Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Ellen495

Giving my cruise to an outside travel agent?

Recommended Posts

Well I

42 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

Not all TA’s discount.  Especially brick and mortar TA’s in my experience.  

If this is your first cruise you’re probably going to need a bit of hand holding and/or guidance, I’m guessing?  Assuming I am correct, I think the real question is which person is going to be able to help you the most/best?

 

 

I have all of you for guidance in many ways. I love being part of the planning. THANKS!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used the same Travel Agency for 20 years.  I've used a PCC with HAL.  I booked another HAL cruise with friends who are travel agents.  Below find my thoughts on each. 

 

ALL are able to reprice cruises.

 

The HAL cruise booked with friends (who were going on the cruise with me) worked the easiest regarding price drops.  (Since they were cruising, too, they watched the price closely.)  They booked the per-cruise hotel for me.  I booked my own air.  I would go this route again if I were sailing with them.

 

My Travel Agency is great for being a one-stop shop and for adding me to Groups so that I can get a reduced fare.  They charge processing fees, but normally will issue OBC that negates these fees.  I would go this route anytime they have a Group that interests me.

 

I use a PCC when I am booking a cruise very far in advance and I find cabins blocked on the HAL website.  I have used the same PCC for several cruises and she is great.  She get the cabin I want released.  If I see a promotion, I will ask her to add it to my booking and this gets handled quickly.  If the cruise needs to be re-fared, she will list the advantages/disadvantages of doing so.  I also used Flight Ease through HAL.  The flights were A LOT cheaper than if I booked them on my own.  If I want a HAL cruise that is 18 - 24 months out, I will go this route.    

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, Ellen495 said:

Oh I wonder if the TA can discount the cruise??? Should I ask him or since it's booked, leave it be?

Yes, he is a smaller company - there are about 20 TA's that work there. I used a woman from there for about 20 years until she recently retired. But I never cruised before so this is all new for me.

I may be wrong, but if you have been been using this TA for 20 years, but have never cruised, I suspect they are a business oriented TA doing mostly airlines, cars, and hotels (I dealt with TAs like this before I retired and the $50 airline reservation fee was pretty typical). I would be concerned that they may not have the depth of cruise experience to best serve you. Yes, they can certainly take over your reservation and process your payments, but they may not be as cruise savvy to handle things out of the norm. A cruise focused TA generally has direct relationships with the cruise lines to address any "weirdnesses" (unforeseen things always tend to come up), plus they have access to special incentives that might let them discount further. I would certainly be asking your new agent how many cruises he has booked any what lines he has actually cruised with to qualify him further.

 

I cruised last year with a friend who booked through his long time business TA. Yes, he got good service (he had her cell # and got always got prompt responses). But if I had used my regular online, cruise TA, I would have gotten a ton of OBC with the rates he paid (and got nothing).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I prefer booking direct.  I like having control of my booking.  Price drops are much easier to get.  I think travel agents don't like price drops as it affects their commission.  Travel agents do give you a break on the price sometimes.  

 

If this is your first cruise I would suggest a TA until you know more about how things work.  I'm an old pro and can easily book everything myself.  I also give myself excellent customer service.  😉

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Ellen495 said:

Oh I wonder if the TA can discount the cruise??? Should I ask him or since it's booked, leave it be?

Yes, he is a smaller company - there are about 20 TA's that work there. I used a woman from there for about 20 years until she recently retired. But I never cruised before so this is all new for me.

The TA that gives me 8-10% discounts owns her own small business.  She has one full time employee and sometimes a part time employee.  Size doesn't necessarily count a lot.  What is important is she does a lot of business with the cruise lines.  She has quite the reputation and knowledgeable cruisers flock to her.  All sorts of certifications.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow this is all great information. For all  I know, the guy knows a ton about cruises. I never wanted to cruise before. I prefer nice hotels or VRBO in the Caribbean and I love Europe and staying in quaint hotels. So I'm not a cruise-type person - but Alaska is obviously cruise-worthy (hey - maybe I'll get hooked).

 

Should I ask if he can get the price lowered?? I don't think I'm allowed to ask you for your travel agent on this site - or maybe I am and can't ask for a website? If you can't do that - how does one go about finding a TA who knows and discounts cruises?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ellen495 said:

Wow this is all great information. For all  I know, the guy knows a ton about cruises. I never wanted to cruise before. I prefer nice hotels or VRBO in the Caribbean and I love Europe and staying in quaint hotels. So I'm not a cruise-type person - but Alaska is obviously cruise-worthy (hey - maybe I'll get hooked).

 

Should I ask if he can get the price lowered?? I don't think I'm allowed to ask you for your travel agent on this site - or maybe I am and can't ask for a website? If you can't do that - how does one go about finding a TA who knows and discounts cruises?

You can ask for a discount but such a request is usually more effective before you've made the deposit.  The guidelines prohibit giving or asking for information that identifies specific Travel Agents.  (You'll note that CC has links to several agencies on the home page.)

How does one find a TA that discounts?  I found mine on cruise critic when a poster screwed up and mentioned a name.  Unless you get lucky, the best way is to make contact with a bunch of agents and ask if they offer discounts.  Just be upfront and tell them you're looking for a TA that gives discounts or equivalent perks.  If they refuse, thank them and move on to the next.  One of the best ways is to ask people you meet that also cruise.  Perhaps while on a cruise.  You should also check with organizations you may already have a relationship with.  For example, an very popular insurance agency with seniors does offer cruises as well.  Another military oriented insurance agency does too.  Two of the big box membership stores also have travel agencies.  Before you go any further you need to ask if this trouble is worth it?  You can expect perhaps 10% of the base fare.  Only you can say whether 8-10% worth the effort?

 

You can look at this like you're conducting an interview to hire someone. If you find a TA that offers to discount, you should be prepared to ask several questions.  Do they charge any fees other than those charged by the cruise line? (Some charge cancellation or fees for price drops.) What are their hours?  Can you contact them by phone, email, texts?  Remember, you're doing them a favor by sending business there way so there's no reason not to inquire about these things.  

Edited by RocketMan275

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Ellen495 said:

Most TA don't charge to make airline tickets? REALLY?? This one always charged 50 per ticket per person. Hotels etc - never a fee though I'm sure they're getting a commission - but I usually make my own hotel reservations.

Many TA"s do not earn commissions on air travel, so a fee is not unreasonable for taking the time to research the fares and flight options for you.  Even if the TA books a HAL cruise, and adds the HAL air, HAL does not pay commission on the air.  

 

TA's do earn a commission on hotel bookings. 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ellen495 said:

Wow this is all great information. For all  I know, the guy knows a ton about cruises. I never wanted to cruise before. I prefer nice hotels or VRBO in the Caribbean and I love Europe and staying in quaint hotels. So I'm not a cruise-type person - but Alaska is obviously cruise-worthy (hey - maybe I'll get hooked).

 

Should I ask if he can get the price lowered?? I don't think I'm allowed to ask you for your travel agent on this site - or maybe I am and can't ask for a website? If you can't do that - how does one go about finding a TA who knows and discounts cruises?

My TA messaged me today (she is also a personal friend) and made me aware of a HAL promotion that saved us $1000, although we did lose some OBC.  I never knew the promotion existed!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Ellen495 said:

Wow this is all great information. For all  I know, the guy knows a ton about cruises. I never wanted to cruise before. I prefer nice hotels or VRBO in the Caribbean and I love Europe and staying in quaint hotels. So I'm not a cruise-type person - but Alaska is obviously cruise-worthy (hey - maybe I'll get hooked).

 

Should I ask if he can get the price lowered?? I don't think I'm allowed to ask you for your travel agent on this site - or maybe I am and can't ask for a website? If you can't do that - how does one go about finding a TA who knows and discounts cruises?

I agree the best way to see Alaska is by cruise up the inside passage, but if you have time add the land tours to your cruise. We did Alaska in July on the Noordam and then 4 nights on land in Anchorage, Denali and ended in Fairbanks.

 

If you decide to look for a TA there are many franchised TA that specialize in cruises, they will have "cruise" in their names most likely. Cruise Critic rules will not let me name one here, but try googling for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ellen495

Since you are talking about taking a cruise to Alaska, look in the Travel Section of your local Sunday newspaper. 

 

I know that a LOT of companies are booking 2020/2021 Alaska cruises and there are quite a few ads for Alaska cruises and, sometimes, a "cruise to Alaska" presentation.  Many times, these ads will feature some sort of discount if you "book by XX" or "attend our Alaska presentation and get a special package if you book your cruise with us".

 

KENNYSTWIN gave you great advice about looking for a TA that has experience in booking cruises.  Over and above that, you want to look for a TA that has experience working with the Cruise LINE that interests you.  Each cruise line has a personality and you want to book with a line that has a personality that suits you (and an AGENT that matches your personality). 

 

You have dealt with the Agency for years, but the AGENT you worked with has retired.  You have a new agent.  It is perfectly correct to ask questions.  If you can go to the agent with information that you have gathered from other sources, you will find out if this new agent is interested in keeping your business and has a personality that matches yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much. I really like the new TA - and I asked him how many cruises he's handled and if he's heard of Cruise Critic - indeed he has (he may even find this thread for all I know!). 

 

I did mention the discount and the perks on board (let him know I prefer Chardonnay to Champagne HA!)

 

I double checked everything and with all of your help, I feel confident that I made a good choice. We shall see! Now I just have to wait and wait until next summer for the cruise - but in the meantime I get to start researching excursions! I know the TA can - but I LOVE doing some of the reading and researching on my own and with the help of Tripadvisor - and now you wonderful Cruise Critics.

 

THANK YOU!

ellen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/10/2019 at 5:31 AM, pete_coach said:

The benefit of using a travel agent as opposed t HAL cruise line is that the travel agent can offer you incentives to book with them. More onboard credits primarily.

Having said that, if you agent said they "won't charge me a fee for making airline tickets.", then drop that agent. They get paid by the airline, not by you. You should be getting a better deal than that of the airline or, if it is that same price for airfare the agent still gets paid by the airline and should not be charging you a fee.

I have never been charged a fee by a travel agent.

Actually, the airlines DO NOT give TA's commission. In fact, we are charged up to $39 per ticket to make the reservation for you. (charged by the booking system) If you are not being charged by your TA for making those airline reservations it is because they want to do a great service for you. They are paying $39 out of pocket to keep you happy. You might be paying the fee without knowing it, because your agent might just be quoting you the Centrav price that includes the fee. I waive the Centrav fee when I am booking for a good client because I want them feel well taken care of. 

In answer to the original question, yes, the first TA would lose the commission. My personal opinion is that it is incredibly unethical and frankly crappy behavior to try and steal a booking from another TA. We don't actually get paid giant commissions. After overheads like insurance, paying for our website, rent, a phone line, gifts for our travelers etc. last year I netted 5% of my sales. If someone convinced one of my travelers to book with them I would be gutted. Not just because I would lose the commission I was counting on, but because I work hard for my travelers and I want them to be happy.

This whole thread has been kinda rough on TA's. We love planning travel for you and we are passionate about you having the time of your lives. Our success literally depends on you being thrilled with your experience so we go out of our way to make sure you are having fun and not worrying about the details. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Peckishpixie said:

Actually, the airlines DO NOT give TA's commission. In fact, we are charged up to $39 per ticket to make the reservation for you. (charged by the booking system) If you are not being charged by your TA for making those airline reservations it is because they want to do a great service for you. They are paying $39 out of pocket to keep you happy. You might be paying the fee without knowing it, because your agent might just be quoting you the Centrav price that includes the fee. I waive the Centrav fee when I am booking for a good client because I want them feel well taken care of. 

In answer to the original question, yes, the first TA would lose the commission. My personal opinion is that it is incredibly unethical and frankly crappy behavior to try and steal a booking from another TA. We don't actually get paid giant commissions. After overheads like insurance, paying for our website, rent, a phone line, gifts for our travelers etc. last year I netted 5% of my sales. If someone convinced one of my travelers to book with them I would be gutted. Not just because I would lose the commission I was counting on, but because I work hard for my travelers and I want them to be happy.

This whole thread has been kinda rough on TA's. We love planning travel for you and we are passionate about you having the time of your lives. Our success literally depends on you being thrilled with your experience so we go out of our way to make sure you are having fun and not worrying about the details. 

Well, if I am looking for  deal and the airline sells me a ticket for the same price, I select the airline as they are open 24hrs per day, no matter where I am in the world, if there is a problem. I have read of too many problems where the airline will not help the traveler as they did not purchase the ticket form them but a 3rd party travel agent. the airlines, far too often nowadays, deals with the person that actually purchased the ticket and that is not the traveler.

As for TA bashing, I do not see that at all. If anything, people are being told to shop for a TA that offers them more than what the cruise line is offering. We quite often book on the cruise line site then transfer to a TA to get onboard credits, dining packages and more if we move to them.

But, booking my air travel, well, that I leave up to the airline direct. There are many ways online to find fares and airlines and then just call them and book direct.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Between y

27 minutes ago, pete_coach said:

But, booking my air travel, well, that I leave up to the airline direct. There are many ways online to find fares and airlines and then just call them and book direct.

Between you and I, I'm always grateful when my travelers book direct with the airline. Unless you are bundling with a cruise the price is usually better. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Peckishpixie said:

Actually, the airlines DO NOT give TA's commission. In fact, we are charged up to $39 per ticket to make the reservation for you. (charged by the booking system) If you are not being charged by your TA for making those airline reservations it is because they want to do a great service for you. They are paying $39 out of pocket to keep you happy. You might be paying the fee without knowing it, because your agent might just be quoting you the Centrav price that includes the fee. I waive the Centrav fee when I am booking for a good client because I want them feel well taken care of. 

In answer to the original question, yes, the first TA would lose the commission. My personal opinion is that it is incredibly unethical and frankly crappy behavior to try and steal a booking from another TA. We don't actually get paid giant commissions. After overheads like insurance, paying for our website, rent, a phone line, gifts for our travelers etc. last year I netted 5% of my sales. If someone convinced one of my travelers to book with them I would be gutted. Not just because I would lose the commission I was counting on, but because I work hard for my travelers and I want them to be happy.

This whole thread has been kinda rough on TA's. We love planning travel for you and we are passionate about you having the time of your lives. Our success literally depends on you being thrilled with your experience so we go out of our way to make sure you are having fun and not worrying about the details. 

But I didn't move from a TA to TA. I moved from a PCC to TA which is what I asked so I sure hope she's not gutted OH MY GOSH! I agree about the air and have never minded paying the 50.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/10/2019 at 11:53 AM, Ellen495 said:

AHHHHHHHH so the outside TA has access to lower fares? I know the PCC (thanks) told me that if something goes down, she can rebook it BUT I would lose present specials. So for example - she told me that if  the fare goes down, she could rebook but if the new fare didn't include the 800 on board credit, I would lose that. That does make sense.... But that would be the same for a TA I assume so he would decide what makes sense? I mean - if it goes down by 2000 dollars (unlikely) who cares about losing 800.

The TA works for you, the PCC works for HAL. I like having a TA, they can do  things like double check fares or incentives. They can do everything the PCC can do, and honestly, if you plan to travel again, it’s probably a good idea to have a TA in your pocket. TA’s sometimes are able to book/or rebook my trip, based on incentives they are offered. I’ve actually been lumped in with some holiday tour, because maybe something extra was offered to a group. Not that I need to hang out with them. 😉

Remember, even if you use HAL’s Flight ease, any TA can help you with that, you don’t need a PCC to do that either. It may save money on those flights you need, too, my TA has sometimes been astounded by how low HAL’s flights are! 

For education purposes, I often book another cruise while I am on the ship (using $100 future cruise credits). There often are onboard deals, I.e., last time I got a balcony for the cost of an outside cabin. So technically, a PCC books it (while aboard) but I ask it be transferred to my TA. They are used to it. I suspect PCC’s are salaried, not commission. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...