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 firstname.lastname@example.org
What 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.
Agents 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.
Southwest 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.
Agents 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.
A 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!
Must 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.
A 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.
In 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.