I went with a TA as we were going to alaska and we were unfamilar with what was a good deal and she had been to Alaska, we booked with her on 2-3, we got the confirmation number from Princess. I went online and found the same cruise, same cabin category for 90 dollars less and when I asked her about this, she said that they could not compete with online prices, BUT if I found a Prncess direct rate that was better, she would call them to get them to honor it.
Here is where I am confused, i could cancel she said also, but what would happen to the money we already placed down on the cruise, she said it went to Princess already. so, do I even have to deal with her again? Can I just call Princess and transfer the booking to the online company? Do I cancel directly with Princess?
HELP. I wish to do this right, but I did well with the online company last year and I should have used them now.
You should never pay MORE than the price that you can get online directly from the Cruiseline. In most cases, (exception now being RCI Corp. products), you should be able to get it for less as the TA can rebate or share their commission with you. Yes you can transfer your bookings at anytime. If you are far enough away from the date of sailing in most cases you can cancel with no penalty. Some agents DO charge a cancellation fee above and beyond what the Cruiseline does but NEVER book with any of them that do. What is a fair price is anything at or less than the price you can obtain by booking direct with the cruiseline and one that you are satisfied paying. A reputable TA is gold as they will share part of the commission with you and discount the price further when allowed. In addition a good TA will watch the price and help you get the lower price or a shipboard credit should the price fall at any time. They also make sure you get the dinner seating you wish and try and get you an upgrade if you are willing to take that chance. They also answer any questions and help guide you through the process.
If you are talking $90.00 for the entire booking I wouldn't do anything. But if you were talking $90.00 per person I would ask her to get the fare lowered.
I am cautious about doing business with a TA who lower their commission to get business. I like service and don't really think I can get the service from a discount internet TA that I could from a local TA. Unless I have been told wrong they work on a 10 and maybe a 15% commission. If you consider the overhead that isn't much to work with.
Now consider the service the local agent gives you verse the agent over the phone. I have read over and over again about people having problems with internet TA. I rarely ever hear about someone having problems with a local TA.
Shop yes!! I always go to a reputable internet TA, like Vacations To Go get their price off the internet, ( I don't call vacations to go I just visit their website), and then call my agent. She has never not been able to meet their rates. I live very near a large town where my TA's office is so I know if I have a problem I can go and see her face to face. I believe my local TA has saved me many dollars over the years. I find my cruise call her and she get the price. She calls back and tells me the fare, (after 15 cruises she knows I shop), which I can live with. Then she ask me who is going and if I want to make any changes in what I normally book. She has all my info on file, knows I like late seating, etc.
She also get me upgrades, not a many as I would like, but who ever get enough?
For my money a local Travel Agent is miles ahead of an internet agent. Don't get me wrong there are numerous internet agents you can trust. But also there as some you can't at least that is what I have learned from these message boards.
I was in the car business for years, our family owned a very large dealership and I know overhead must be paid. Here is what I learned from the car business. You can sell cars cheap or reasonable. I also know cheap car come with NO after sale service except what the factory gives you. So you decide what do you want cheap and no service or reasonalbe and plenty of service.
I disagree with the problems of dealing with discount agents. I have also been on many cruises....I remeber almost 30! However, I too always know what I want and I am very easy to work with. I never pay more than I have to because I am doind all the work for the agent. I bokk 5 or 6 cabins. I know my cat., I know my dining preferences, I know how to book my own air. All I ask is that the agent make the actual booking for me. If I had an IATA number, I would do it all myself. I fail to see where an agent needs to make a large commision for a mere phone call that I cannot do. Most of htese agents work from their homes and as such have little overhead. I agree that a local agent has more expenses, however,why must I pay his or her rent?