Originally Posted by Kuki
I've been around the industry long enough to know there are plenty of great agents who provide BOTH without charging extra for the priviledge of working with them.
I don't think travel agents should work for nothing, but I absolutely don't go along with the view that an agent can only provide good service if they are charging all sorts of additional fees.
You have never had people call you asking for a quote on a trip (which is the same as they can get direct) and then move on to the next agent all the while not returning phone calls or emails. It also depends on what exactly you define as good service. Taking an order takes very little skill and is certainly not service by any definition.
I have the luxury of picking and choosing my clients. My clients come to me because they are in information overload, they are looking for advice, they want extra time and personal attention. They want to work with a human and want that human experience.
You may be of the opinion that the commission is my salary, but I don't share it. With the prices coming down to unheard of levels all the while the cruiselines are raising the parts of the fare where they don't pay commission, something has to give.
I will say that most of the people on this message board are not the type of clients I am seeking. I have a business model and quite honestly it works rather well. My business tripled when I went to fee based consulting.
Most people do not book their second cruise with the person who sold them their first one. 98% of the people who book with me, keeping booking with me. I never compete on price ever, and believe or not there is a large segment of the population willing to pay for it. How do you think someone like a professional shopper is able to stay in business? People can just go off and buy, wrap and send that gift themselves for free yet many pay a professional to take care of it.