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57eric

Confused About TAs

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I read about the benefits of using a TA but I am confused about exactly what is meant. If TAs are not allowed to advertise prices, does that mean that all of the online business that do post prices are not considered TAs?

Thanks.

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A TA is allowed to put prices in ads, they just cannot be discount prices. When you call or visit a TA online and request a quote, then they can give a discounted price.

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I read about the benefits of using a TA but I am confused about exactly what is meant. If TAs are not allowed to advertise prices, does that mean that all of the online business that do post prices are not considered TAs?

Thanks.

 

 

 

Confused about your statement that TA's do not advertise their prices or are allowed? I use the large box TA that many use and have talked about and they show their prices on their site, maybe they are the exception?

 

 

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TA's who can and will actually discount prices are few and far between.

The cruise lines like to control pricing.

Good TAs will be able to offer perks like OBC, Dining, etc...

Our TA offered us $100.00 off pp. And found a $50.00 OBC to throw in. A total of $250.00.

This is booking vary far out, where there are not any real offers available yet.

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TA's who can and will actually discount prices are few and far between. The cruise lines like to control pricing.
I would have to disagree. We regularly use a TA who provides discounts ranging between 10%-12% with over the top service. There are many other TAs who discount Princess fares.

 

True, some cruise lines do not allow discounting, but Princess is not one of them...

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Confused about your statement that TA's do not advertise their prices or are allowed? I use the large box TA that many use and have talked about and they show their prices on their site, maybe they are the exception?

They don't discount the price, so are allowed to show it in the ads.

They just give a (sometimes) really large OBC.

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Some also provide the discount in the form of perks like OBC

 

 

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They don't discount the price, so are allowed to show it in the ads.

 

They just give a (sometimes) really large OBC.

 

 

 

That's why the OP's comment was confusing nothing was said about "discounting"! They only asked why TA's don't show pricing. TA's do show cabin prices and in addition the TA I use also shows the OBC offered for that cabin, that usually ranges anywhere from 8-12 %.

 

 

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It boils down to the fact that you have to contact the TA to get "their" discounted Princess rate as they can't advertise that discounted rate .

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I would have to disagree. We regularly use a TA who provides discounts ranging between 10%-12% with over the top service. There are many other TAs who discount Princess fares.

 

True, some cruise lines do not allow discounting, but Princess is not one of them...

I agree 100%. And it doesn't have to be a "big box" which I would never use.

 

The policy is that all advertised or promoted prices in the media must be the Princess price. BUT, a TA can offer a discounted fare to their customers. If you request a quote from a TA who discounts, they can offer you a lower fare. In other words, you must be a past customer of the TA or ask for a quote.

 

The TAs who book very high volumes of Princess cruises get the lowest pricing from Princess to start. They then offer their group rates for booking with them. Then, they discount their commission.

 

The big question is how do you find these TAs? Ask fellow passengers or Princess cruisers onboard or if you meet or know them.

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Thanks for the responses so far.

 

Are the best TAs usually smaller shops? Has anyone had good luck with an (unnamed) 'big box'?

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Thanks for the responses so far.

 

Are the best TAs usually smaller shops? Has anyone had good luck with an (unnamed) 'big box'?

 

The two TA who I used that discount (~10%) Princess and Holland cruises are 2 or 3 employees including the owner. The Big Box store that shall not be named offers comparable discounts and by all accounts does good work. But, the BBox does not discount, they offer an equivalent amount of OBC.

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Thanks for the responses so far.

 

Are the best TAs usually smaller shops? Has anyone had good luck with an (unnamed) 'big box'?

 

Yes!!! I have my 2 favorites that I will contact once I see a Cruise and Price I like. Sometimes they can beat it, sometimes they can't. I certainly have used many smaller companies that have had some great "group rates" along with some nice perks! Rule of thumb......Shop around and be leery of Companies that charge Cancellation fees. That said I have had to cancel only one or two Cruises in my life and many times I have booked with a large Online Company that does charge cancellation fees.

I have read from some that rooms aren't discounted only perks vary. That simply is not true! It is in some cases, but I have usually managed to get pretty good to outstanding buys with good perks by buying early enough and shopping around! Mark

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TA's who can and will actually discount prices are few and far between.

The cruise lines like to control pricing.

Good TAs will be able to offer perks like OBC, Dining, etc...

Our TA offered us $100.00 off pp. And found a $50.00 OBC to throw in. A total of $250.00.

This is booking vary far out, where there are not any real offers available yet.

 

Our TA discounted our cruise by $900 off the Princess price. No, he can't advertise that but Princess does allow discounting. My princess invoice showed the same price as it always did and my final payment invoice from Princess still shows the original amount but, when the TA made final payment using my credit card, the charge to my credit card was $900 less than the Princess invoice.

 

No, the TA didn't offer up front but if you ask what sort of discount or perks they can offer you may be surprised.

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Just so you know, your discount may depend on the total cruise price - just the cruise fare without the port fees which are often added in, and not including the government taxes. The more expensive the cruise, the higher the discount. For those that book suites, some TAs will give quite a lot back in the form of a discount. If you book an inside cabin on a relatively inexpensive cruise, the discount is quite a bit less.

 

Other TAs have a set amount like $250 OBC no matter what category you book. That's advantageous for those that book insides on cheaper itineraries but doesn't benefit those that book suites, as they would be getting much more if booking with a TA that discounts instead of gives OBC. Princess allows TAs to do either - OBC or a discount. They are one of the few left that will do allow that.

 

If the TA is part of a large consortium, they will most likely have Group space and that will mean you'll get additional OBC from the GAP points if that is how they have chosen to "spend" them.

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The two TA who I used that discount (~10%) Princess and Holland cruises are 2 or 3 employees including the owner. The Big Box store that shall not be named offers comparable discounts and by all accounts does good work. But, the BBox does not discount, they offer an equivalent amount of OBC.

 

LOL--you must be a Rumpole fan! Love those shows. I have all the DVDs.

 

But just to be sure I am not missing anything, is this BBox of which you speak of the one that rhymes with Bosco, like I used to put in my milk to make it chocolaty???

 

ML

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Just so you know, your discount may depend on the total cruise price - just the cruise fare without the port fees which are often added in, and not including the government taxes. The more expensive the cruise, the higher the discount. For those that book suites, some TAs will give quite a lot back in the form of a discount. If you book an inside cabin on a relatively inexpensive cruise, the discount is quite a bit less.

 

Other TAs have a set amount like $250 OBC no matter what category you book. That's advantageous for those that book insides on cheaper itineraries but doesn't benefit those that book suites, as they would be getting much more if booking with a TA that discounts instead of gives OBC. Princess allows TAs to do either - OBC or a discount. They are one of the few left that will do allow that.

 

If the TA is part of a large consortium, they will most likely have Group space and that will mean you'll get additional OBC from the GAP points if that is how they have chosen to "spend" them.

 

Yes, our discount was based on the base cost of the cruise - before taxes and port fees. I think that's fair. We also looked at the big box and could actually have come out "ahead" as they offered even more OBC than the discount we received. However, I get excellent service from my TA and took his offer instead. I have no regrets. I have actually contacted my TA on a Sunday when he was clear across the country and in a hotel. I simply left voice mail on his office phone and had a call back (it was also in the evening and well after business hours even it it hadn't been Sunday) within 30 minutes. You will not get that level of service from any big box or online TA.

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If the TA is part of a large consortium, they will most likely have Group space and that will mean you'll get additional OBC from the GAP points if that is how they have chosen to "spend" them.

 

The TA does not have to be associated with a large agency to have arranged group space. I often use a TA that has a total of two agents and they often will have group space set up.

 

 

Group space has two advantages. One is that the TA can get lower pricing from the cruise line. Two is the amenity points DrivesLikeMario mentioned.

 

A TA that has group space can choose to share the savings and points with the customer. Or the TA can choose to just have more profit, keeping the benefit of the lower group space cost and also using the amenity points to obtain a higher commission from Princess.

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Honestly -I would never use a Big Box store. I think they are order takers, not travel agents. Also, I don't need a huge OBC. I would prefer money off of my cruise. I also would not use a website where agents compete for business. You tend to get new, inexperienced agents. If one is a very good agent, they don't need to go seeking clients. I have heard horror stories from people who have used this site.

 

I think it is true that "most travel agents" do not discount. Though - there are several who do and CC members have found them and are loyal to them as they provide good service and good prices.

 

If I look at all the agents in my town, they don't discount plus many of them even charge a booking fee - go figure. Thus, I use an agent on the other side of the country.

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I would have to disagree. We regularly use a TA who provides discounts ranging between 10%-12% with over the top service. There are many other TAs who discount Princess fares.

 

True, some cruise lines do not allow discounting, but Princess is not one of them...

 

Same here Lew. We normally get a very nice discounted fare from our T/A. I wouldn't think of booking anywhere else.....:):):)

 

Bob

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LOL--you must be a Rumpole fan! Love those shows. I have all the DVDs.

 

But just to be sure I am not missing anything, is this BBox of which you speak of the one that rhymes with Bosco, like I used to put in my milk to make it chocolaty???

 

ML

Correct.

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Honestly -I would never use a Big Box store. I think they are order takers, not travel agents. Also, I don't need a huge OBC. I would prefer money off of my cruise. I also would not use a website where agents compete for business. You tend to get new, inexperienced agents. If one is a very good agent, they don't need to go seeking clients. I have heard horror stories from people who have used this site.

.

 

i used such a site for my 1st princess cruise. i was leery of course. the 10000 + alleged bookings through the site seemed to minimize my fears. one of the other TAs just had that they were a TA for 2 months with 10 bookings so i didnt want that one of course.

 

but i researched the corporate structure of that TA with over 10K bookings and saw it had a few other websites which i believe is the norm. also when i went to their site directly. it shows the rack rate of princess then next to it was about 140 off (web special). when i booked it showed up on the princess site so i knew it had to be legit then. i also got 50 OBC.

 

then a week later when i saw princess lowered my cabin by 100 PP i called and they called princess and i got a 170 cheaper fare. PLUS kept my 50 OBC. i'm thrilled with my 1154 dollar mini suite and dont think princess would ever get that low of a price. can wait to leave!

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The TA does not have to be associated with a large agency to have arranged group space. I often use a TA that has a total of two agents and they often will have group space set up.

 

 

Group space has two advantages. One is that the TA can get lower pricing from the cruise line. Two is the amenity points DrivesLikeMario mentioned.

 

A TA that has group space can choose to share the savings and points with the customer. Or the TA can choose to just have more profit, keeping the benefit of the lower group space cost and also using the amenity points to obtain a higher commission from Princess.

 

That's true Caribill. What I was trying to say is the bigger the consortium that the agents belong to, the better the likelihood that there will already be Group space on the cruise you're interested in taking. But, like you said, any agent can open Group space and I believe the max is only 2 Groups per month, per ship so if a ship has 4 sailings in a month, there may not be Group space on that particular sailing. :)

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There are thousands of small travel agencies who i call kitchen agents.They will give you back almost their entire commissions just to get a booking.

These agencies come and go.Be careful with your money.

long cruiser

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There are thousands of small travel agencies who i call kitchen agents.They will give you back almost their entire commissions just to get a booking.

These agencies come and go.Be careful with your money.

long cruiser

Good point. The ones I use do not charge my credit card. That is done by the cruise line so my money isn't at risk.

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