Originally Posted by Travelbuggs
Well, Brad, thank you for confirming my suspicion that some TAs base their recommendation on their own personal tastes and prejudices or whoever happens to be awarding the most commission!
That's not what Brad is saying. No where did he mention anything about recommending any cruise line because of commission. The only thing he said about commission was to say cruise lines do not pay commission until after the cruise. (BTW, this is not necessarily true for all cruise lines.)
And, quite frankly, everyone is exactly the same way. If you are constantly encountering problems with a company, do you recommend them to your family and friends? Of course not. So, in effect, you're showing your bias based on your own personal tastes and prejudices. Just because you had a bad problem with them does not necessarily mean others will. It's only human nature for people to want to warn others about a particular company because of their personal experiences. The same can be said about any profession, whether it be a travel agent, auto mechanic, dentist, accountant, etc. And that's all that Brad was talking about. In fact, he said he was simply cautious about recommending a company that he had encountered several problems with. He never said anything about not recommending them.
You're only talking about your experiences with NCL. Travel agents have experiences with all the cruise lines and it's only natural for them to compare the companies against each other and how well they treat not only the travel agents, but their clients as well. If I have a company where my clients are always encountering problems, I have a duty to my clients to let them know about those problems so they have all the facts and can make appropriate decisions.
Professionally, I've never had any major problems with NCL, but I've had several with Carnival. Personally, I've never had any problems when cruising on NCL, but have had some when cruising Carnival. So does that mean I should advise my clients accordingly?
Finding a good travel agent is like finding a good cruise line; what one person finds great, another will not be happy with. I have many clients who absolutely love Carnival and won't sail on any other cruise line, while other clients hate Carnival with a passion.
My professional opinion is that a good travel agent should not be recommending anything. I don't consider that a part of my job. As a professional travel agent, I feel it's my job to give as much information as a client can handle so they can make the best decision on what's right for them based on their requirements, lifestyle, and budget.
When anyone, not just travel agents, 'recommends', they are in fact trying to persuade or guide a person towards a decision.
Sometimes it's very difficult not to want to recommend. I have people all the time asking me for recommendations and my answer is always the same, "It's not my job to recommend anything, because what I like you may not necessarily like and vice versa. It's my job to give you information so you can make an informed decision on what's right for you."
That's part of the fun of cruising - trying all of the cruise lines until you find the best one for you. We've been on 47 cruises on 11 cruise lines and can't wait to try the next one on the list.
There's nothing wrong with booking directly with the cruise line. If you don't have any problems, then everything goes according to plan. But people need to be aware that if problems do arise, the cruise line is going to represent themselves and not the passenger. However, if you book with a reputable agent, they represent you and should you have any problems, it's their job to take care of it so you don't have to hassle with it. Besides, they have contacts available to them that are not available to you and can make it so much easier for you.
As for you hearing from "plenty of people say that they have had problems once onboard because the OBC promised by the TA did not show up", I've been involved in travel for over 25 years before starting my own company 12 years ago and have over 2900 clients around the world, and I've only had a few problems with someone not getting their onboard credit and it was the fault of the cruise line in every instance. So I have to wonder if those 'plenty of people' were all on the same cruise line.