WHy do you work with a TA?

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#1
Florida
868 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
In this day and age, what is the point? I could call any of the cruise lines right now and have a cruise booked in less than 10 minutes without leaving my couch. I always like to call because it helps out the agent (hopefully they get extra for the booking, rather than helping the line and booking on the web) plus, its fun to book on the phone!

What say you?
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#2
87,543 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
A TA is able to offer amenities such as on board credits that you cannot usually get from the cruise line. Most important the TA is your advice should something go wrong including any issues with the cruise line.

Keith
#3
Southern California by way of Kentucky
19,436 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by Keith1010
A TA is able to offer amenities such as on board credits that you cannot usually get from the cruise line. Most important the TA is your advice should something go wrong including any issues with the cruise line.

Keith
Sorry..but introducing a middleman for a few amenities isn't worth it to me..After many years of cruising I luckily have never had a problem that I couldn't handle with RCI myself..And for those that do use a TA...read the fine print and understand cancellation fees, price reductions, availability of your TA on week-ends etc. etc. so there are no surprises.
#4
87,543 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by Ashland
Sorry..but introducing a middleman for a few amenities isn't worth it to me..After many years of cruising I luckily have never had a problem that I couldn't handle with RCI myself..And for those that do use a TA...read the fine print and understand cancellation fees, price reductions, availability of your TA on week-ends etc. etc. so there are no surprises.

Well, you know, for me it is worth a heck of a lot more money than a few dollars. What a TA can do for you in terms of amenities depends how much you spend on your cruise, the cruise line and the TA.

I do agree with you that you should know their cancellation policies.

And just like all professions there are exceptional TA, average ones, and below average ones. I only go with the strong ones.

As to problems, all it takes is one major problem to occur and you may realize having a TA would have helped. I know plenty of situations where that was the case.

Keith
#5
Weston FL
2,526 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
My TA doesn't charge any fees and gives me a "rebate" after final payment. She has assisted us with items we may have been able to handle ourselves but it was so nice to hand them over to an expert who knew who to call to get it resolved quickly.

Marianne
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#6
The Berkshires Of MA
11,584 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
My TA has an online site. I book over the phone with her because that is the way I prefer to do it. I have never had an issue. There are no cancellation charges. They are a 24/7 agency. She monitors for price drops. We always have a good amount of OBC to enjoy. On one cruise, going from a outside ocean view to a aft balcony with 475 obc was good enough for me to stick with her.
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#7
Toronto, Canada
4,054 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
This is the first trip I've ever used a travel agent and I did so on the recommendation of my brother (and used the agent he's used with good success before.) Even though I'm a first time user, she is giving me a choice of OBC or an excursion - and that's a nice thing; it will also be nice to have someone to contact if there are any problems. Still, leaving the preparations to someone else is foreign to me and it feels a little weird.

I'm hoping that she'll also be able to help me find sales on single supplements in the future. It's those kinds of perqs (help finding sales, etc) that I think I'll like more.
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#8
Southern Ontario
524 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
I have used the same TA for all my trips and reccomend her to all my friends. I can stop by and see her anytime for any questions. Quick and easy and I get Airmiles.
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#9
tennessee
309 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Travel Agents (I am one) are your advocate and are the experts that are available to assist you in times of crisis. Our industry is a relationship business and its our job to know you and your wants and needs and to be there to help make your vacation one to remember. Anyone can book a cruise online but only a professonal travel agent has your back when you need it. We provide the experience, education and expertise that todays consumer needs when they have information overload. At the end of the day, its your call on how you spend your money but I am confident that using an accredited, knowledgable local travel agent is a wise decision.
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#10
Vancouver, WA
923 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
After reading Keith1010's fairly frequent advocacy of travel agents, we decided to give it a shot. Went to the Yellow pages for some agencies. The first one we called said, "We really don't do much cruise work." The second said, "I only handle large groups." The third said, "We only do Casino at sea." We went back to booking directly with the cruise line and excursion operators.
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#11
3,622 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by mikewrit
After reading Keith1010's fairly frequent advocacy of travel agents, we decided to give it a shot. Went to the Yellow pages for some agencies. The first one we called said, "We really don't do much cruise work." The second said, "I only handle large groups." The third said, "We only do Casino at sea." We went back to booking directly with the cruise line and excursion operators.
I have never had the need for a TA,but if I was looking for one, I think the yellow pages would be my last resort. Its best to get one that a friend or family member has used.

If I did resort to the yellow pages, I would use one that had "cruise" in its name or in its yp ad.
#12
New Cumberland,PA, USA
27,425 Posts
Joined May 2000
Like the OP, I book my cruises while sitting on the couch (usually watching TV). We have booked 99 days of cruises this past year and all of it done on our couch...but not with a telephone but rather a laptop. We almost always book through various online TAs (done with a few clicks of the mouse) because we always get a better deal from TAs then from the cruise line. In some cases this can amount to savings of thousands of dollars and in other cases the savings may only be a few hundred. We do always do a comparison of the TA price (we include all amenities such as OBCs when comparing) against the cruise line web site and will usually shop for the best deal among 4 or 5 TAs we like (this all takes less then 30 min).

Hank
#13
54 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Hlitner, I know you can't tell us specific agencies, but could you give me a hint on how to find the best ones? We have always booked with the cruiselines, but I want some OBC this time. I have found several online agencies but don't know how to weed out the bad ones!
#14
2,906 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
The perks, and the assistance she has been able to give in a couple of sticky situations.

We do all the research, pick the cabin, etc. We just shoot her an email so we can book it or we book on the ship and list her as the TA.
#15
Charlotte, NC
715 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
Originally posted by govols1
Travel Agents (I am one) are your advocate and are the experts that are available to assist you in times of crisis. Our industry is a relationship business and its our job to know you and your wants and needs and to be there to help make your vacation one to remember. Anyone can book a cruise online but only a professonal travel agent has your back when you need it. We provide the experience, education and expertise that todays consumer needs when they have information overload. At the end of the day, its your call on how you spend your money but I am confident that using an accredited, knowledgable local travel agent is a wise decision.
What kind of crisis are you referring to? Almost all of my vacations, whether land or sea, have been booked online and to date, I've never encountered an issue where I would define it as a crisis. Are you referring to people who just simply can't decide on what to do? Please elaborate as I'm learning something new about your profession.
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#16
The Berkshires Of MA
11,584 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by DeeDee72
Hlitner, I know you can't tell us specific agencies, but could you give me a hint on how to find the best ones? We have always booked with the cruiselines, but I want some OBC this time. I have found several online agencies but don't know how to weed out the bad ones!

I found mine from this website. There are options to "find a cruise" and "cruise deals" at the top of this page. Which then link you to other options.
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#17
87,543 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by mikewrit
After reading Keith1010's fairly frequent advocacy of travel agents, we decided to give it a shot. Went to the Yellow pages for some agencies. The first one we called said, "We really don't do much cruise work." The second said, "I only handle large groups." The third said, "We only do Casino at sea." We went back to booking directly with the cruise line and excursion operators.

Here is what I always recommend.

Speak with friends, relatives, work colleagues who cruise and see if they have a recommendation. I wouldn't use yellow pages nor just a simple search on the internet to find an agent nor would I go that route for doctors, lawyers, realtors, etc.

I always think it's good to get recommendations from others you know and trust.

Additional option is to ask people that you get to know well on a cruise.

Either way, I would never do this blindly.

Keith
#18
107,154 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Here ia another person who prefers to use a TA.

We have had a couple of things go wrong over the years and she was able to use her contacts to get things straightened out. She got everything straightened out in one phone call. Had I had to call the cruise line I would have had to spend hours and probably would have had to talk to several people.

So glad that we have had such a great TA for over 24 years.
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#19
Toronto, Canada
4,054 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
As I said, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the idea of giving up all that control over my plans, but I'm starting to see some benefits (especially with cruising, where I get a several hundred dollars in benefits)......certainly, though, you don't want to pick an agent blindly. I like the idea of getting recommendations for travel agents from fellow passengers on board if they are happy (your agent doesn't have to be local, which I realized late), and certainly ask friends and family for recommendations. I would never pick one blindly, since a bad agent is worse than none at all, IMO.


Originally posted by Erik101
What kind of crisis are you referring to? Almost all of my vacations, whether land or sea, have been booked online and to date, I've never encountered an issue where I would define it as a crisis. Are you referring to people who just simply can't decide on what to do? Please elaborate as I'm learning something new about your profession.
I guess it's a type of insurance for unexpected occurrences, like travel health insurance. I've never needed that either in 30 years of traveling around the world, but I made sure I have it in place before I leave the country I could see benefits if you were in a situation where your flights were cancelled, or if you needed to make a rapid change in plans like needing to fly home in an emergency. (As I said, speculation on my part, as this is the first trip I've used one......give up control for that added benefit?)
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#20
Calgary, AB Canada
2,485 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
Originally posted by Erik101
What kind of crisis are you referring to? Almost all of my vacations, whether land or sea, have been booked online and to date, I've never encountered an issue where I would define it as a crisis. Are you referring to people who just simply can't decide on what to do? Please elaborate as I'm learning something new about your profession.
Here's one for you - last fall a group of us were on a tour of Greece, the day before we were to fly home we found out that there was going to be an air traffic controllers strike. We made one call to our TA and then spent the day doing more sightseeing. Upon arrival back at hotel, there was a message from him; he had changed our flights and extended our stay at the hotel in Athens at a good rate. Others on our tour who had booked on their own spent the day (and the next day) on their computers trying desparately to make the some arrangements. Made any extra charges more than worthwhile to me.