In my role as a consultant, it is my job to make sure that my clients get the cruise experience that is right for them. As I tell people, how CHEAP does a bad vacation have to be for it to be okay? Many of the posters on here have many cruises under their belts and are quite experienced in knowing what they want from a cruise vacation.
They forget that there are many more who have never taken an initial cruise. My model is to serve those customers as well and be compensated for my years of experience as well as my knowledge and advice. I could concentrate on high volume, but why work harder and not smarter? Going after $199 cruises to make $2/3 and sometimes even lose money does not make sense to me.
Why shouldn't we be compensated for our time? You pay legal fees if found guilty and your estate pays medical bills if you die. We should be paid for our time if a client has to cancel. A good insurance policy will cover all non-refundable portions of a cruise vacation including my service fee.
We do romance our customers and appreciate the investment and trust they have made in us. We know not everyone is going to pay for our service and that is okay by us. With a waiting list to be on our highest plan, we know we are doing the right business model.
We have switched to a model where our client's support our living and not one that relies on an ever dwindling commission from our suppliers. Our client's find that our consultation is worth the peace of mind and insurance. It is not a booking fee or a deposit. It is the charge we have just like a fee based investment adviser has for his services. And we do offer a service.
We know there are other agencies out there that do not charge a consultation fee and we welcome our prospects to go that route if they wish. We just know they would be getting a different experience than the one we offer.
You can choose to brew your coffee at home for far less than a cup at Starbucks, but your experience will be entirely different.