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Old September 20th, 2012, 11:40 PM
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Absolutely no argument there! Personally, I'm not a big CLIA fan. All they do is offer training to travel agents on how to sell better. Selling does not make one a better travel agent, it just makes one a better seller. Anyone can be a salesman/saleswoman, but it takes someone who cares about their clients to be a good agent. Unfortunately, as with any profession, there will always be a few idiots who give a black eye to the majority of the hardworking reputable agents. And it's too bad the few negative ones will always garner the attention.

The internet has made it easy for those who are only interested in selling to do just that, with little investment and little knowledge of the industry.

But it's not just the online sites.

We were on a cruise once and sat down to eat lunch in the main dining room. Four other people were seated with us and we started the usual small talk and introductions. I asked the lady next to me what she did and she said she was a travel agent. I didn't tell her I was one, but asked how long she had been doing it. She said 20 years. I made the comment that she must have been on a lot of cruises. Imagine my complete surprise when she said this was her first one. I asked her how she could sell something for 20 years that she knew nothing about from personal experience. Her friend chimed in that she was very good at it. I thought to myself that she was very good at lying to people. I asked her who she worked for and she said AAA.

A couple of weeks later, we went to our local AAA to attend a grand opening. While sitting there as they were drawing door prizes, we listened to an 'agent' trying to sell a cruise to a senior couple. She never once listened to what this couple wanted. They wanted to take their family on an upscale cruise to the Mexican Riviera. The agent kept pushing Carnival and never once mentioned anything about any of the other cruise lines offering the same itinerary, including NCL, RCCL, Holland America, Celebrity, and Princess. (This was a few years ago before the problems in Mexico started.) I felt very sorry for the couple and couldn't believe this agent was not providing any other options. When I got home, I looked at my emails to find Carnival was having a special offering an extra $50 bonus commission for Mexican Riviera cruises. Then I realized all the agent was concerned about was the extra commission, not in providing a good service to the client.

I'm not trying to pick on AAA; it was just a coincidence that these two things happened within a couple of weeks and it just happened to have involved the same agency. But it shows how alot of these big places are more interested in selling than in providing service.

But like I said, a few bad apples spoil it for the rest of us.

Pete
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Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist w/12 yrs exp and 47 Cruises on 11 cruise lines! Favorites: Paul Gauguin - Tahiti: Uniworld River Cruises - Europe; Celebrity Solstice-class ships; Holland America - 12-nights Baltics & Russia; RCCL - 14-nights Greek Isles, Turkey, & Croatia; Holland America - 14-day Alaskan cruisetour; 10-night Canada/New England cruise; 21 days Hawaii w/7-night NCL cruise; Oceania - 25 days in Asia; more than 3 months touring Europe by train. And many all-inclusive resorts!
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