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Old 09-17-2013, 04:07 PM   #1
n8nally
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Need Opinions re TA

So, here is my little dilema, and I've love to hear how others would handle this.

I booked my first cruise through a TA who is my friend. I did it mostly just to throw her a bone, since I am very happy and capable of booking my own vacations. She was really sweet and listened to me go on and on about how excited I was about this cruise.

But in reality, she did very little. I gave her my info and CC# and she booked it. I PIF the day of booking, so no need for her to process additional payments or anything. She sent me an email reminder when my window was opening up for online check in. Otherwise, that was all.

I did run into a snag when I called DCL to ask a question and they wouldn't answer me, directing me to my TA. It was irritating, because I wanted control over my reservation. I got over it though, and figured it was the price I had to pay to do my friend a favor.

As a gift she gave me a $25 on board credit. I really appreciated it, but it was HALF of what I've seen reported as an OBC from other TAs.

During the six months from when I booked to when I took the cruise, my very best friend in the world became a TA. So when I rebooked my placeholder cruise onboard I had the CM list my best friend as the TA. I explained to my current TA that I had to switch her since my BFF was just starting out and I felt a loyalty to throw some business her way. She totally understood and was very gracious (they work for the same agency).

My issue now is that I am looking at what other agencies and TAs offer their clients and I am SO gonna miss out on a nice OBC that I could totally use! DU offers $150 for my price cruise! Added to my DCL OBC for rebooking and I could have $350 to spend with my kids next year! I could REALLY use that!

Plus, my BFF is just learning the ropes and I have been helping her figure out all the ins and outs that I'm learning by reading here. So I'm still giving up control of my booking and won't be able to call DCL for a lot of things, and I am positive she will not be giving me a $150 OBC.

I just don't know what to do. The practical, single Mom in me says forget my BFF, explain to her about the OBC and have her agree to switch it. The other part of me says that would hurt her feelings and is $150 worth it? But will I be resentful of the money I missed out on (and the gift basket I hear too!) for the entire year ahead? How can I let go of the upset I am sure to feel when I have to pay my shipboard account at the end of my cruise and it's $150 more than if I'd booked with a different TA?

I know that at this point I need to make the call ASAP since I believe most transfers have to occur within 30 days. I rebooked on Sept 4th. And I also know that the TA needs to agree to it.

What would you do? At this point I'm sorry I even looked at what other TAs and agencies do for their clients
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:32 PM   #2
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I would probably keep your current TA (your BFF), $150 is not worth risking a friendship. But maybe on your next booking, you could tell her in advance that you need the onboard credit from a different agency.
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissDaisyofTexas
I would probably keep your current TA (your BFF), $150 is not worth risking a friendship. But maybe on your next booking, you could tell her in advance that you need the onboard credit from a different agency.
Yeah, that's what I would probably do too
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:49 PM   #4
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Well if you're teaching her the ropes, you can drop hints here and there that TAs gain and keep their business by doing something special for their customers and give examples you've been reading about. Otherwise there's no reason to use one.
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:52 PM   #5
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I agree with the above post that you've made your decision and shouldn't ask for the $150. However, I *would* tell her now, as opposed to when you book your next cruise, that going forward from this point with clients if she wants to be competitive as a TA she needs to offer equal or higher OBC than the TAs with name brand recognition.
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissDaisyofTexas View Post
I would probably keep your current TA (your BFF), $150 is not worth risking a friendship. But maybe on your next booking, you could tell her in advance that you need the onboard credit from a different agency.
If that risks the friendship, it wasn't much of one to begin with. Op, be honest. If she is truly a friend, she'll give an OBC or suggest you go elsewhere. She should know what the money could do for you and your kids. It's a give and take, and so far, you're the only one giving.

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Old 09-17-2013, 05:17 PM   #7
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REmember, too, that the large agencies like DU GET more commission from DCL so they can give away more OBC than smaller agencies do. For some TAs, there's no way they could match that $150--it might be more than their commission works out to be especially if they work for a large company that takes part of their commission as well.
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Old 09-17-2013, 05:36 PM   #8
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I've run into the same issue, but to be honest not having control has frustrated me to the point that I think I will do it on my own from now on. I felt guilty having to have them move it once, and then asked her to change the cabin also when it would take 10 seconds to do it on my own.... forget the $25 gift card I'd rather just not deal with a 3rd party!
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Old 09-17-2013, 05:50 PM   #9
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I think the suggestion of keeping it with the BFF is a good one but I also think hinting that its nice when TAs give gift baskets in the room. And then after the cruise mention that you will use another TA that can give you a bigger OBC. I'd wait til after the cruise though.
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Old 09-17-2013, 05:57 PM   #10
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I did the exact opposite of what everyone else did.

Now our friend who is a TA, is certainly not our BFF but a life long friend of my husband. When I was looking at our cruise, I told her plain and simply DU offered me more OBC than she would. It was a purely financial decision. I didn't try to hide it, just said if you can match this great, if not we'll be going with DU. Maybe she was mad, maybe not. I don't know, the friendship seems the same and I have my large OBC to look forward to.

I look at it like I'm saving myself $350 from the costs of my vacation. That is significant for me.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shburks View Post
REmember, too, that the large agencies like DU GET more commission from DCL so they can give away more OBC than smaller agencies do. For some TAs, there's no way they could match that $150--it might be more than their commission works out to be especially if they work for a large company that takes part of their commission as well.
This is true..and whoever the host agency is, they DO take a lot of the commission...I've seen between 30 and 60 percent. A small agency will get a smaller commission to begin with, and then all OBC comes out of the TAs portion, so that $150 may very well be MORE that what your friend's commission will be. That said,there are personalities who do NOT want a TA because they want control, and then there are pople who don't have the time or want to mess with it all and would rather it just be handled by someone else.
What do you get in the gift basket?
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BDmom View Post
I did the exact opposite of what everyone else did.

Now our friend who is a TA, is certainly not our BFF but a life long friend of my husband. When I was looking at our cruise, I told her plain and simply DU offered me more OBC than she would. It was a purely financial decision. I didn't try to hide it, just said if you can match this great, if not we'll be going with DU. Maybe she was mad, maybe not. I don't know, the friendship seems the same and I have my large OBC to look forward to.

I look at it like I'm saving myself $350 from the costs of my vacation. That is significant for me.
This is the most practical and honest approach to it. Right now, I would explain to your current friend/TA that you appreciate her, but that for your next cruise(s) you will be booking with whichever agency offers the best OBC/Thank you gift for your particular sailings.
I think that you would damage the friendship (not ruin) if you switch now, especially with her being such a new TA.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nunzia View Post
This is true..and whoever the host agency is, they DO take a lot of the commission...I've seen between 30 and 60 percent. A small agency will get a smaller commission to begin with, and then all OBC comes out of the TAs portion, so that $150 may very well be MORE that what your freind's commission will be. That said,there are personalities who do NOT want a TA because they want control, and then there are pople who don't have the time or want to mess with it all and would rather it just be handled by someone else.
What do you get in the gift basket?
Also, some agencies don't give the TA ANY commission for reservations that have been transferred and not booked directly or named on the ship when making an OBB.
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Old 09-18-2013, 09:31 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by n8nally View Post
...I know that at this point I need to make the call ASAP since I believe most transfers have to occur within 30 days. I rebooked on Sept 4th. And I also know that the TA needs to agree to it.

What would you do? At this point I'm sorry I even looked at what other TAs and agencies do for their clients
It looks like your immediate dilemma is with a currently booked cruise -- and whether or not to try and transfer that to another TA. I would stick with the current (BFF) TA. You are correct that she would need to agree to release the reservation. PLUS it's possible that in transferring the reservation to another TA, you would not get the big OBC you've read about -- many TAs don't offer as much (or even any) OBC for a transfer.

So I suggest to stick with the current booking and TA. Maybe she'll be glad you have helped "train" her on DCL and toss you a little extra, maybe not. But consider using a different TA for any future bookings, and certainly you can let her know that you've made a financial decision and that it's not personal.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old 09-18-2013, 09:39 AM   #15
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OP - What type of questions or issues did you have with DCL not answering? I find DCL to be much more receptive to inquiries for a TA booked reservation that CRO is at the parks. As long as it doesn't involve financials, they'll answer pretty much everything.

Some of the questions I had no issues with were (note that my AAA TA is a disaster - I've since switched to DU):

* Finding out if a OBC was applied
* Explanations on online checking at 90 days and PIF at 75 days
* Adding birthday requests

If you booked on board more than 30 days ago, you cannot transfer it to another TA. Also, you will need to get your TA to release the reservation back to DCL and then try to transfer it to another TA. Even then, the other TA might not be able to take it, and more certainly will not give you the full amount of OBC that you would have gotten if you would have named her at booking time. For next time, you should ask your BFF what (if any) OBC she would give you so you can then decide ahead of time if you would switch to a different TA or name her for a new reservation.
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