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Orcrone

Do all TAs get the same price?

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Sail7seas posted her question about seeing a large price differential between what her TA was charging and an online agency. She called her TA and the TA matched the price.

 

When we were looking at a cruise for March 2005 I looked online and my mother visited her travel agent. Her brick and mortar agency that's located near where she lives was able to get comparable pricing for cruises with RCI and Princess, but in her own words "could not touch" their pricing on HAL.

 

My question is how does wholesale pricing work. Do all TAs get the same pricing from the cruise lines? Do some TAs work mainly with certain cruise lines and get better pricing with them? Is pricing based on the volume of rooms moved? If there is different pricing from the cruise lines and a TA receives a call from a client about another TA having a much lower price can the TA then call the cruiseline and get a better wholesale price for that client?

 

Any insight would be appreciated.

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Very interesting question. I have no inside information ... but my gut feeling is "no" ... all TAs are not working off the same rate sheet. Either that or some agencies have a humongous overhead that's far and away larger than other places, thus causing them to need to charge more. I hope someone can shed informed light on this.

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This is just a guess, but I was talking to a TA and she told me she no longer "deals" with HAL.....and works mostly with Princess. Something about the deals they were giving her. So, maybe TAs have their preferences when working with cruise lines, and may be at a certain "level" with some for better prices. Just a thought. It may work the same as with a "repeat cruiser" getting incentives.

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I booked an N guarantee a couple of weeks ago on 11/26 Volendam. I have several sites that send me cruise updates. Yesterday, one came in with an outside guarantee H that was just $30 pp higher. We'd rather have the outside and my TA is off 2 days (til Saturday). I have never used her or the agency before (Vacations to Go). I talked to a manager and he said they could not match the price, but offered no help, and said I would have to talk to her. He also "warned" me about other agencies that are not as "good" as theirs. Final payment is Sunday, 9/12. The other agency is not pushing.

 

What are your suggestions, group?

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I booked an N guarantee a couple of weeks ago on 11/26 Volendam. I have several sites that send me cruise updates. Yesterday, one came in with an outside guarantee H that was just $30 pp higher. We'd rather have the outside and my TA is off 2 days (til Saturday). I have never used her or the agency before (Vacations to Go). I talked to a manager and he said they could not match the price, but offered no help, and said I would have to talk to her. He also "warned" me about other agencies that are not as "good" as theirs. Final payment is Sunday, 9/12. The other agency is not pushing.

 

What are your suggestions, group?

Mary, does vacations 2 go have a cancellation fee? Regardless, you have two choices; stay with your current room or cancel and rebook with the other agency. Of course if there's a cancellation fee with the agency you have to take that cost into account.

 

Also, make sure that the price you got from the second agency includes everything. You don't want to cancel and rebook and find out that the price you received didn't include taxes and/or port charges.

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Thanks, Orcrone.

 

2nd TA says his price is all inclusive. There is no cancellation fee at V2G unless it is after final payment (9/12).

 

I've read other posts re: cancellations and transferring booking to another TA through HAL. I have no experience with this kind of thing as I have never used an online agency in the past. I am just weighing the chances of an upgrade from the inside guarantee versus the potential hassles of transferring, or cancelling and waiting on a credit card credit to post, if necessary. Of course, not having agent available for a couple of days makes situation worse.

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This is just a guess, but I was talking to a TA and she told me she no longer "deals" with HAL.....and works mostly with Princess. Something about the deals they were giving her. So, maybe TAs have their preferences when working with cruise lines, and may be at a certain "level" with some for better prices. Just a thought. It may work the same as with a "repeat cruiser" getting incentives.

 

 

What does she do when a client wishes to book HAL.....send them to another agency?

 

Sounds like a TA with a bit too much "self-interest" for my taste. She is trying IMO to work a large volume with one cruiseline so she can get a higher commission/agency perks on all of her bookings. She does not seem to be trying to match the best cruiseline for each customer. While Princess is fine for many people, it is not the cruiseline some people should go to.

IMO....

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marybeach ....

I dealt with Vacations To Go last year and was very satisfied with my TA at the time. Since then he is no longer with them and I have tried to work with his Manager. I found his Manager to be of little use to me and not at all helpful in pricing. The TA negotiated, the Manager would not. So, as far as I was concerned instead of him getting a little bit of something (commission) he got a lot of nothing! I now have 2 other agencies that wanted my business and that I am very happy with.

 

Also, I agree with what Orcrone suggested.

sail7seas ....

I think you hit it on the head! I used to have a friend in the travel business who shared with me that certain cruiselines paid a higher commission than other. So, I noted at the time, whenever I called around (pre online) the TAs were ALWAYS pushing that cruiseline, which at the time was RCCL (now RCI). I wouldn't budge and went with my original choice in cruiselines.

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As long as the TA is honest with the client I have no problem with those who specialize with certain cruise lines...It gives them the ability to offer lower prices...If one is going to "shop" around for the best price then one can't expect a lot of help in selecting which cruise line.

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I talked to a manager and he said they could not match the price, but offered no help, and said I would have to talk to her. He also "warned" me about other agencies that are not as "good" as theirs.
This is a huge turnoff to me. If his agency is so dang "good," then why didn't he step up to the plate and try to take care of you, the customer???

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Travel agencies work on yearly contracts with the cruise lines. These contracts involve pricing, volume of business, commissions, and what are known as "key" accounts. Yes - some agencies get better prices than others.

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This is a very interesting thread. Allow me to share something I recently learned.

 

I had my local travel agent, with whom I have worked for several years, price a specific category of stateroom for the Amsterdam's 2005 Asia Pacific Cruise. I then contacted an out-of-town agency on whose mailing list I have been placed and who say that they will protect the local agent's commission if the booking is completed with them before final payment. On the same category of stateroom, their price was almost $3000 less than the best fare my local agent could get! The out-of-town agency said the difference was due to their being able to offer "group fares" on certain stateroom categories. When I presented this information to my local TA, her manager declined to work with the other agency(even though the commission would have been protected) because "he did not want to be a sub-contractor".

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Well, it is done, but it wasn't pretty. I waited for days to talk to the original TA to see if she could meet the price and there was a firm "no" from a manager and the agent, as well as suggestion that the prices had actually gone up. And again, the put down of other agencies. I called the 2nd agent offering the better deal and he gave me some insight, regarding their specials and how they work and what was involved in cancelling and rebooking.

 

I booked with him and then called #1 to cancel and got more run around. I knew all it took was a button push to cancel outside of final payment which is tomorrow and I would have had penalties after today. I called HAL and asked them to make a note in the file. I just received a nasty note from first agent with cancellation.

 

While I did get blasted by one of the posters here for "shopping", it is apparent to me from this board that we are consumers and most of us shop for the best deal/cabin. To go from the NN lowest inside guarantee to the H outside guarantee for just $30 more pp to me on a 10 day cruise was a much better deal.

 

This is my first experience with using an "online" agencies, and I must say, it has been an experience. HAL was very helpful in all respects. It will be interesting to see how long it will take to get a refund on my credit card...HAL says two weeks (unless they are very busy), agent #1 says 4-6 weeks.

 

Thanks to all of you who offered your helpful suggestions.

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This is a very interesting thread. Allow me to share something I recently learned.

 

I had my local travel agent, with whom I have worked for several years, price a specific category of stateroom for the Amsterdam's 2005 Asia Pacific Cruise. I then contacted an out-of-town agency on whose mailing list I have been placed and who say that they will protect the local agent's commission if the booking is completed with them before final payment. On the same category of stateroom, their price was almost $3000 less than the best fare my local agent could get! The out-of-town agency said the difference was due to their being able to offer "group fares" on certain stateroom categories. When I presented this information to my local TA, her manager declined to work with the other agency(even though the commission would have been protected) because "he did not want to be a sub-contractor".

 

 

 

Was the out-of-town agency Golden Bear? I have read mailings I get from them and they, also, say you can use your local agent.

 

(I think it may be commission sharing....sort of like Real Estate Agent when they use "Multiple Listing Service". )

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marybeach.....Congratulations on getting such a good upgrade for a small additional sum.

 

I think you will be happy you chose to do as you have done.

 

Good luck. Let us know that everything works out fine, as I think it will.

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No guess here. I was a TA for many years before I went into another field then started having little ones..

 

Some TA's that do a lot of booking on certain lines get preferential pricing for selling so many cruises. Some TA's that sell a lot of cruises book group cruises to get the benefit of the discount for groups to get better pricing.

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Thanks for the insight Nancy.

 

BTW, we were out your way two weeks ago visiting DW's relatives in Northville and Manchester.

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Thanks for the insight Nancy.

 

BTW, we were out your way two weeks ago visiting DW's relatives in Northville and Manchester.

My in-laws live in Manchester, MI.. In fact they have my middle boy today since the other two saw fit to come down with the creeping crud and he is healthy.

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My in-laws live in Manchester, MI.. In fact they have my middle boy today since the other two saw fit to come down with the creeping crud and he is healthy.
Small world. DW's brother owns Manchester Collision and Towing. DW would love to live in a small town like that if it weren't for the 9 months of winter.:D

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By all means shop for the best price.

 

Not all of us get the same pricing and not all of us make the same commission. I work almost exclusively with Holland America and I can get great pricing. However, I can't beat or even match some of the internet prices. I belong to a consortium that gives me special group prices and I also try to make every individual booking in to a group. But folks....... if you find a good or great price, book it. It is the kind thing to offer your TA a chance to meet or beat the internet price that you find. Many of us can't give you the lower price and there isn't much we can do about you booking elsewhere.

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Thanks, rkacruiser......

 

I thought it might be them. I have read the literature they mail out and some of their prices have been very, very good but for some reason, they make me feel uneasy.

 

Many years ago we did a land trip through their 'group pricing' . Our regular TA at the time booked it for us and the price was great. It was air/land resort/transfers and maybe some other little extras. It was fine; no problems.

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This being my first cruise I did ALOT of online research, for many months as a matter of fact. When I finally found the cruiseline in which I wanted to use (HAL), I began checking prices. After finding a price that I found to be unbelievably low for a balcony, I called a local TA and asked if she had anything in that price range. She said that it was impossible for her to get me a rate that low and tried her darndest to discourage me from purchasing online, i.e. price didn't include port charges and taxes,online agencys are not reputable (there is a website that states the online agency I chose is actually one of the best), etc. I decided to forget her and her advice. I put my lowest price on *****. com and asked if anyone could meet or beat the lowest price. 3 online agencys responded......1 beating and 2 meeting the price I posted......INCLUDING port charges and taxes!! In the future I will always go this route. Right now I am scheduled to board on 9/25......have my docs and credit cards have been billed for agreed amounts.......and got a $100.00 stateroom credit. If you have time I simply recommend doing research. Good Luck! Chef Nancy:)

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Have used Golden Bear for at least 20 years off & on == long before the internet -- and absolutely no problems. Super honest and I believe are now a part of American Express. We formerly lived in a town that had no group trips or group prices -- many years ago -- and this was a way for our local agent to still get commission and us a good price.

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I'm curious about Golden Bear discount. Assuming this is the Oct 2005 62 day Amsterdam Asia/South Pacific, what category was quoted as being almost 3,000.00 less than local TA?

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