It’s a Thumbs Up for Princess and Costa! | TravelResearchOnline

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It’s a Thumbs Up for Princess and Costa!

Les-Lee’s a little unhappy this week folks, but at least she starts off with a strong Thumbs Up! 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 TRO’s 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 packagedeals@comcast.net.

 

Picture THUMBS UP for Princess…from a little birdie. Seems like they may be rethinking their policy about sending out different promos to select past passengers. They must have gotten tired of all the complaints that one cabin may be purchased using the promo code, but if they want a second cabin for friends or family, that second cabin may be priced higher. It’s not who you know…it’s what you have received in the mail. And an explanation from a Princess DSM, regarding a previous THUMBS DOWN. Many agents have complained that when they call in to the res dept. to get pricing for a past passenger, they are asked for the client’s address, phone and e-mail. They will not accept you offering just the client’s name, past passenger number, and even the birthdate. Seems like they are doing this… not to increase their database for their future direct marketing…but to encourage agents to use POLAR for the bookings. When using POLAR you only have to insert the past passenger number and Princess wants more POLAR bookings and less phone calls. Do you believe it?


Picture Continuing with their sister company, Cunard. A THUMBS DOWN for the same two complaints listed above. Agent called to book clients on three segments of the World Cruise, using a promo code her clients had received in a mailer. Also her clients requested a second cabin for their friends. But they never received the promo code. She was told the second cabin would be at either a higher price or they could receive a lower shipboard credit. The agent spoke to a supervisor about the issue and still no progress. She reported the rates to her clients.

The client called Cunard directly and guess what, he got the same pricing and booked the cruises himself. When this was brought to my attention, I called Cunard to see what the pricing would be if I booked the cruise with or without the promotion. I received a different quote. Seems like numbers picked out of the air.

How was this resolved? The client turned HIS bookings over to the agent and when she received the paperwork, the shipboard credit had been increased. The agent called Cunard for an explanation and was told they had a glitch in the program, and to accept the extra benefit. If only clients knew what agents have to do for them.


Picture THUMBS UP for the most creative marketing tools from Costa Cruises. First they sent out pizza boxes …to get both our attention as well as the clients. Now they sent out my weakness, pasta! If you got their box of Amenitoni, and just cooked it without reading the instructions, you only got partially fed. If you read the instructions, you would have seen the all the amenities AKA Amenitoni, for their 2010 Europe bookings. If awards are given out for promotional items, this should be a nominee.


Picture A THUMBS DOWN for Delta’s attitude, for tickets not processed through them. When an agent reported she called Delta at 11pm on Saturday night ,to cancel an international flight the following day, she was told since she purchased it through a consolidator, Delta would not touch the record. And of course the consolidator was closed until Monday morning. The ticket was a refundable ticket, and since it was not cancelled prior to the flight, the passenger, considered to be a no show, is not getting any money back.


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THUMBS UP for the tour operator, Beyond the Band of Brothers. This new company, offers land tours of European World War II battle sites and landmarks. On their meetings with agents throughout the US, they asked what we needed to sell the product. Sure enough, they incorporated many of the ideas, including a lower selling price. At least someone listens to us! Plus, they have an excellent companion tour for people who want to go to go along but can bypass the sites and do museum and shopping tours.


Picture THUMBS UP for calendar watching. April 15, 2012 will mark the 100 th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines is offering a Titanic themed sailing duplicating the route from Southampton to NY. Well, let’s hope not duplicating everything? Menus, Entertainment and more pay homage to the original sailing. Historians will love this cruise. This once a century event is offered through Borton Overseas.


Picture British Air has had its faux pas this month. First they admit they had errors in their pricings to India that caused many cancellations. Doesn’t anyone every proof read? And now they have some of the highest rates for seat assignments – up to $90 per sector. Plus their fine print states they are charging service fees, even with GPS bookings. THUMBS DOWN!


Picture How could this happen – as reported by agent, Russ Dunlap of Louisville’s Platinum Travel. If you had chosen to participate in the World’s Largest Cruise Night, did you check out the videos you could use for your own virtual website? If you selected Seabourn, Regent or Holland America, the tags at the end of their videos instruct the consumer to contact the cruise line directly or go to their website. Huh? THUMBS DOWN for this major oversight!
   

  4 thoughts on “It’s a Thumbs Up for Princess and Costa!

  1. Bruce says:

    A thumbs down request for you. There is a web-site that agents can buy leads from called tripology, which I am convinced runs on auto-pilot. They charge agents anywhere from $2.00-$20.00 for a lead, but no one checks the validity of the lead, and the consumer pays nothing to waste agents time. I had my five year old nephew submit a fake request for a trip and within two hours three travel agents purchased the lead and were contacting him. You have no clue who is playing on this site, and most seem to just be perpetual price shoppers, that are frustrated that priceline.com wasn’t cheap enough or couldn’t get them what they wanted. A solution would be to charge a consumer a $25.00 fee to place a bid, and advise them that this would be credited back at time of booking. It would weed out dreamers from realists, and also eliminate phoney phone numbers and e-mail addresses that aren’t on this planet.

  2. Robert S. Lee says:

    I recently received a request for a cruise on Princess for a repeat customer.I gave him Princess’s best quote. He called soon thereafter saying he could get it cheaper from Princess. Without going into further finite details my customer went ahead and booked direct with Princess. I called the local Princess rep here in the Houston area and posed the question ” does Princess practice the art of selling direct to customers cheaper than we independent travel agents” The answer? No Response from the Rep after repeated calls and emails on the subject. Next stop, Princess themselves to a supervisor.The Fix? The client must request and sign in writing that he wants his cruise purchased direrctly from Princess posted to my account. By this time the client was happily sailing to Hawaii from California. They beat me for game.

    Robert S. Lee
    Go Galveston Travel

    1. John Frenaye says:

      Robert–
      Most cruise lines will transfer a client booking to an agent upon the client’s request. I have never had a problem. However, I do agree with you about the undercutting. They were caught plain and simple. And the silence of your BDM speaks volumes! Unfortunately, I cannot say I am terribly surprised. Princess (in my opinion) is not even half the line it was when owned by P&O.

  3. Kel Watts says:

    I went round and round with Hawaiian Airlines trying to correct the spelling of a passenger name I mis-typed. The name was Linda, BUT my nimble fingers typed Lina. Hawaiian said the Consolidator, Fare Buzz, would have to correct it, and Fare Buzz said Hawaiian could onlly make the correction. Countless phone calls and e mails, getting no where except each party telling me they could not make the correction, later I finally wrote to the C.E.O. of Hawaiian and filed a complaint. Within three days I received a confirming E Mail that the change had been made. I could see a problem if the booking had not been 8 month out. One hell of a lot of work for the measly booking free we can charge. As a side note, I made a similar mistake with Southwest, one phone call to a FRIENDLY, HELPFUL rep, (get the picture you other airlines) and it was corrected.

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