I did... and I'll do it NEVER again!
Habibitours did not pay all booked nights at hotels and I had to pay myself the room again!
What happened? I’ve booked a tour with program across Egypt with accommodation for 10 nights, transfers, visits and so on. Because I wanted to use some add-ons (for example flights instead of night trains Cairo/Aswan and Luxor/Cairo) I contacted them about the details. I agreed with them to stay one extra night at Luxor. Ten days before the tour started I got another confirmation with additional details about my itinerary. Therein also the flight dates. Nothing had been changed.
I came to Cairo Airport and the driver of Habibitours showed-up late, but at least he came. Later I waited twice for the booked driver and nobody showed-up at all. I was brought to my hotel and during the check-in I was told to fill-in an earlier departure date into the registration card than expected according to the confirmed itinerary. The next morning there was someone of Habibitours in the hotel and I asked him about the hotel reservation. After some phone-calls we went to the city centre, I had to wait in the car and I was given an envelope with the documentation of a changed itinerary and the flight tickets. Further we went onto the visit of Sakkara, Memphis and Giza as planned. I was surprised to be the only guest, but I was told that I had been the only one who had booked the trip at the moment.
At the hotel I recognised that the entire itinerary had been changed. All visits were on it, but the journey should end one day than I had booked. One day leisure time at Luxor - which had been very important for me - had been cancelled. And exactly about this point I had contact with Habibitours at the very beginning.
Again the next morning I spoke to the representative of Habibitours and he was unable to do anything else but to promise me to talk to his boss. The driver had the order to bring me at 3:00 p.m. to the airport, while my plane left at 11:30 p.m. to Aswan. I really can imagine spending my holiday better than waiting at the airport. In Aswan and Luxor Habibitours only booked services from local suppliers. Everything took place at the time it should - except a delay caused by a blocked road, where no tour-operator can be blamed for.
With the last plane I came from Luxor back to Cairo. The plane was already late, but the driver was even later. In the middle of the night I had to wait at the Airport to get to my hotel. The driver dropped me in front of the hotel. But there was no reservation. Neither for me, nor for Habibitours. Nobody answered the phone of Habibitours. The receptionist phoned his boss out of bed and I was only allowed to go to sleep, because I guaranteed to pay the bill, if Habibitours would not do. The next morning again nobody answered the phone of Habibitours. But the driver was able to contact somebody and half an hour later I did not need to pay the hotel myself - this time.
At the last destination the hotel only knew that I’d stay one day, although this had been my 9th of 10 nights. The receptionist called with Habibitours and got as answer that they only would pay one night. Habibitours even did not wish to talk to me, but only answered the questions of the hotel staff. I had the choice to pay or to leave. There had been no possibility for me to change my trip and so I paid the last night of the journey I’ve booked with Habibitours twice.
Again in Cairo I have been to the address Habibitours declared to have their office, but there is no office, the address was an empty plot! Today they use another address in the same street.
Back home I asked Habibitours to refund the last night. They declared that they shortened my itinerary, because “in Cairo […] we did give you private car and private guide”. Sure, I had been the only guest at that moment. It seems quite normal to me that one person should not be transferred by coach but if possible by car. Reducing costs this way - nobody had a disadvantage - should always be possible. But slow business can never be an excuse not to deliver what you promised to your customers.
As I experienced in the other places there are good Egyptian tour-operators taking their business serious. No doubt that there are good operators in Cairo as well, but Habibitours is none of them. Only if you prefer to pay your bills twice you’ll find them perfect…