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travel agents musts be really taking a beating in the present situation


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I needed to speak with my TA yesterday. After we dealt with my issue, I asked him how the Corona Virus was affecting his business. He said he had already lost $100,000 worth of bookings by cancellations. (And who knows  how much more by people not booking.) 

 

I hope this crisis does not put travel agents, especially those who specialize in cruises out of business.

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4 hours ago, Mike981 said:

If a TA has a client cancel after final payment, do they still get their commission?

I don't think so; I know in the past my TA has told me that he collects from the cruise line after we board.

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5 hours ago, Mike981 said:

If a TA has a client cancel after final payment, do they still get their commission?

 

That's a question I had not thought of.  If final payment has been made, the cruise line "has" their money.  A guest having travel cancellation insurance has nothing to do with the cruise line having to pay anything to whomever.  Not paying a travel agent their commission seems very unfair to me.  Unless, there is something in the "fine print" of the legal paperwork among cruise lines and the travel agency community that we, the traveling public, would not be aware.

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10 hours ago, Mike981 said:

If a TA has a client cancel after final payment, do they still get their commission?

A TA gets paid after the cruise is actually taken and the folios for that given itinerary are closed, typically several weeks later depending on the cruise line accounting cycle. 

Edited by leaveitallbehind
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4 hours ago, knittinggirl said:

I asked my TA to call them over a week ago, and I spoke w/ her today and she told ME to call them.

Well, I certainly wouldn't use her again.

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9 hours ago, leaveitallbehind said:

A TA gets paid after the cruise is actually taken and the folios for that given itinerary are closed, typically several weeks later depending on the cruise line accounting cycle. 

I really thought our TA had said that he did not get paid until we were onboard. Maybe he meant that he does not get paid unless the passengers actually board the ship.

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20 hours ago, Mike981 said:

If a TA has a client cancel after final payment, do they still get their commission?


If the client is paid in full and the cancellation is covered by travel insurance, the agent will still get paid.  If the cruise line has to give money back, typically the TA loses the commission.

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Travel is subject to many things including hostilities between nations, pandemics, and the economy (healthy or suffering).  It is not an occupation that will guarantee a steady paycheck.  Even corporate agencies which are somewhat less affected by outside pressures will have ebbs and flows in their production.

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1 hour ago, ontheweb said:

I really thought our TA had said that he did not get paid until we were onboard. Maybe he meant that he does not get paid unless the passengers actually board the ship.

A TA does not get paid until after the passenger completes the cruise and the cruise line closes the books on it - as mentioned that is typically a few weeks after the cruise is completed.  In other words if the cruise you are on is, for example, March 1-7, the TA does not get paid until sometime in late March, like around the 28th.

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My SIL is our travel agent and works for one of the large online agencies.  She has told us that she doesn’t get her commission until and unless the traveler takes the trip, and then weeks or months later.  At any given time she is owed hundreds or thousands of dollars in commissions that she will not be paid if she were to resign.  Her commissions, which are the lions share of her pay, are held hostage against her departing for another agency or job.  In addition, if we see a deal on her day off and call to speak to someone else it is a mark against her.  I know, this makes no sense but it’s a fact.  If she wasn’t employed there we would not use them.  As it is we book 3 or 4 trips a year with her and if we end up cancelling the 3 we currently have booked I will make sure she gets whatever commission she would have been due.  This is a very cutthroat industry.  If you have a relationship with a particular person at a travel agency and have to cancel you may consider helping them out.  It might be the difference in paying their bills, or their children’s medical care, or not.

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9 minutes ago, lifes-a-beach said:

My SIL is our travel agent and works for one of the large online agencies.  She has told us that she doesn’t get her commission until and unless the traveler takes the trip, and then weeks or months later.  At any given time she is owed hundreds or thousands of dollars in commissions that she will not be paid if she were to resign.  Her commissions, which are the lions share of her pay, are held hostage against her departing for another agency or job.  In addition, if we see a deal on her day off and call to speak to someone else it is a mark against her.  I know, this makes no sense but it’s a fact.  If she wasn’t employed there we would not use them.  As it is we book 3 or 4 trips a year with her and if we end up cancelling the 3 we currently have booked I will make sure she gets whatever commission she would have been due.  This is a very cutthroat industry.  If you have a relationship with a particular person at a travel agency and have to cancel you may consider helping them out.  It might be the difference in paying their bills, or their children’s medical care, or not.

Most agencies don't have the same policies as the large online agencies.  These larger on line agencies may have different pay cycles than others and may release payments later, but the cruise lines pay on shorter cycles than you indicate, typically within a month after the cruise as indicated. Many of the smaller, independent ones are far less restrictive in their employment policies and a more pleasant working environment that your SIL's unfortunate situation.  

Edited by leaveitallbehind
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12 minutes ago, leaveitallbehind said:

Most agencies don't have the same policies as the large online agencies.  These larger on line agencies may have different pay cycles than others and may release payments later, but the cruise lines pay on shorter cycles than you indicate, typically within a month after the cruise as indicated. Many of the smaller, independent ones are far less restrictive in their employment policies and a more pleasant working environment that your SIL's unfortunate situation.  


Agreed.

 

For someone who is actually a good sales person who is able to find and retain new business they shouldn't feel obligated to stay at a sub-par employer.  Most best-practices companies will "buy out" a pipeline to acquire a top tier salesperson.  That said, I think 99% of travel agents aren't sales people, they are "order takers" or "account managers."  Big difference, and hence why they are pretty much disposable in the eyes of an employer. There are 10 right behind looking to take their position.  

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19 minutes ago, ducklite said:


Agreed.

 

For someone who is actually a good sales person who is able to find and retain new business they shouldn't feel obligated to stay at a sub-par employer.  Most best-practices companies will "buy out" a pipeline to acquire a top tier salesperson.  That said, I think 99% of travel agents aren't sales people, they are "order takers" or "account managers."  Big difference, and hence why they are pretty much disposable in the eyes of an employer. There are 10 right behind looking to take their position.  

While I don't disagree with your thoughts, I would say in my experience that would apply more commonly to the big box and on-line agencies as that is more their function.  But there are plenty of good - and typically smaller, independent - TA's that are more sales oriented in terms of the service they provide with proactive price monitoring, doc preparation, 7 day a week direct availability, individual and independent tour packaging both as ship and land based vacations, etc.  Personal service and customization is how they compete successfully with the other large agencies. Perhaps this is more evident outside the cruise industry, but IMO exists none the less.

 

But it is a shame that certain segments of the industry create an environment for those who work in it as you indicate, as there is a lot more than order taking that takes place with a cruise booking.  Unfortunately that is also fed by consumers who shop based on price only, not caring or recognizing the value of the rest of the services that are involved.  Just my opinion.

Edited by leaveitallbehind
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On 2/29/2020 at 9:52 AM, ontheweb said:

I needed to speak with my TA yesterday. After we dealt with my issue, I asked him how the Corona Virus was affecting his business. He said he had already lost $100,000 worth of bookings by cancellations. (And who knows  how much more by people not booking.) 

 

I hope this crisis does not put travel agents, especially those who specialize in cruises out of business.

While a $100,000 loss in gross business is nothing to sneeze at, top producing agents will have $2 - $3 Million in annual sales on the books.

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23 hours ago, Mike981 said:

If a TA has a client cancel after final payment, do they still get their commission?

 

No to this as well.  Even if the cruise lines keep part or all of the fare as a cancellation penalty (insurance payout or not) they do not pay a commission unless the customer goes on the cruise.  No go - no pay. 

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51 minutes ago, AdGuyMG said:

While a $100,000 loss in gross business is nothing to sneeze at, top producing agents will have $2 - $3 Million in annual sales on the books.

You are comparing two wholly different things, annual sales and cancellations during a very short time period. It's only the last week that the stock market lost 10% of its value. That is pretty much the time frame that this uptick in cancellations has been going on.

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53 minutes ago, AdGuyMG said:

While a $100,000 loss in gross business is nothing to sneeze at, top producing agents will have $2 - $3 Million in annual sales on the books.


I would think it would be closer to double that.

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6 hours ago, AdGuyMG said:

While a $100,000 loss in gross business is nothing to sneeze at, top producing agents will have $2 - $3 Million in annual sales on the books.

 

5 hours ago, ducklite said:


I would think it would be closer to double that.

Perhaps at the tippity top, if the agent deals in high end travel, or large corporate group accounts you are right.

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