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Gratuties from TA - Do you just ask?


Swampduck
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:halo:Crikey, reading over the posts regarding TA OBC and perks, I have to say, that you are all very lucky to get the extra OBC from your TA. Do you just ask for it, it if is not already offered? Or is it offered as the norm.

 

I have booked with the same travel agent for the past 5 years and have just booked my 6th Celebrity cruise with her for this coming summer. As yet, and I am very disappointed, to say, that I have never received £1 or $1 in OBC, from her, I use the same lady each time. Not even a bottle of wine in the cabin when we were celebrating our 25 wedding anniversary or birthdays.

No perks of any sort for recommending their company to my friends,(not that, that was the reason I recommended them) who last year, 3 separate couples booked 14 day cruises (1 Celebrity and 2 Royal Caribbean) with this company and using the contact that I recommended.

 

:confused:Reading the posts here, I now feel that I should've changed TA a while ago. But I have no complaints regarding the service I receive, but I find it more than a bit disappointing that if I took a chance and booked with an internet company, I might receive something extra and loyality really doesn't stand for anything.

 

Maybe they don't give OBC here in Northern Ireland, but if they did, it would be nice!!:loudcry: I am sure they get some sort of commission, which would be appreciated it something was passed forward.

Anyway, :( no point worrying about it now, there is always next year to make a change.;)

 

Rant over

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SD - additional 'Perks' from TA's can be region/country specific. Here in the US there are some TA's who offer additional 'Perks' as a rule, rather it be gratuities, OBC etc...

 

Since you have booked in Northern Ireland, is it possible to do an internet search for TA's in your country who may provide this?

 

Otherwise, you may want to consider booking with an US based TA IF and only IF the exchange rate and other critical factors favour you, including cancellation fees have little to no impact.

 

bon voyage

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All you have to do is ask...why not give her a call and explain the situation to her. Maybe she will give you there extra perks instead of losing a customer.All I can tell you is that not all TA's give you back part of their commission in form of OBC, but a lot do. Just pick up the phone and ask, can't hurt.

Good Luck,

Howard

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In the US, most of the "larger online" type TA's give back part of their commissions in various forms...usually OBC and/or free gratuities.

 

I know there are different rules in your part of the world, so don't know if that is the same or not.

 

(we are on cruise that stops in Belfast in July...going to rent a car and drive north for the day)

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It may be a culture thing. I'm from the Republic, and the only time a TA would offer anything extra is if they are trying to off-load an unpopular product (or they have a lot to shift) for example, if they have loads of holidays in Spain they might start offering parking at airport or transfer to hotel.

I think the main reason they don't offer anything extra, is because they don't have to, make a sail, due to constant high demand.

There is a well known TA in the UK that deals only with cruise holidays (sky 253?) They will offer perks, but only on those cruises where they have a lot of availability.

 

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I would venture to guess it's a regional difference and most people who do get substantial perks are booking through large online US travel agents. With a little digging around extra OBC and included gratuities is pretty much the norm for most. One last year offered a complimentary upgrade from Go Better to Go Best. You also won't see perks like that offered with the other mainstream lines like RCL or NCL either.

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Well, I asked this morning and got the answer I didn't want.. a big fat NO. There are no extra's. They only give perks once a year at a certain event.

When I said about how many cruises booked & customers that i've sent their way, I was told they have lots of customers in the same boat !

They must like to hold onto their commission, which is grand. But it's nice to be nice and showing some sort of loyalty gratitude, I'm sure wouldn't break the bank.

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Most TA's in Canada do not offer perks (or if they do they are very small). Like you I asked and was told no. Luckily there is a big box store that has now started selling cruises and they offer perks on par with what many U.S. agents are offering.

 

We've also used a TA based in the US (and our UK friends used them too with no issues) so you may want to look at that as an option. It may also come down to how helpful your TA has been. If I had a good TA who had helped me out in the past I wouldn't mind foregoing the perks to stick with them.

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Our local TA doesn't offer perks but also charges $50 booking fee pp plus an additional $50 pp any time a change is made by the client to the reservation.

 

When I did inquire once many years ago and declined to book, she basically said it didn't bother her as she didn't make much commission on cruises.

 

Needless to say I haven't booked any cruises with her and we cruise a lot.

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With the response you got from your TA I would not book any future cruises with them. I would also not refer any friends to use their agency. I hope the next agent you choose will treat you with more respect and appreciation.

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We found TAs in US particularly motivated to give promos/perks on Celebrity as opposed to other lines. Now sure why.

 

On our 10 day Summit Cruise we got $170 OBC and Free Prepaid gratuities from our TA (plus $300 OBC and Drink Package from Celebrity). We just had a basic OV room with a cruise fare of $2200.

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:halo:Crikey, reading over the posts regarding TA OBC and perks, I have to say, that you are all very lucky to get the extra OBC from your TA. Do you just ask for it, it if is not already offered? Or is it offered as the norm.

 

 

We booked a Celebrity cruise yesterday. Well, my wife did as I was busy. It came with all four perks. I asked her if there was any OBC from the US based travel agent. She'd forgotten to ask, so dropped them an email. Their reply was, "Sorry, forgot to add that, so I've given you $100 OBC".

 

In short, it certainly pays to ask!

 

If I were you, next time just ask the questions when you're ready to book "So, what deal can you offer me? Why should I book through you? I've done this historically when booking group trips for friends and it has been worthwhile.

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We live in NY but use a Canadian TA who offers us 6% of cruise price in the form of refundable OBC. Prior to switching TAs, we'd used a local TA who had a bottle of wine delivered to our room, as a thank you for our business. Friends we met on a Crystal cruise recommended our current TA. We were also offered a choice of receiving a check mailed to our home upon returning from the cruise. On our up coming Transatlantic we will have $550.00 in OBC :-)

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I think service and experience is a better criteria to use as to whether or not you should change your TA. All the OBC in the world won't do you any good if there's a problem and your new TA doesn't have a clue how to fix it. JMHO.

 

That is a good point...some need to have more help, or the perception of that potential help and feel better with a more "full-service" type agent.

 

 

The generic "large box internet type" agencies are better suited for those that can deal with some things on their own, but in reality if something does go wrong MOST of the time these same big box types are there to help. At least ours is...might not be there 24 hours a day, but during typical business hours they would be available to deal with issues.

 

We have saved a lot of money and have had great service the few times we needed to make changes...Those changes ahve been mainly us changing cabins when a better one opened up, or in one case we wanted to actually change cabin category.

 

 

I would say our agent probably wouldn't be proactive and contact us if the price dropped or if some kind of sale was announced that would be beneficial to us...I would think a full service agent would do that.

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It often pays (quite literally) to shop around. Our next cruise $2280 total fare with Go Better from an online TA came with gratuities paid and an additional $225 in OBC. Much better than the others I found while shopping around.

 

 

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It depends a lot on what you book and how much you spend. If you are booking only the cheapest inside cabins, the TA is probably only making $60-$70 total. He/she would be unable to give you anything on that sort of commission, especially if you are needing to make lots of changes, etc. Sometimes more benefits are forthcoming if the TA can book you into an existing group that the Agency has created.

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It depends a lot on what you book and how much you spend. If you are booking only the cheapest inside cabins, the TA is probably only making $60-$70 total. He/she would be unable to give you anything on that sort of commission, especially if you are needing to make lots of changes, etc. Sometimes more benefits are forthcoming if the TA can book you into an existing group that the Agency has created.

 

 

I can see where you are coming from with this, but we always book balconies and our last one was CC. 99% of the time, I do all the work and then just contact them with what I've seen and wanting to book.:halo: It actually shouldn't come down to the amount of £'s & Pence that a person spends.. a return customer is a return customer.

 

With me, I like to know who and the type of company I am dealing with, so there are no surprises, but I also think that loyalty could be acknowledged in some way.

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Last year I was on TA (trans-Atlantic) and we sat with a lovely English couple for dinner. We got on the subject of OBC provided by TA (travel agents). I told them I booked through a big-box TA and told them of the OBC I received. They also were members of that same big-box in the UK and never heard of booking through them and the OBC you get. I said on your next cruise to give it a try through the US site or call through the big box US 800 number. Cost of a call is not that much any more.

 

Just curious, can UK folks book this way?

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Last year I was on TA (trans-Atlantic) and we sat with a lovely English couple for dinner. We got on the subject of OBC provided by TA (travel agents). I told them I booked through a big-box TA and told them of the OBC I received. They also were members of that same big-box in the UK and never heard of booking through them and the OBC you get. I said on your next cruise to give it a try through the US site or call through the big box US 800 number. Cost of a call is not that much any more.

 

Just curious, can UK folks book this way?

 

Thanks for that. But I'm not sure what the "Big Box" is.. can you give me a clue? I know we can't mention names here, but have you ever played Charades? ;)

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I use large online TAs to book when they offer something. Our last cruise was on NCL and they were offering a sliding scale OBC based on the price of the cruise for any line. Think we spent approx $2,000 (for the cabin) on an inside and got $75 back and $3,500 (for the cabin) on a balcony and got $125 back. Not great, but something.

 

I've found that a certain website consistently offers better pricing on celebrity cruises than celebrity does. It's in the neighborhood of the 10% off other people see, but it's in a discount, not OBC.

 

Both of these websites are US based so that might be the difference. I think non US customers can still book through US websites; you may even get a better price and the booking terms are usually better. But you'd have to book in USD so the exchange rate might affect your savings.

 

Ref the big box store, I'm not a member and haven't tried it; but I think most people are referring to a store that has a 'cost' to join the 'co' mpany....

 

 

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I'm curious if people in the UK can get a no foreign transaction fee credit card.

 

In the US a great deal of them now offer this benefit.

 

One could save 6-7% on cruising by booking with a certain US big box travel agent if you paid in USD. (via OBC or other rebates)

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Thanks for that. But I'm not sure what the "Big Box" is.. can you give me a clue? I know we can't mention names here, but have you ever played Charades? ;)

 

It's a big warehouse store and you buy an annual membership that allows you the privilege to shop. I believe that's as far as the mods will let me go to describe it.

 

They are all over the US & UK. I once stopped at the one in Southampton, UK prior to an Eclipse cruise and purchased my cruise wine.

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