Jump to content

Can I Trust Travel Agency to Discount?


MUD

Recommended Posts

Just booked a cruise on HAL through an agency discovered through a site that gave agencies a chance to bid for the business. The agency price is substantially below the HAL price which is shown on HAL's Guest Deposit Confirmation. Agency says that that is because they rebate part of their commission and what I have to pay is the amount on their invoice. Can I trust this answer?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd be careful - Cruise Lines don't like TA's that discount with their commissions - the TA can lose it's right to book that line if they don't follow the cruise line's policies. I know first hand of a local agency where I live that lost the ability to book Royal Caribbean because they discounted. Buyer Beware would be my view.

 

YaYa

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ask and make sure all payments go to HAL.

 

There have been several horror stories involving TAs who used this tactic and had the payment made to the TA rather than HAL. When it came time for final payment to HAL, it was not made and the cruiser had to fight with the TA to get them to make the payment to HAL.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just booked a cruise on HAL through an agency discovered through a site that gave agencies a chance to bid for the business. The agency price is substantially below the HAL price which is shown on HAL's Guest Deposit Confirmation. Agency says that that is because they rebate part of their commission and what I have to pay is the amount on their invoice. Can I trust this answer?

 

I consistently beat the HAL price through my Internet TA. Have for years without any problems, typically saving from 10-16%.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just booked a cruise on HAL through an agency discovered through a site that gave agencies a chance to bid for the business. The agency price is substantially below the HAL price which is shown on HAL's Guest Deposit Confirmation. Agency says that that is because they rebate part of their commission and what I have to pay is the amount on their invoice. Can I trust this answer?

 

I also booked using the same method as you for and Australian/New Zealand cruise departing next November. I found the advertisement on Cruise Diva and so far I'm very happy. I've since called the agency that I went with and I also have talked to some friends who have booked past cruises with the agency and there were no problems. Enjoy your cruise.

 

Jon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you are right to be wary of such a booking and such a discount. It is important that you check not just the bottom line, but just what is included. For instance, has the TA included port taxes? Does the TA have a fee you have to pay if you change or cancel your reservation? While others may have had no problems in dealings such as this, there are just as many negatives of people who have suffered substantial financial loss

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We typically find that TA prices can be considerably less than cruise line direct pricing. Discounts are not just discounts off the price, they can also come in the form of on board credits. On our upcoming Feb. cruise, the TA threw in $250. of OBC's. This is technically not a discount but does have the same value to us. On our last cruise, the on line TA had booked a group and extended this group price to us-in addition to extra on board credits. Again, it was substantially lower than booking direct with the cruise line. Always pay by credit card, always ensure that the credit card charge is made directly to the cruise line and you should be fine. An extra 10-20 percent can really add up over multiple cruises. We never use cruise line hotel or air either. The savings that we get usually pays for the cost a two or three days of pre cruise vacation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One online TA says they will not be able to discount their prices on HAL cruises after the first of the year.

 

Just make sure everything is in writing and follow the suggestions others have posted. I've also had "discounted" prices on HAL cruises, but that may be ending in another week. We all will be watching!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also be sure to ask about cancellation fees. Alot of online TAs charge to cancel our booking (outside of HAL's cancellation policy/terms). For example, I got a great price on an Apr '10 cruise but the online TA charges $75 to cancel before final payment. Happy Sailing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My TA gives back part of her commission to me all the time.

 

I do believe HAL has no "rules" against TAs that do this. Celebrity does, so does Royal Caribbean, but HAL does not.

 

 

HAL is also going to have the same policy. Not sure just when it starts but it could be January.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a good point about asking about cancellation fees. More often than not, when we book in advance, we take advantage of price decreases that occur prior to final payment time. These price decreases can be fleeting, ie only exist for a day or so. Make certain that your TA will provide these reductions to you WITHOUT a service charge as the s/c can serve to negate a decrease. And don't expect your TA to let you know about them...some do, some don't. Most of the on line TA's do not so you have to do the checking yourself. On one of our Princess cruises the price went down twice and the category pricing collapsed so we were able to obtain an upgrade in addition to two price decreases . NEVER pay the final payment until it is due-usually 75 or 90 days out depending on the cruise line. I am actually working a price decrease now on a Celebrity cruise. It is within the cancellation window so the choice, according to my TA, will be an additional OBC or an upgrade. Just waiting to hear what the OBC is vs. the upgrade. We never buy travel insurance from the TA or from the cruise company. We find that we get more comprehensive coverage at a much cheaper rate by doing it ourselves on the web.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IWhile others may have had no problems in dealings such as this, there are just as many negatives of people who have suffered substantial financial loss

 

In reading these boards I have found many more have had no problems in "dealings" like this than those who have had suffered substantial financial loss...I have booked several cruises online with substanial savings...One has to take reasonable precautions but i don't think we should scare people away from all discount TA's...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Make sure you check with a few different on line or local tA's. A couple of years ago we booked a last minute Bermuda cruise with a Local TA for what we thought was a Fair price .

 

The following day I spoke to a friend that just booked the same cruise on line and paid almost $300 pp less for the same category. I was able to cancel and rebook on line and saved a bunch of money

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One online TA says they will not be able to discount their prices on HAL cruises after the first of the year.

 

 

HAL is also going to have the same policy. Not sure just when it starts but it could be January.

 

Actually HAL will continue to allow agencies to Discount from their commission this is a very false rumor. What HAL is stopping is these agencies ADVERTISING on their Web sites the drastically reduced prices. The Agencies that were doing this were sent letters to stop this or their could be consequences to continuing doing this. Those agencies that were in compliance with HAL were not sent any letters and of course will continue to discount. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The fact is that a local bricks and mortar TA can go insolvent just as quickly and with as much surprise as an on line TA. Trick is, like the OP said, is to take reasonable commercial precautions. This is one of the reasons why when we do buy insurance it is always from an insurance company-NOT from the TA or from the cruise line. Some agencies have gone down and people have found that their policys were never paid to the carrier and hence void.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually HAL will continue to allow agencies to Discount from their commission this is a very false rumor. What HAL is stopping is these agencies ADVERTISING on their Web sites the drastically reduced prices. The Agencies that were doing this were sent letters to stop this or their could be consequences to continuing doing this. Those agencies that were in compliance with HAL were not sent any letters and of course will continue to discount. :)

 

Thank you for the update. This was what I thought, so thank you for the confirmation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to all of you for your advice. I put everything in writing and I did insist that the credit card charge be made by HAL and the insurance company. Secondly I didn't purchase insurance until a day later when HAL showed the booking in my account. I asked for and received the invoice from the agency and from HAL. I called HAL and talked to their Reservations Accounting Department. I was told that it is not unusual for an agency to cover some of the costs through reduced commissions and that the HAL invoice and the agency's might vary. They, of course, would not comment on any agency. Told me to call the BBBureau, which I had done before making the booking. I was very cautious based on reading the CC boards. The charge from the agency was 20% less than if I had purchased through HAL. We'll see how it goes over the next year while we wait for the cruise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When you consider cancellation policies, you also need to consider how much you save by changing the reservation. I am booked on a HAL cruise in June. I found another agency that had a price that was about $500 cheaper. The first agency charged me about $60 to change. That was a good deal for me.

 

DON

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We view travel offerings such as cruises, all inclusives, and air fares purely as commodity items. There is not much a TA can add that will be of value to us (that we cannot and do not get on from the web) so all things being equal price is king.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • ANNOUNCEMENT: AmaWaterways Announces an Extended Season on the Douro River
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...