London is home to more than 100 theaters, where in addition to
long-running popular shows such as "Les Miserables" and "Cats," new
shows are introduced regularly.
Clients are advised to buy tickets in advance for major shows.
Fortunately, many tour operators or U.S. ticket agencies sell
tickets for London theater, and some also offer commissionable or
net-price hotel-theater packages.
The six-night Grande Finale plan offered through Applause is an
example of hotel-theater packages available through the agents.
It includes hotel, private car transfers from Heathrow ($29
surcharge for Gatwick), tickets to two London shows of the client's
choice, breakfast daily, service charges and VAT. There's a choice
of 13 hotels, priced from $687 for the Tavistock Hotel to $1,515,
for the Hilton Park Lane.
Following is a sampling of the agencies:
Applause, New York: (800) 451-9930.
Three- and six-night packages plus add-ons.
British Airways Holidays: (800) 247-9297.
The six-night London On Stage is priced from $779 to $1,319,
depending on the hotel. The price includes roundtrip air fare from
New York or Boston.
Edwards & Edwards, New York: (800) 223-6108.
The agency discontinued hotel-theater packages last summer, but it
does pay travel agents $4 per ticket for tickets priced above $50.
Best seating for musical productions such as "Phantom of the Opera"
is priced at about $77 per ticket; dramas from $40 to $60. Tickets
for the English Royal Opera cost about $120.
Keith Prowse, New York: (800) 669-8687.
This ticket agency last year began paying travel agencies a
commission of 10% on purchases of individual tickets to London
theater, opera, concerts, ballet and special events. In addition to
booking apartment stays in London, Keith Prowse offers two-night
Londoners hotel-theater packages with a choice of more than 30
hotels. The plans are priced from $169 through March 31. Add-ons
and a Red Carpet evening featuring a private room at the theater
London Theatre & More, Dallas: (800) 683-0799.
This firm tailors packages featuring London theater, concerts,
ballet, Stratford-Upon-Avon and other cultural offerings. It will
arrange accommodations, city tours, transfers and other tour
components. Prices are net.
United Vacations: (800) 328-6877.
The airline's tour operation has expanded the roster of shows
available through its London Theatre Evening Program. Packages
include the London Shows & Dinner plan, priced from $99, with a
reserved ticket to a performance of any of six shows and dinner
voucher for a two-course meal at a choice of more than 30
restaurants. There's also a hotel package, priced from $254 for six
nights, and add-ons.
Virgin Atlantic Vacations: (800) 862-8621.
A theater add-on is priced at $126 per person, including tickets to
a premium show and backstage tour. One option is to add the theater
plan to an air-inclusive plan, such as the three-night London
Jaunt. That package includes roundtrip air travel from Virgin
Atlantic's eastern U.S. gateways, roundtrip airport transfers,
accommodations, breakfasts, service and taxes. The package is
priced from $439, with accommodations at the Crofton Hotel, to
$951, using the Grosvenor House. Apartment accommodations are also