haven't kept a record of who they were and I cannot contact them and scold them, or tell them not to doing it again. I am sure they did not know either. Thanks, anyway. At the age of nearly 70, I have to learn new ways, terms and conditions of communicating or praising the services of a guy. If I did it on purpose I would have told them that they should have a history in the trip advisor and then they would be considered more reliable. Thank you again. Lots of "good health" to the older experts.
I believe you too. The problem - and it applies to a number of other companies as well as yours - is that most of the high praise comes from people who have never or very rarely posted before, or about anything apart from how great the firm they are praising is. That will always raise suspicions, as Greek-traveller says.
I'm glad that you took the time and trouble to explain your position, and I wish your business all success. As another oldie - older even than you ;-) - I appreciate work that is well done, and good, caring service.
Recently I booked 2 trips, One day Mycenae-Nafplion-Epidaurus and
3 DAYS/2 NIGHTS - METEORA & DELPHI TRIP (no guide), from Astoria travel and was very satisfied with their service. Kostas, a very reliable gentleman, tried his best to arrange every detail for our trips. He accompanied us until we seated on the train at departure. He booked the same seat number for our departure and return train for us to be convenient to remember. Important is that I don’t think I paid more for a 5 star service. I paid less for the one day tour and for the train ticket comparing with others paid. I highly recommend Astoria travel for Greece travel.
Thank you Yan for the review and thank you for saying exactly what you felt. If I knew that this was the first time you posted in trip advisor I would have asked you to send the review to me instead of trip advisor. You had booked one of the arrangements that I call "exclussive trips of Astoria travel", the 3 days trip by train, visiting Meteora & Delphi. I consider myself lucky that I have built a team of reliable taxi drivers, guys that I call partners. It's been a result of 40 years of experience in the Greek travel market. The success of these trips depends on them and their reliability. They appreciate the work that I give them and try their best to accomplish the task. I do not charge anything extra for their service to my clients, and this is the reason that I asked you to pay directly to them, the money that their service was worth. Thanks again for giving me the chance to meet you.
I recently booked a 2 day Delphi-Meteora tour with Astoria through Kosta. He was able to book this after another travel company cancelled the same tour at very short notice and also at a cheaper price. Kosta was very friendly over email and even came to meet us and make sure we were picked up at the start of the tour. I'd recommend emailing Kosta to discuss any travel plans or tours you are interested in.
My family and I are just back from a wonderful trip to Greece. I'd done some research and bookings before I ran into a brick wall trying to book train tickets to Meteora. Searching around I found a note by another traveller on Tripadvisor, who'd had exactly the same problem and stumbled on Astoria Travel. He'd had a great experience with them and recommended them highly. So I contacted Kosta at Astoria, and am still blessing my stars that I did so!
If we had a good, sensibly planned trip in which we saw as much as we could without being run ragged, it was thanks to Kosta. Over the course of several emails he helped refine my plans; even to the extent of driving us to Delphi himself, as if we'd taken the tour bus we wouldn't have been able to catch the train from there to Kalampaka and so would have lost a day.
He also arranged our train and ferry tickets (to Santorini) -- getting the latter at a cheaper rate than that quoted on the web! I wish we'd done our hotel bookings through him too, as according to my Tripadvisor contact, he got them good rooms again at lower than quoted rates.
I visited them at their office in Athens. It was impressive to see that Astoria Travel has been in business for decades, and through experience have been able to attune their services and offerings to a very wide range of traveller indeed. Their list of contacts is vast, which worked helpfully in our favour: Kosta just picked up the phone and got a taxi to pick us up at Kalampaka station (the taxi's charges were no more than the normal rates, despite being booked ahead).
Moreover, they are a family-run concern, so their levels of friendliness, personalisation of services and traveller support is several notches higher than what a more impersonal agency could provide.
I would highly recommend Astoria Travel not just for booking tickets, tours and hotels, but for help and advice in planning your holiday as well.