Bales Worldwide is attempting to alter the perception that its holidays are more expensive than its rivals.

Managing director Mandy Nickerson said the operator is introducing a Price Match Guarantee for Egypt and India to encourage agents to negotiate on the prices it offers.

The guarantee will see the operator match or better any price for the same itinerary a customer has been offered by a rival operator. If successful, Bales could roll it out to further destinations.

Nickerson hopes the offer will drive business to Bales, adding: “There’s no doubt we’re down [in sales] but we’re doing better than I thought we would be.

“People have got a perception that Bales is more expensive and won’t give us a chance. If we tell them we’re price matching then they will probably call back and give us a chance.”

Nickerson added the move has been made as even big-spending customers become increasingly price-sensitive due to the recession. She said: “People who might have accepted a price are now challenging it and a lot more ­people are asking for discounts.”

However, Cox and Kings senior marketing manager Paul Hopkinson said he thought it would be difficult to make the offer work on the different itineraries available through luxury operators.

He said: “It would be very hard to price-match that kind of proposition as tours can be structured completely ­differently. While it is easy to price-match a beach holiday, when you’re trying to match expertise and service, it is very difficult.”

Meanwhile, Cadogan Holidays ­managing director Tom Allen agreed the luxury market has changed.

He said: “Agents are doing a lot more price comparing between operators and with the internet people are becoming more aware of price.”