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Old May 25th, 2012, 11:39 AM
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Post What is the one gift you love receiving from your Travel Agent?

We all love surprises. What is the one item you love seeing in your cabin when you arrive on your embarkation day?

If you are not lucky enough to have had a great TA to give you gifts.
( sorry) What would you like to see?

Wine, On board credit, dinner credit... so many things to chose from.

What's your favorite.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 12:07 PM
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OBC.

Nothing beats good old $$$

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Old May 25th, 2012, 12:18 PM
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OBC for me too. Would much rather put it towards something I want rather than a bottle of cheap spumante in my room
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Old May 25th, 2012, 12:48 PM
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Talking Gift

Oh, not OBC. That is boring.

For me it is much nicer to get some special little something -- especially if it is something nice we probably would not get ourselves.

The gift from the TA is normally based on a percentage of her commission, so it will vary depending on the cost of the trip. A bottle of wine used to be common, but it is sort of passe, especially since fewer people drink these days. For a short trip, chocolate covered strawberries are my favorite. On a longer trip or with a more expensive cabin, dinner at the specialty restaurant is very nice. And for that expensive cruise, balcony dining one night is a delightful luxury.

Of course, for certain customers, casino chips are the only way to go!
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Old May 25th, 2012, 02:14 PM
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When a ta, gives their client an obc, it's giving them options, to do anything they want, and, imho, that's the best gift of all. You leave red wine, I drink white, you give a gc to the Steak House, they are a vegan...see what's happening? Can never go wrong with an obc....you can get strawberries too, if you want em
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Old May 25th, 2012, 06:49 PM
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:oA gift from my TA? Am I on Candid Camera?
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Old May 25th, 2012, 09:03 PM
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I totally agree, the OBC is a wonderful gift from any travel agent, you can do what you want, either purchases or towards shore excursions, your choice and moneys you didn't have to spend...
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Old May 25th, 2012, 09:16 PM
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A TA we used a few years ago gave us a pair of binoculars and a travel bag .
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Old May 25th, 2012, 09:32 PM
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The best thing that I get from my TA is excellent service with a personal touch.

She has given us some gifts, but her help and friendly service is the reason that I do business with her.

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Old May 26th, 2012, 03:31 AM
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We have never had any sort of gift from any TA or the cruiseline, they want our money about 4 months before departure, we lose a great deal if we cancel for a non insured event, if the price drops by sometimes thousands of 's per couple that's hard luck.....so GIFTS?? no chance!!
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Old May 26th, 2012, 05:35 AM
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We had an invite to the naming of Azura all free drinks ect, the Adoina and an 18 night cruise on IOS plus the odd bottle of fizz & chocolate dipped strawberries.

I think i's the number of trips we do a year the agents like to keep you sweet as it's just ring confirm and done. Easy work
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Old May 26th, 2012, 12:35 PM
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Question OBC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna View Post
I totally agree, the OBC is a wonderful gift from any travel agent, you can do what you want, either purchases or towards shore excursions, your choice and moneys you didn't have to spend...
How interesting that so many people prefer the OBC.

There seems to be a huge trend in all sorts of giving toward this sort of thing. I have even seen brides ask for gift cards instead of gifts.

I was taught this sort of thing is tacky, that the point of a gift is the thought that has gone into it.

Admittedly, few stoop so low as the young couple who recently invited us to a wedding shower so we could attach money to their money tree!

To me an OBC is just an accounting credit, that frankly will just go to cover routine expenses we would have had anyhow. There is none of the happiness and fun of discovering some unexpected little treat.

I would imagine TA's like that kind of client -- quick and easy to please.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 02:03 PM
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I would prefer OBC as would Mrs.Henry43 .
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Old May 26th, 2012, 02:07 PM
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No question an on board credit is the best option. I disagree with MercedMike that it's simply an accounting credit. I think the client very well understands it has value, and this "gift" allow them to purchase something of value TO THEM; their choice entirely of what that might be.

As far as being tacky, I disagree with that too. Brides registering for gifts they would like to receive is an old tradition.

It makes much more sense than receiving "thoughtful gifts" that are of no use. I bet every one of us has those types of gifts hidden in our closets, or those we were lucky enough to sell to someone at a garage sale.

Those on the receiving end might for just a moment consider that someone giving a cash gift didn't put much thought into it. But, it certainly won't take long for them to appreciate being able to use it.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 03:48 PM
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Yep - OBC for me too. Though I cheat a little. I only book online and I make sure in advance there is an OBC attached.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 05:38 PM
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I have never brought a gift to a wedding, we always bring an envelope...In our tradition, it's never considered tacky, just thougtful. So....I so appreciate my ta, giving me the chance to choose, what to do with his/her, thoughtful gift.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 05:42 PM
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We give checks as wedding gifts regardness of the religious persuasion.
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Old May 27th, 2012, 04:17 PM
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I like the 5 - 7.5% kickback check I receive before sailing. Shipboard credit is good, too, but not as worthwhile when almost everything is already included. I have taken to ordering expensive wine just to use up the shipboard credit.

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Old May 27th, 2012, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki View Post
No question an on board credit is the best option. I disagree with MercedMike that it's simply an accounting credit. I think the client very well understands it has value, and this "gift" allow them to purchase something of value TO THEM; their choice entirely of what that might be.

As far as being tacky, I disagree with that too. Brides registering for gifts they would like to receive is an old tradition.

It makes much more sense than receiving "thoughtful gifts" that are of no use. I bet every one of us has those types of gifts hidden in our closets, or those we were lucky enough to sell to someone at a garage sale.

Those on the receiving end might for just a moment consider that someone giving a cash gift didn't put much thought into it. But, it certainly won't take long for them to appreciate being able to use it.
Kuki,

I agree completely with you. The "thoughtful" gift is sweet but it is rarely something needed or wanted. You can only have so many "trinkets, souvenirs or knick knacks" in the house. My TA knows me but is not an intimate friend and would probably never give me a gift of something my wife or I would truly want or need. A gift is a gift be it OBC, discount, wine, travel bag or other thing. However, when I am dropping four to five figures on a cruise a bottle of wine really isn't going to make me too happy but it's more than I had before.

I also agree with brides registering for gifts. When a young couple is starting out they need something practical and useful. A crystal vase doesn't quite meet the "needs" of a new couple just starting out. The vase can come at a later time.

Take care,
Mike
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Old May 28th, 2012, 11:08 AM
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Never received a gift from our travel agent, and I thought we had such a good relationship. I feel slighted now! (but it would be nice!)
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Old May 28th, 2012, 12:59 PM
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Question Gifts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike M View Post

I also agree with brides registering for gifts. When a young couple is starting out they need something practical and useful. A crystal vase doesn't quite meet the "needs" of a new couple just starting out. The vase can come at a later time.
So basically, then, the thing to do is to TELL your Travel Agent what you would like as a gift -- strawberries, casino chips, OBC or whatever. Then you will be sure the gift meets your "needs."

Maybe the TA can just hand the client a form that says "Pick your gift from this list. Please check the appropriate box and return to me."

Evidentally I am the only one to whom this seems crass.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
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Maybe the TA can just hand the client a form that says "Pick your gift from this list. Please check the appropriate box and return to me."

Evidentally I am the only one to whom this seems crass.
Yep. I would prefer that any day over receiving a tote bag with the agency's name on it. I have about a dozen of those.

Mike:
When I purchase a cruise I am making a business transaction. I am not fulfilling the needs and the desires of the seller. They are selling a product and I am buying it. I am looking for the best value and they are looking to sell it and to retain me as a customer and to also make money on the deal. Without both of those they won't stay in business.

On almost all cruises the price that ANY agent can sell it for is the same. The cruise lines leveled the playing field a few years ago and the pricing that you get from one agent is the same as the others. If the agent is selling it for more than the cruise line then find a new agent because they aren't your friend.

It's what else they can add to the deal to make it worth it for me to book with them. Service is one thing but I have to say that I don't need a lot of "service" other than getting the booking correct and making changes if needed.

The standard conversation I have with my agent when booking a cruise is: "I want to book Category/Cabin XXX on the April 20th sailing of Ship Y. What is the price and what can you throw into the deal?" I already know the price before I call the agent.

I'm not going to go find someone else over $50 or a bottle of wine but I can get the same service by speaking to an order taker at the cruise line and my agent knows that and will do a bit more in order to keep my business. I book two or three cruises a year through her.

I like my agent, we are friends, not really close friends but friends, but when it comes to business I'm not going to spend more or miss out on money just so she can make more money.

It's not personal. It's just business.

Take care,
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Old May 28th, 2012, 08:41 PM
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I get liking a personilized gift, but OBC is getting so big these days. I looked at a cruise today and it had over $400 in OBC. For that amount, I really don't want to have the TA decide what we'd like.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 10:08 PM
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Unless you are really a personal friend to your ta...you don't really "know" them, nor do they "know' you. As I mentioned in a previous post, getting something you won't use, or, enjoy, how does that enhance your cruise?

If you think lots of thought went into giving you a tote bag, or, a bottle of wine, I would beg to differ. Allowing you to choose from a long list of fun things to do, or buy on your cruise, is a much more enjoyable scenario to me. That's a thoughtful ta...Years back, the wine/tote went over big...not so much anymore,
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Old May 29th, 2012, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
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When I purchase a cruise I am making a business transaction. I am not fulfilling the needs and the desires of the seller. They are selling a product and I am buying it. ... Service is one thing but I have to say that I don't need a lot of "service" other than getting the booking correct and making changes if needed. The standard conversation I have with my agent when booking a cruise is: "I want to book Category/Cabin XXX on the April 20th sailing of Ship Y. What is the price and what can you throw into the deal?" I already know the price before I call the agent... I can get the same service by speaking to an order taker at the cruise line and my agent knows that and will do a bit more in order to keep my business. I book two or three cruises a year through her. ...It's not personal. It's just business.
Mike --

All that is basically true -- for you.

But for other customers, a Travel Agent does much more. I know my Travel Agent very well. Here are some of the things she does for her customers:

For new cruisers, she "qualifies" the customer, finds out their likes and dislikes, and recommends several possible cruises based on what they want. She explains about sea days, tenders, private islands, shore excursions, and many other things that go into cruising.

She discusses guarantees vs. locked in cabin choices. If she books a guarantee she monitors it for them and is always looking for upgrades.

She works with them on passports, and if necessary helps them get expedited passports.

She works out their air flights, discusses arriving a day early, makes sure they have suffcient time at either end.

She arranges transfers, either through the cruise line or by limo, and takes care of car rental if needed.

She goes over the shore excursion brochure with them, and explains options of independent excursions and timing of excursions. She helps them understand options for handicapped or limited passengers. She describes the kids programs and excursions suitable for kids.

She helps deal with name and cabin changes. She helps deal with delayed or cancelled flights.

She goes over insurance plans and helps them choose.

She explains formal nights and discusses options.

She explains dining options and makes arrangements for whatever they choose.

She assists with pre-ordering whatever they need, be it flowers for the cabin, formal wear, or liquor packages. She pre books spa appointments and specialty dining reservations.

She holds their hand when their cousin decides not to go, and helps them re-arrange cabin assignments.

She goes over luggage allowances and advises them on packing.

Once she even went by their house, grabbed a forgotten passport, and rushed it to them at the airport.

Then, after doing all that, she sends them a thoughtful gift based on what she has learned about them.

However, I am the only one who gets one extra gift. I am not allowed on this board to specify the relationship I have with my TA, but I am the only customer that she sleeps with!
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Old May 29th, 2012, 11:17 AM
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, I was going to say, isn't your TA your wife
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Old May 29th, 2012, 05:14 PM
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Wow sure looks like OBC is the number one gift. I do think the TA should try to know their client. And give them what they want or can use. but if OBC is what they want, then happy they shall be!! And though they don't have to give a gift, I do think it shows you care.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 10:36 AM
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Talking OBC is the winner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trackypup View Post
, I was going to say, isn't your TA your wife
-- you said it, I didn't ... Don't want to be accused of advertising. And she does not solicit internet business. She is a face to face TA.

I passed on to her the comments from this board about OBC being the preferrred gift and she found it very interesting. She said it would certainly simplify her life to just do it that way.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MercedMike View Post
-- you said it, I didn't ... Don't want to be accused of advertising. And she does not solicit internet business. She is a face to face TA.

I passed on to her the comments from this board about OBC being the preferrred gift and she found it very interesting. She said it would certainly simplify her life to just do it that way.
Glad I can help. Why I blog and post. Trust me I am taking notes
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