Does anyone check with different travel agents in their home town to see if there is any difference in price for same cruise? Is this fair to agent? Just wondering how others feel. I have used same agent since I began cruising but always hear about how others get deals.
Location: Wisconsin....about 100 miles south of the Frozen Tundra and 70 miles east of Camp Randall
Re: Travel agents
I not only check TA's in town, I check others on the internet and use other tools to check prices. If you make it clear you are just asking for a quote, there should be no problems. This is their job...........and many times I have just walked in or called and received a quote. I thank the person for their time. I have never had any TA make me feel like I was wasting their time.
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There is NOTHING wrong with price comparison and you should always know the what the current prices are of the cruise you are buying. If you are receiving good service from your current agent and the difference is only a few percent on a cruise there is no reason to switch However if the difference is significant then you should let your agent know this and give them the chance to match it.
If they can, great; if they can't then you have the choice of staying with them or taking your business to the competition. The only way you can make this choice is to price shop. It is always in your best interest to be an informed buyer.
There is more to a travel agent then what the price they can sell you a cruise for. It is the service they give you before during and after the cruise. It is also what they do for you when there is a problem. This is what separates the good agents from the bad agents.
There are plenty of very good agents out there who charge competitive rates and there are bad agents out there who basically charge brochure rates. It's up to you to find out.
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"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
Even as a professional cruise agent, I would hope you would check with someone else to make sure that I am giving you a fair price. However, if I fall in high, I would hope that you would give me the chance to beat or match my competition.
Yes, definitely shop but be upfront with an agent and let them know you are shopping so they give you the best price possible. Then if you get quotes that are all within a few dollars of one another, call the agent that gave you the BEST and most ATTENTIVE customer service. Give that agent your bottom line quote and see if he/she can match or beat it. Remember, you get what you pay for - by trying to save $20 per person, you may end up with an agent that could care less and won't be there to assist if you have a problem or issue. Good customer service is missing in the travel agent industry nowadays and when you have an agent that promptly returns calls, answers questions (or gets you answers), and is genuinely interested in your vacation from start to finish, its worth the few bucks you may have saved with some internet company. Keep in mind that you should also work with someone that's got training or has some background in sellling cruises - I worked with an agent trying to book a cruise from an internet company - she couldn't answer any of my questions - finally I asked her "have you ever cruised before" and her answer was NO - hard to properly sell something you've never even experienced...... I've found a great agent - she is quick to get me info, keeps me informed when she mails my tickets, matches deals I find, sends a nice thank you after we sail, and assists whenever/however we need it - again, it's worth a few bucks to have the peace of mind and service.
I totally agree with Spike. I had the same travel agent for 10 years who then retired.
When she retired, it took at least 3 more cruises to find a TA to truly rely on, trust and feel content with the service. Certainly, remember you are the client with the bucks to spend and if the service is not what you want - move on. To me, booking a cruise is part of the cruising experience and that should be as pleasant as the cruise.
Also, I research the itnerary I want, check on-line agencies and search engines like EXPEDIA and always tell the agent the best price I can find and have always let him know that if he can come within 50 bucks of that price, I will buy from him.
Always and even with the agent I had for 10 years, the travel agent has come back with a better offer or some other incentive for me to book with him/her. Bonus is this, you have a personal relationship and a good contact if something goes awry who you can trust to work for your best interest. That is priceless.
One other thing too - I would only ever book a cruise with an agent who has experience of cruising vacations - the more the better.
Bottom line for me is a TA that works for me is not as important as the cheapest price.