Who Deserves a Thumbs Up or A Thumbs Down? | TravelResearchOnline


Who Deserves a Thumbs Up or A Thumbs Down?

Thanks for joining our new THUMBS UP, THUMBS DOWN column. The hits and misses come from you, the travel community. If you want to report something well done by a supplier, a res agent, or rep, let’s give them the praise. If you have a problem with airlines, tour companies, etc. or getting commissions, let it rip and see if I can help you out. Contact me at packagedeals@comcast.net

Les-Lee Roland

PictureWhat a great opportunity in newspapers throughout the country when CLIA’ s Pres, Terry Dale, stated that cruise rates this season are “incredible.” This was followed by the promos of twelve cruise lines. Sounds great, huh? Only one thing missing- nowhere in the article did it mention that people should call a travel agent. And in this case, it would have been perfect to mention what a CLIA educated agent was all about. THUMBS DOWN.

PictureAgents know when booking clients on land packages in Alaska, that fog most often limits any viewing of Mt. McKinley. Well, Princess Cruise Line called clients at 4:00 am one morning to tell them there was, finally, no fog. A THUMBS UP for this consideration.

PictureSouthwest Vacations, when booked on VAX, deserves a THUMBS UP. When bookings already under deposit bookings have been reduced in price, an agent can now get the lower rate – and this includes the air as well. One agent found Vegas packages with savings of more than $300 per couple. When she reported the good news to her clients, they invited other couples to join them. I’d rather have multiple sales than one slightly higher commission.

PictureAgents are reporting this THUMBS DOWN about Regent Seven Seas. Seems they have changed the bank they do business with, and working with one in Germany. When agents process credit card payments, the client now may be charged a currency conversion fee. Regent will repay the fee, but only if you supply a copy of the charge on the client’s statement. Doesn’t seem user…or…cruiser friendly.

PictureA THUMBS DOWN for the Casino Dept. at Carnival Cruises. Most agents don’t know that they are soliciting passengers- your clients- with offers to sail at lower rates, up to $1000 in spending money (no strings attached), free cocktails while gambling, and lots of other amenities. They could even bring friends along in other cabins. A few months ago, they even paid travel agents a commission on these qualified bookings. That was a THUMBS UP! Now, the gal who runs the department no longer will return phone calls to agents, they don’t want to deal with us anymore. But they encourage the client to book directly with Carnival now. Another major cruise line is making similar offers to gamblers. So much for their Gamblers Anonymous meetings on board!

PictureMust be a glitch in their system, but Cruise Baltic, is running a contest on their website, www.ILoveCruiseBaltic.com. Only problem is that once you register, it’s impossible to open the link to report your favorite Baltic experience, and no contact info to get it corrected. Hey Baltic…hope you read this.

PictureA THUMBS DOWN for the cruise BDM who was asked to make a presentation to about 60 women at a location ten minutes from her home. She was booked one month in advance. The day before the presentation, the travel agent went over what she wanted to present to her group – info on their new mega mega ship soon to be sailing. She also wanted some last minute availability for a group sailing. You’d think the BDM would come to this morning meeting prepared. The agent asked for a show of hands for people who wanted to sail within the next six weeks. Almost everyone raised their manicured fingers. When the women said they wanted to see brochures, the BDM said she didn’t bring any. The agent said- check your car to see if you have even one, so I can start processing orders. She returned from the car, nothing in hand, but some coupon books – similar to ones handed out to past passengers onboard. The waiting to book audience were disenchanted with this rep and asked her to leave and come back later, with brochures. She said her day was all planned and she couldn’t return. Worse, yet, she never followed up with the travel agent who arranged the meeting.

PictureIn case you missed the announcement, Princess has a new cancellation policy. Check your invoices for penalties. Now, for the longer cruises, penalties can start even before the final payment is processed. One agent was told her near $2000 deposit was non-refundable and final payment wasn’t due for two weeks. Try explaining that to a client! A THUMBS UP for the supervisor who overrode the penalty, stating that the rule is new and many agents are not aware of the changes.

  15 thoughts on “Who Deserves a Thumbs Up or A Thumbs Down?

  1. Congratulations on your new column on TRO!

  2. Les-Lee know of you through Debbie. Will keep your publications on file. Good to read, good to know . Irene Egeberg 409 cypress forest dr.
    Englewood Fl., 34223

  3. Rita Hickey says:

    Great to see you found a new home. Keep up the good work!

  4. Bernice Rosmarin, CTC says:

    To add to the ‘thumbs down’ regarding Regent’s extra charges, to add insult to injury, the funds are not returned to the client’s credit card, but given to themas a shipboard credit…whether they like it or not.

  5. Marlene DePalma says:

    Welcome Les-Lee. Looking forward to following your column here on TRO.

  6. Les-Lee says:


    Regent should get a lot of complaints from US agents for this new policy

    To Irene,
    Hi- back at ya- I know you for you, and not just Debbie

  7. Les-Lee says:

    I double checked with Regent about the conversion fee. It is the agent’s choice to receive a check for the fee or have the amount put on a shipboard credit.

    Hope that clears up any confusion.

  8. Kay Leck says:

    I would like to be on your email list to receive the Thumbs Uo Thumbs down column. It is good!

    1. John Frenaye says:

      We do not have email lists for specific columns. You can certainly join TRO (no cost) and will receive our daily email newsletter TravelGram which will include the latest columns as they appear.

  9. Angela Santiglia says:

    Thanks so much for this convenient info center. Makes it very easy to keep up with our ever changing business.

  10. LT Turner Jr, CTA says:

    I totally agree with Angela – great site to keep up with this ever changing business. 🙂

    1. John Frenaye says:

      Thank you all! Please be sure to recommend TRO to your colleagues. Have you checked out the TRO Community? It’s a great resource (forum) with over 5000 professionals sharing advice. Come check it out!


  11. Deb Watt says:

    Glad to see you here at TRO! I’ve always followed your columns.

  12. 22 Sep,09
    Message for John Frenaye “Single Parent Travel ”
    Are you sure the client from “hell ” was not one of the ex-pats from the apartheid regime South Africa? They hate black people more than anything on earth.Mind you , not all of them but from experience(yes I am an Asian from South Africa) they do not wish to mix , socialise,mingle with black people, be they from the Caribbean, America, Canada or where-ever…..but they expect all the niceties, extras,etc,etc for the least amount of money.This is North America, not South Africa, where most of them have run from….

  13. Who Deserves a Thumbs Up or A Thumbs Down, well you get a thumbs up for keep all of us informed!!!

    Thank you

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