Lots of great responses from last week’s column! If you want to report something well done by a supplier, a res agent, or rep, we are happy to give them some coverage in Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down. If you have a problem with airlines, tour companies, etc. or getting commissions, maybe we can assist. Contact Les-Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A THUMBS UP for Trafalgar Tours’ website. If the public sees an itinerary they like, Trafalgar encourages them to “Take this tour summary to your local Travel Agent. Your Travel Agent will provide answers to your questions and assist you in booking your dream tour.” How nice!
Why, when things are picking up for the travel industry, would a tour operator in Utah do a webinar for a multi-level marketing company- Send Out Cards? Ed, from Dick Jensen Tours, says he specializes in China Tours and a Las Vegas marketing company, set up the webinar and is paying him a spiff for each referral. He did the quickest webinar I have heard, less than 15 minutes. He couldn’t answer the questions about co-op advertising because he’s not familiar with the cruise line guidelines for marketing-yet he touts how they sold eighty cruises using this promotion. For a greeting card product that costs less that $2.00- how much could this tour operator make? Oh yeah- it’s a multi-level. THUMBS DOWN.
At least when NACTA sponsored webinars with the same product, they acknowledged that NACTA would earn some money from referrals, that would be used to fund some expenses. A THUMBS UP for their honesty.
And speaking of webinars. We agents are lucky to have these educational tools that take a little time, but are free. Our twice removed cousins in the aviation industry have webinars too. An upcoming one is the “Troubled Status of Air Safety.” Good topic, and of prime importance. But to listen to this one costs big – like $297. So if we passengers think we’re being taken with pay for everything onboard planes, I guess their honchos are complaining about paying to learn about air safety. THUMBS DOWN.
A tongue in cheek THUMBS DOWN to a comment made by the legend in his own time, Arthur Frommer. He has charted out itineraries and educated people on how to travel economically, and as some people refer to it, as cheap. Well, it seems he travels the way he writes, and he has sometimes put down staying in more expensive hotels. That’s fine for him. But there are lots of people out there who do want something a litttttttle bit better…. That’s why we have so many choices out there!
A THUMBS DOWN for Princess’s policy for past passenger numbers AKA Captain’s Circle program. If an agent books with Polar Online, and uses the number, the rate is supposed to appear. If the agent calls the res dept. and gives the number, no rate can be quoted until the agent confirms the address, phone and sometimes the e-mail address. What’s next, the blood type! Wonder why??? Let’s put our thinking caps on….
Insight Vacations– a great tour operator that prides itself on working only with travel agents. They now have a pre-registration form, asking for dietary request, special needs, passport info and emergency contact. That makes sense. But in order to fill it out, the client, or the agent doing it, must agree to the following to be contacted “by post, email and/or telephone) about other tours and services offered by Insight Vacations and its affiliated travel brands including AAT Kings, Contiki Holidays, Uniworld and Trafalgar Tours in which you may be interested.” Excuse me….by telephone? What is this all about? These other companies take orders from the public. THUMBS DOWN! I don’t know about you, my fellow agents, but I never give out my client’s info, unless it’s needed for credit card security. I always use our office address, or a generic client e-mail account I have set up. If a special is sent, I notify my client personally. Shouldn’t we agents be given that option? Luckily, my mailman has never questioned me about the numerous names of people at my address.