Thumbs down for civilians who crash ship inspections with agent help! | TravelResearchOnline

Thumbs down for civilians who crash ship inspections with agent help!

Les says it’s a mess! Thumbs up, Thumbs down, waving all around. Discounts offered to booked passengers! Fee Free baggage and clients smuggled onboard ship inspections. Les is wagging her mighty thumb at a few select travel agents this time!  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.

 

Thumbs Up when the agent who booked a Dollar rental car for personal use in Detroit, forgot to bring her 20% off rate for travel agents.  She brought up Dollar’s website on her IPhone and showed the offer to the rep.  No problem, she got the savings PLUS an upgrade. So no need to turn in the paper coupon.


THUMBS UP for passengers who found a way to possibly beat the system.  It seems that not all people are complacent about paying to check luggage.  More and more are rolling their carry ons through security. Now, it seems the planes do not always have enough overhead space     I personally heard the various announcements from US Airways gate personnel. They took to the microphones and explained the situation to the waiting passengers- “Since this flight is full,  we  are limited to a certain amount of carry ons, anyone who chooses to check their luggage at the gate can do so at no charge. I heard this repeated at gate after gate at a busy airport. Aha- other frequent passengers told me it is an ongoing thing with full flights, and they now know how to  get out of paying the luggage fee.


Ship inspections.  A big THUMBS DOWN for the agents who brought “clients” with them on a recent Sunday lunch and tour of a luxury ship.  They registered them as agents, while bonafide agents from other offices  were told the  response for the inspection far exceeded the availability and they could register for another inspection in a few months. In fact, the invite said – one agent per office, no exceptions.All the other agents soon caught on when they heard some of the questions being asked by these imposters.  “What makes this a handicapped cabin?” “What is the difference between a triple and a quad.” And when they saw them stray from the tour and go to the bar for, let’s call it…, nourishment! Finally the cruise line rep, from the home office  had enough when they approached him and said they had sailed on this vessel when it first came into service a few years prior and they had a less than pleasurable time, since the fitness center was not in operation yet.  Now, three years later, they asked the rep for a discount if they choose to book again.   The rep was furious!To add to the mayhem, the agents who had brought these bogus people, tried to network with the other agents.  Seems as though they have some Baltic cruise space on the vessel, and they haven’t sold their allotment, so they were asking the other agents if they wanted to sell into their space.  No takers!!


THUMBS DOWN!  Is it a pipedream– make that an oil pipedream?.  Allegiant Airlines is touting the idea of selling their tickets as either a fixed rate or a gambler’s rate.  Yes, the latter is a  discounted variable rate  If the cost of jet fuel lowers by the travel date, the passenger gets the difference back in cash. Maybe the airline is testing the water…er… air space… with this idea.  It’s not in effect now, but Allegiant knows how to make money on absolutely everything.  It’s probably the only airline that even charges a fee when you book on their website, $14.99.  Plus $33 for seats is an automatic charge, unless you know how to opt out of it.    And yes, you can register to get commissions. But something tells me that this idea won’t fly.


One of those “wish I had thought of it moments.”  Columnist Loren Steffy,  reporting that Continental will discontinue serving pretzels onboard, in order to save two and a half million dollars, came up with a new slogan for the airline.  Fly It and Diet!  Sounds like he watches the Mad Men TV series.  THUMBS UP for his humor.


THUMBS DOWN for the catastrophes occurring throughout the world. New Zealand, Australia, Japan, possible Hawaii. Add in the turmoil in Egypt, and the bad press for certain areas in Mexico. Clients still want to travel, and many have had to change their plans. More work for travel agents- so do your homework to be prepared for what you can offer.Used to be their concerns were only the Norwalk virus. Now it’s far worse.


And on the same  topic, why does Delta Airlines think they are above everyone else.  When Gate 1 cancelled their Egypt tours- based on warnings from our State Dept., they refunded the full amounts that everyone had paid, including the roundtrip Egypt Air  from New York.  For clients who had booked their air from other gateways to catch the Egypt Air flight, they were on their own to get refunds.  Jet Blue and other carriers agreed to process refunds- no penalties. But not Delta! Depending on which supervisor you spoke to, and if you, the agent made the call, or if the client made the call, the offers were not consistent.  First they said there would be a $150 per ticket penalty since the air for the total trip was not booked with them.  One agent persisted and proved she had notified Delta that the clients were going to connect with Egypt Air provided from the tour operator. Finally they waived the fee,  but still no refund. The clients had to use their tickets within a year.  PLUS… and this is the salt on the wound.  There would still be a $50 per ticket penalty, since the clients booked the tickets through a travel agent, and not directly with Delta-.  And if they had booked them online, to save the phone call ticketing fee, they would still have to pay a $50  penalty.The fact that the State Department and the whole world had cancelled travels to Egypt didn’t mean a thing. The fact that other airlines did the right thing, Delta didn’t care.  They continue to not respect the work that travel agents do, the fact that we do still bring business to their airline.  Insurance is the magic word.  And if the clients had taken the supplier’s insurance, their additional flights would not be covered.  So, many times it is best to work with a separate insurance company who will cover every cost involved. THUMBS DOWN


And on the topic of travel insurance.  How many agents received a form letter from one of the travel insurance companies who decided to sever relationships if the agent had not produced a certain dollar amount in  sales. THUMBS DOWN!Agents may be loyal to one company, sometimes it is a commission driven factor. Thank goodness there are choices out there, and agents can find different companies, understand the coverage, and develop a personal relationship with the company and their sales rep. Travel insurance has become extremely competitive, and it’s sad when suppliers dump an agent rather than try to work with them. The bottom line with this facet of our business, is that it may be a recommendation from the agent, but the client has to agree to buy the insurance.  So, this particular insurance company has not only severed the relationship with the agent, but also all of the clients.


THUMBS UP and DOWN and waving around.  It’s happening again!  You book your clients on a cruise, pay it in full, and one month before the sailing, a generic e-mail is sent to the client offering the cruise for $500 less per cabin.  And this is on a Caribbean 7 nighter.How do you, the booking agent, handle it?  You probably call the cruise line, and, depending on which one it is, you can get them to lower the rate, or you are totally out of luck.  And what do your clients expect?  They expect the lower rate, of course!  They don’t know that the agent has to plead with the cruise line and is subject to a commission recall. The clients may accept a $500 shipboard credit, so is the cruise line out anything.  That $500 will be spent or forfeited.  The leased departments, like a spa, may get a windfall.  But the agent is the one that loses. The agent has to face that client, and earn their trust for future bookings, defending the cruise line, and now at a lower commission.. What’s your call on it, agents?

 


  5 thoughts on “Thumbs down for civilians who crash ship inspections with agent help!

  1. John Frenaye says:

    On the insurance thumbs down–I am not sure I agree that it is a thumbs down. Hopefully we all have come to the realization that it is not worth it to do business with a client who does not earn you any profit or worse–costs you money.

    Why isn’t a vendor allowed to do that as well? Perhaps they send 500 leaflets, sent a rep out 4 times a year, for naught.

    I get it.

    But I also agree that there is a good thing there are other alternatives!

  2. dcta says:

    I am strongly in disagreement with the insurance “thumbs down”! We should be developing “preferreds” – it’s not only to our benefit, but to our clients and I simply can not fault a Vendor from deciding that if we are not supporting “him”, “he” need not support us. Sow hat if you lose that one Vendor? As you point out, there are plenty of others.

    As for the clients on site inspection? You know, I’m on the fence. I’ve been bringing clients on cruise ship inspections for years – with the agreement of the cruiseline DSM – these are people who are group “pied pipers” considering their next group cruise. Although I have to say the above story does not sound like the same situation.

  3. Les-Lee Roland says:

    In regard to the ship inspection. The non-agents who attended were not piped pipers. They were FRIENDS of the agent who hoped they would book. And they “pretended” to be agents.

    There is a big difference.

    In regard to the insurance- yes I believe in preferreds- but selecting a preferred is usually a benefit to the agent’s bank account. Some agents find the policy that best benefits the clients, and sometimes selects a lower premium with one agentcy over another.

    I just think that rather than getting a cold worded letter from the insurance company, perhaps a rep calling the agent and discussing the situation could have corrected the situation.
    Now there is no turning the situation around.

    Would RCi or HAL or Globus or any supplier send out a letter saying-“you are not selling enough of our itinerariies, therefore, we are removing you from the opportunity to ever sell our product again.”

    Another scenerio, maybe the agent was taking a few months off due to family illness. Should the agent be penalized for not producing. Not having income for that period should be penalty enough.

    I still give a Thumbs Down- for the way the insurance company handled the situation.

  4. Robin Gunkel says:

    I was on a ship inspection recently where another TA had actually brought a bus-load of people along. These were not agents, but really, were they ALL piped-pipers??

  5. dcta says:

    “Would RCi or HAL or Globus or any supplier send out a letter saying-”you are not selling enough of our itinerariies, therefore, we are removing you from the opportunity to ever sell our product again.””

    Umm… you better believe this is coming down the road.

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