View Single Post
  #25 (permalink)  
Old May 25th, 2009, 11:48 PM
FL_Cruiser64's Avatar
FL_Cruiser64 FL_Cruiser64 is offline
Senior Member
First Mate
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 453

Originally Posted by Amberderossi
I am a travel agent and I charge professional consultation fees. I never compete on price but on service yet I do get my clients the best possible value. I give my clients what they truly want and offer several levels of service not available from the online agencies or many other travel agents.

I do charge cancellation or change fees on groups because groups take quite a bit of work and like many here I do not work for free.

I don't work with price shoppers because the price of the cruise has nothing to do with the service that I am offering. I work for my clients and not for my suppliers and as such my clients pay my salary. The suppliers provide my a commission for booking a client with them.
Originally Posted by Amberderossi
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.
This is exactly why I became a TA - travel agents like you. Sorry, anybody who sees commission from cruiselines the way you do is not worth a penny IMO. You are simply double dipping. Good for you if it works for you which honestly I do not believe. Carry on.

Originally Posted by felix_the_cat
Originally Posted by FL_Cruiser64
Originally Posted by felix_the_cat
Originally Posted by thecruisequeen
Well for the first time I booked directly with Royal and Carnival. My TA who is a cruise only TA was great however they made some changes.

1. If I book a cruise then cancel it they will charge me $100. even if it is well before the final payment.

2. When there is a price drop they now charge $35. to call the cruiseline and adjust the difference.

3. No more bottle of wine in the cabin either. :o

Talk about Cutbacks One thing remains the same is they still offer the free insurance.

That tough but..........There is a lot of paperwork and time usually involved in making a reservation even if it's cancelled. The company I work for gives the option of charging $100 too but it can be applied to another cruise taken within a year. I also use common sense. If it's a repeat client I refuse to charge.

The amount of commission is very small so I suppose that is why your TA wants to charge $35 however I think that's high. But I wll tell you this - I made $3.00 off one booking and she complained and complained about the cost!!! It's all relative.

You are very lucky though in getting your insurance paid for. I can't do that for my clients as the cost would cost more than anything I could possibly make. I guess that's one of the difference between Canada and the US - cost of insurance.
Ey, come on now.
I know you are in Canada but a cancellation is a click away.

I see no reason to charge for anything.
I agree with you - but the company lays down the rules not me. There are a couple of us who have refused to charge the $100 but the agency owner can get cranky. However I do have one client who has that $100 sitting in the bank as they have booked and cancelled numerous times - I think they need to make up their mind and this is the incentive they need.

Read your fine print in your contract Oliver. I believe it is actually the same for you but your in a different position than me as well.
I don't have a contract in which I have to charge any fee. It certainly is up to me but I am not forced to. I do believe there are some differences between US based independents and Canadian retail. I haven my own travel agency and "our company" is my host agency where I clear my cruises through.

I do impose fees for flights and flight research (airlines do not pay commission) - but only if they are not combined with cruises. Cruises booked through me get flights at whole sale rates - no added fees.

It has yet to take me longer than 30 minutes to book anybody. Heck, it takes me 30 minutes to upsell someone from inside to balcony. My commission take is plenty to consider this a decent pay.

I think it is also an art to sell cruises and make money. If someone sells only lowest inside on 3 and 4 Night cruises I can see where one struggles and maybe that's why some have to impose additional fees.

I am not sure how much freedom you have but there is an easy way to turn one single booking into a group and increased sales volume. Then it doesn't matter if that one person cancels or not. Anyhow.

Excellent thread.
Reply With Quote