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-   -   Travel Agent Fees (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/all-things-cruising/371842-travel-agent-fees.html)

zdgp February 19th, 2010 03:19 PM

Travel Agent Fees
 
Are travel agents starting to charge fees for services that were formally covered by their commissions? Is this a trend, or is my TA out of line?

travelgalSue February 19th, 2010 04:43 PM

I am sorry to say that yes some agents are charging fees. Commissions have been cut so much that they have to charge for their work. Most charge a fee then if you book with them they refund or credit the fee.

Kuki February 19th, 2010 07:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zdgp (Post 1275194)
Are travel agents starting to charge fees for services that were formally covered by their commissions? Is this a trend, or is my TA out of line?

For a cruise I wouldn't work with an agent who charges a service fee for handling your booking PERIOD.

Air fare maybe, because there's no commissions from the airlines.

Some agents will charge a small fee if you cancel your booked cruise. But, even in that case I wouldn't pay more than $25-30.

There are plenty of good agents who don't charge any fees.

lulu48 February 19th, 2010 11:24 PM

Many agents spend time looking for the DEAL & booking trips etc only to have the person cancel or transfer to another agent
They do not get any commission for good will so they are now charging for their time

Would you work for free:confused:

Kuki February 19th, 2010 11:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lulu48 (Post 1275320)
Many agents spend time looking for the DEAL & booking trips etc only to have the person cancel or transfer to another agent
They do not get any commission for good will so they are now charging for their time

Would you work for free:confused:

That is no different from anyone who works on a commission basis. They get paid for what they produce.

You don't pay a real estate agent for showing you homes, a car salesman for showing you cars, a clothing sales person for showing you clothing, etc. etc.

It is their choice when deciding to work at a job where renumeration is based on commissions based on their sales.

Sorry.. I don't think it's my job to contribute to their salaries for "showing me their wares". And I also certainly don't feel guilty saving money by purchasing the same product elsewhere for less.

If a travel agent wants to be paid for doing the job, with no matter of if they closed the deal or not, they are in the wrong profession, and need to find a salaried position.

BTW... I put myself through college (years ago :) ) selling men's clothing on commission.

Donna February 20th, 2010 05:39 AM

Hi Zdgp,
What is the fee your agent is charging you for?

Kamloops Cruiser February 20th, 2010 08:02 AM

My TA charges a fee for bookings of airlines or cruises that include air.

lulu48 February 20th, 2010 09:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kuki (Post 1275322)
If a travel agent wants to be paid for doing the job, with no matter of if they closed the deal or not, they are in the wrong profession, and need to find a salaried position.

BTW... I put myself through college (years ago :) )

I am so glad you can get a salaried job many people are not that fortunate even with a university education.

If there were no TA's how would you get a good deal :confused:
The cruise line I guess

Many people put themselves through school so don't understand the statement

Kuki February 20th, 2010 10:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lulu48 (Post 1275373)
I am so glad you can get a salaried job many people are not that fortunate even with a university education.

If there were no TA's how would you get a good deal :confused:
The cruise line I guess

Many people put themselves through school so don't understand the statement

Hit a glitch when posting and it repeated my post a bunch of times (since removed) before I finished. I edited to say.. I worked on commission through college selling men's clothing.

So, while I do understand the frustrations of putting in work, and then not making the sale, I still didn't (and don't) expect any customer I worked with to pay me anyway.

katlady February 20th, 2010 10:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lulu48 (Post 1275373)
I am so glad you can get a salaried job many people are not that fortunate even with a university education.

If there were no TA's how would you get a good deal :confused:
The cruise line I guess

Many people put themselves through school so don't understand the statement

I don't need a TA to get a good deal. In fact my TA was a hindrance to me. I researched cruises in my excel template and after doing price comparison on 8 cruises. I picked the one I wanted. I booked Early Saver fare on Carnival use rewards points so I had to use a TA. I watched the price of my cruise for my cabin category and when the price went down I had to use the TA to put in the early saver request. The first 3 times the TA didn't charge me a fee. The fourth time on the biggest price drop the TA wanted to charge me a $50. :mad: For doing what? Filling out a form that is so easy my dog could do it.

I'm sorry I don't see the value of a TA for me. I'm trained on how to skip trace on the internet and financial analysis. I put myself through college as a hairstylist it took eight years of hard work. But I have a business degree with an option in fiance. For someone that doesn't want to take the time or doesn't know how than a good TA is worth it. For me I can find better deals without a TA bogging me down in fees. Oh and cruise air is the biggest rip off of all. I priced it out and find I could save $100 per person booking it myself. Plus I came in the day after the cruise and that extra $200 paid for my hotel.

Snoozeman February 20th, 2010 11:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zdgp (Post 1275194)
Are travel agents starting to charge fees for services that were formally covered by their commissions? Is this a trend, or is my TA out of line?

TA's usually do charge a fee for air as do many popular travel web sites. Most do not charge a fee for cruise travel.

MaryLou February 20th, 2010 07:50 PM

My experience as a travel agent.....I do not charge a service fee for cruises or land vacations. The airlines do not pay commission; therefore my agency charges a fee for booking air. I always tell my clients this up front and give them the option to book their own air. 99% of my clients want to book their own air. It doesn't seem to be a problem.

Fern February 20th, 2010 08:31 PM

The company my wonderful TA works for does charge a $25.00 fee for booking a cruise. However, I've never been charged that fee :). It's always "disappeared" from my final payment. I'm not sure, but I think she takes the fee out of her commission. I get a good cruise price from her (and the agency) and she always sends a boarding gift.

I like that she'll run "interference" in case of a cruise problem. Also, if the price of a cruise goes down, she's able to lower it (or get OBC) with just a phone call. It's not necessary for her to jump through hoops :D!

Like most TA's, (MaryLou :)) she would charge extra to book air. That's no problem for me to do myself.

zdgp February 25th, 2010 06:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Donna (Post 1275343)
Hi Zdgp,
What is the fee your agent is charging you for?

We have used this TA for six years and booked 13 cruise packages through her. We believe we are one of her best individual customers. She works at a medium size agency. The fees started last year.

We are charged $20 for each cruise booked, and $20 for any air deviation. However, the airfare was INCLUDED in the cruise package.

This TA is familiar with all our likes and dislikes with respect cruise vacations. We would hate to start over with someone else, but we think we are being taken for granted.

Kuki February 25th, 2010 10:45 AM

It sounds as though your agent booked the air through the cruise lines, and if so, the cruise lines do charge an air deviation fee (with the exception of some, if you reach certain levels in their repeat cruisers program).

The $20 doesn't sound like much in the overall scheme of things, but I hate paying for someone's work, when I'm already paying for their work with my purchase.

felix_the_cat February 25th, 2010 02:21 PM

Well Kuki, when it comes to air you are not paying their fee and don't you think they have a right to at least make enough to pay for their time and paper?

Our agency does charge a service fee for air as there is absolutely no commission. I don't have a problem passing that one to the client however I do tell them upfront about the fee. They are of course free to scout out their own air and some do. However most don't because they want the added security of knowing the times are right and that if there is a problem they have someone to call to help them.

I don't think you would do work for free no matter the circumstances - why should a TA?

Donna February 25th, 2010 04:23 PM

I too have paid for air deviations in the past, now I just do my own air arrangements. What I don't understand is the $20 per person to book the cruise itself? Never heard of that.. So far, I have never paid a fee just to book a cruise.

felix_the_cat February 25th, 2010 04:27 PM

Just in case I didn't make myself clear, I would not and do not charge any fee to book a cruise. That's what the commission is about. I would also point out that when someone books a $199 cruise, by the time all is said and done if I make $2/3 I'm lucky. Usually with all that's involved it costs me money. At the same time, that's the way it goes and I still wouldn't charge for doing that booking.\

However, air is a completely different ball of wax. There is nothing in that one no matter which way you slice it and I do think it' fair to charge $25/35 if the client doesn't want to book the air themselves.

Paul Motter February 25th, 2010 05:13 PM

Even most online agencies of the size of Travelocity or Expedia charge fees for air bookings these days - [note: I do not know the policies of any online agencies, so I may have named one by mistake, this is a general statement about online agencies]. It can vary by what airline or the terms of the flight. However it is usually limited to about $10.00. if you go to an airline web site you don't pay a service fee.

I don't mind paying a fee to someone who does me a real service - getting me a great seat on a non-stop during daylight hours on a flight I couldn't find myself. It's worth it.

But while we always recommend using a TA to book a cruise we say so because we know thet get their commission for the cruise through the cruise line - you pay nothing extra.

Whether or not you feel it is worth paying a fee, and the amount you want to pay, to a Travel Agent to book air is a personal choice.

zdgp February 26th, 2010 07:05 AM

I agree that $20 is insignificant compared to a cruise costing thousands. However, this “insignificant” business works both ways. It reminds me of the old joke from the days of coin telephones. The operator wants another 5 cents, and the caller doesn’t have it. The operator asks: “are you going to argue over a nickel?” The caller responds: “It’s the same nickel you are arguing over.”

blueliner February 26th, 2010 01:27 PM

I've been working as a TA now for almost 4 years. We usually only charge fees for airline tickets because there is no commission for air tickets. However, we are starting to think about charging a fee for travel consultation. It doesn't happen a lot when it comes to cruise sales, but what does happen for some customers doing land vacations, especially for Mexico and Caribbean resort vacations, is they use our services and recommendations, then go price shopping and book elsewhere. I recently had a honeymoon couple that I spent almost 2 months working with and answered TONS of questions and made LOTS of recommendations, in the end they took all my work and the recommendation I came up with and booked it elsewhere online because it was $60 cheaper! That really irks (the nicest word I could come up with since this is a public board) me! We are considering for all future land vacation clients, to charge a consultation fee of $25 per person, that we would apply to the booking if they book with us.

Paul Motter February 26th, 2010 02:27 PM

$25 for all the work you did for those people is a bargain. How much commission did they cheat you out of by deciding to save $60 after using hours of your time to make the right choices?

I really think that is deplorable. People - book your own cruises or else use a travel agent for advice and let them book the travel.

But DO NOT go to a travel agent for advice and then cheap them out of what could be a very nice commission for them just so you can save $60. That is unbelievably selfish.

blueliner February 26th, 2010 03:07 PM

The commission would have been about $300+. Since it was for 2 people, we would've charged $50. The agency owner says this has been happening a lot lately with all the agents, and it happens mostly with younger, internet savvy, couples. I guess they haven't learned about hard work and loyalty yet. I don't mind so much if someone knows what they want, and they come in just once or twice and take some brochures and don't book with us. But when you spend HOURS and HOURS with them, making LOTS of recommendations and working hard with hours of research, and then they not only don't book with you, but use MY recommendation and book elsewhere, that really makes me upset!

felix_the_cat February 26th, 2010 03:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blueliner (Post 1276915)
I've been working as a TA now for almost 4 years. We usually only charge fees for airline tickets because there is no commission for air tickets. However, we are starting to think about charging a fee for travel consultation. It doesn't happen a lot when it comes to cruise sales, but what does happen for some customers doing land vacations, especially for Mexico and Caribbean resort vacations, is they use our services and recommendations, then go price shopping and book elsewhere. I recently had a honeymoon couple that I spent almost 2 months working with and answered TONS of questions and made LOTS of recommendations, in the end they took all my work and the recommendation I came up with and booked it elsewhere online because it was $60 cheaper! That really irks (the nicest word I could come up with since this is a public board) me! We are considering for all future land vacation clients, to charge a consultation fee of $25 per person, that we would apply to the booking if they book with us.

I understand completely. Been there - done that. I have had clients who have emailed me when they know I'm on vacation to tell me they can find it through XX company at $20 cheaper - am I going to match it. I have spent personal time sitting on a ship or in a hotel on my phone for people like this - long distance calls at my expense and have them walk away cause someone else will beat the price by $10. Then they come back and complain because they couldn't get service after booking with another company and want me to help them!!! I used to but not anymore. Now I just politely tell them they will have to discuss it with the person they booked it with - and yes, they have called me on a Sunday evening at 10 o'clock cause they know I'm available 24/7 even when on vacation but they still booked with someone who could save them $10.

lulu48 February 27th, 2010 09:21 PM

Glad to hear that other TA's feel the same about people wasting their time

Agencies are starting to charge a fee but will apply it to the booking when you actually book with them.

Like they say in business
"TIME IS MONEY"

brad813 March 22nd, 2010 05:27 PM

Most travel agents will charge a fee for domestic air and some other noncommisionable services. However, if it seems to you that you get one of those travel agents(who are unfortunately colleagues) who have decided to charge a service fee for everything, run away fast.

worthew8 March 22nd, 2010 06:39 PM

this discussion
 
This discussion makes me feel better that I do all my booking myself, online.

My fare just dropped $300 and one phone call was all I had to make (and the phone call was free...on a weekend). Done. No fees, no commissions.

Am I the only one?

Nurse Debra March 23rd, 2010 08:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by worthew8 (Post 1281676)
This discussion makes me feel better that I do all my booking myself, online.

My fare just dropped $300 and one phone call was all I had to make (and the phone call was free...on a weekend). Done. No fees, no commissions.

Am I the only one?

No you are not!!! We do all of our cruise and airline booking ourselves. We book our airline tickets online and it could not be any easier. That way we get the airline and flight times that we want at the best price. For our cruise reservations sometimes we book direct with the cruise line and sometimes we go through an on-line broker. We are also not comfortable to have a middleman handling our arrangements in case there are some immediate changes to be made or there is a problem. Our theory is that on the cruise price drops, at the end of the day, you are the one who has the responsibility to watch for price drops and take action to get the reduction.

I do however, agree with the many TA's on this board who said it is not fair to waste their time getting information and then going elsewhere to book.

Debra

Kuki March 23rd, 2010 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by worthew8 (Post 1281676)
This discussion makes me feel better that I do all my booking myself, online.

My fare just dropped $300 and one phone call was all I had to make (and the phone call was free...on a weekend). Done. No fees, no commissions.

Am I the only one?

You shouldn't feel too much better. In the vast majority of cases, particularly with Carnival, if you're booking direct you're actually paying more than you have to. Carnival PVPs aren't allowed to discount.

Not true of every agent you get bids from... but enough that there's a plentiful pool to chose from.

Amberderossi March 26th, 2010 08:40 AM

For a new client coming by referral, we charge a couple $150 consultation fee and require them to fill out an application for us to take them on as a client. If they are accepted, their fee is deposited. If not, their fee is returned. This is for a cruise experience which is much more than just the air to get them to the port, the pre/post cruise hotel arrangements and excursions in the ports of call. People are paying us not for opinion but for our advice and time. The COST of the trip is completely separate from our services.

There is a higher level concierge service we offer for unlimited booking throughout the year. That is limited to 50 clients only who fill out an even more detailed questionnaire and there is currently a waiting list. At this level, we are not only arranging their travel, but if they ask they get services from a cleaning service to tidy their home before their return to their pets being taken to the kennel to limo service to and from the airport and the port.

Not everyone pays it but I promise you when our phone rings it is someone we want to talk to and not a price shopper or tire kicker.


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