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ABD Isn't Interested in Feedback

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by KidDad, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. KidDad

    KidDad Member

    So after last year's experience with ABD (London/Paris), we traveled this summer with Backroads. I'm not comparing the trips, but what struck me last year (and was confirmed in comparison with BR) was the ABD hubris. Backroads--and every other travel company we've been with--always solicits customer feedback. Not Disney. Not after we booked, not at the end of the trip, and not at any point afterwards. BR, in contrast, sent us surveys right after we booked and even before we arrived home.

    When we traveled with ABD, the guides were telling us about how "envious" all the other travelers were of Disney. There may be some truth to it, but it seemed the entire trip that our guides (and particularly Frencesc) favored arrogance over action, and felt the Disney "magic" made up any sloppiness or inattention on their part. I just can't believe that after spending, what, $10,000 for three people, that ABD can't even be bothered (or more likely, doesn't really care) to ask how the trip was or how it can be improved. I think that tells you all you need to know.

    There was a lot to like on our original ABD trip, but after a summer with Backroads, there are lots of options and it's nice to be with a company (and I'm sure Thomson and Tauck are similar) that respects their clients. ABD made it clear that they don't have the slightest interest in the client experience, and that they make enough money that they don't need to. If someone has had a different experience--that is that ABD actually asked for your opinion after a trip--please post.
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  3. tchrrx

    tchrrx <font color=red>Blame it on the plastic cow I ment

    Hmmmm...when we went on the Spirit of America trip last year, we received a survey when we got home. Maybe they just send them out to a percentage of the families, rather than all of them. :confused3
  4. Bobo912

    Bobo912 Active Member

    I've gotten a survey after each ABD trip and I've gotten a couple of general ones at other times that weren't related to a specific trip. And I know for certain that they also read this board for feedback. Tauck gave us a survey to fill out on the last day of our trip, but I prefer to have the survery emailed to me so I have more time to consider my responses.
  5. sayhello

    sayhello <font color=royalblue>Have Camera, Will Travel<br> Moderator

    My experience is the same as Bobo912's. I've done 3 ABD's, and received a survey via email after all three. I've also received a couple of generic surveys. It was my understanding that they sent the surveys to everyone who took a trip, but maybe not? Are you sure they had your email address? I'm surprised you heard nothing from them.

  6. jjb52

    jjb52 Member

    I did the Germany trip in 2009 and the Ireland trip last summer and no survey's ever came my way. No ABD this year as we are doing the DCL WBTA. I think they know I travel with or to Disney multiple times a year and that I am an advocate. I would be nice if they are emailing surveys that everyone would get them.
  7. sayhello

    sayhello <font color=royalblue>Have Camera, Will Travel<br> Moderator

    Just a question, did you guys receive and/or fill out the paperwork asking for your email address so the survey can be sent to you after your trip? I looked through my old paperwork, and there was a sheet specifically asking for that information/permission. It was included in the same initial packet ABD sent out with the contract that you are to sign within 14 days of signing up for the ABD.

  8. Bobo912

    Bobo912 Active Member

    Good thinking, Sayhello. I got all my paperwork electronically this year, so I've cut and pasted the text from the survey sheet below. As I was looking trough my old emails I also found surveys from 2009, one that I received just after I booked the Alaska trip and one that I received after I returned. I guess I need to clean out my inbox. :)

  9. Miss SD

    Miss SD Member

    Our Germany tour ended July 2 and I already completed an extensive survey about our experience. We've gone on three ABDs and I've completed three surveys about those tours.

    OP, how exactly did ABD make it clear to you that they're not interested in client feedback? And that they "make enough money they don't need to"? I never got that feeling while I was on the tours. All five of our guides (we had Diana twice for Backstage Magic) were completely professional. Would you mind elaborating on your experience?
  10. KidDad

    KidDad Member

    Miss SD: I posted a pretty comprehensive review of the trip, including our experience with the guides. It's a trip report of the Gateway trip to London and Paris from July, 2010. Take a look--it's easier than re-doing here and I think will answer all your questions if you're interested in the specifics. As you'll see in the review, the shared impression of our group was that the guides were not particularly motivated or helpful (but other aspects of the trip were very well done).

    In terms of lack of interest by ABD, I'll simply repeat what I originally posted--no communication other than trip documents or itinerary, no interest in assessing the booking experience, no feedback requested either at the end of the trip by the guides or when we came back home by ABD. With Backroads, they requested feedback both when we booked and e-mailed another even before we arrived back home from our trip. I've also worked with Thomson and found the booking staff to be knowledgeable and incredibly solicitous, and knew who we were each time I called. The ABD folks, on the other hand, were genuinely enthusiastic, but generally had little actual knowledge of the trips or ability to answer questions--basically a call center.

    Based on the responses so far, it sounds like ABD asks at least some people for feedback, so that's a good thing. But if they pick and choose who they ask for feedback, that still seems like a half-hearted approach. Now that I have direct and recent comparisons with other travel companies, I'm curious if others who have been with competitors have also experienced a bit of hubris in ABD's approach.
  11. Bobo912

    Bobo912 Active Member

    KidDad, did you fill out the permission sheet giving your email address for the survery? If you did, could it have gone to your Spam folder? It comes from Disney Research, not ABD.

    In addition to the post-trip survey, we received a separate survey on our booking experience in 2009, but that may have been because of the cancellations that year. But every time you call ABD (or any other Disney company) you are asked to stay on the line and take a survey. So they are always asking for feedback. I've booked with both Tauck and Lindblad and neither company asked for any feedback on the booking process. I will say I talked to 3 separate Lindblad reps and all 3 had been on the trip we were booking, so they had first hand knowledge, but I'm sure that's not the case for every itinerary. I've also spoken to ABD reps who had been on the trip I was asking about, as well. I'm sure that some are better than others.

    I know there have been others who have had bad experiences, but I've always had positive experience. For example, when I arrived in Phoenix for SWS, we went to the desingated meeting place (Starbucks) and no guides or other guests were there, so we wandered around a bit and found another Starbucks on the same level, but no one was there either. So I called ABD and the agent stayed on the phone and directed me through the airport. I said things to her like "We're standing next to a book store" and she would say "there is a gift shop next and then the PGA Golf shop" or "up ahead you'll see an escalator". I guess she had a map of the airport, but there was no delay while she looked it up, she just immediately started giving me directions. BTW...the guides were at luggage claim picking up other guests. I was very pleased with the agent's ability to help us. I'm sorry your experience hasn't been as good.
  12. Skatetigger

    Skatetigger Member

    We did the ABD-Germany trip last year and got a survey not long after we got back. as others have said perhaps it went into a spam folder. I know I always get surveys from Disney whether it's ABD or even a short stay at WDW.

    With regards to the guides, ours were awesome and never seemed at all like they thought Disney was better than other tours.
  13. DisneyKevin

    DisneyKevin <font color=blue>Kelvis<br><font color=purple>Abov Moderator

    It's ABD / Disney policy that you must sign a permission form allowing the company to contact you via email.

    This is true for marketing and research.

    If you did not specifically give ABD / Disney permission to send a guest feedback survey, then you wouldnt have received one.

    I am ready for my 4th ABD trip and have booked many, many others and I have always received feedback surveys.

    It seems that the OP has had good luck with other companies besides ABD and that's awesome. Competition is good.

    It just surprises me that anyone would feel that ABD / Disney is less than interested in your guest satisfaction or feedback.

    It's always been my impression that this is first and foremost in their goals.
  14. sayhello

    sayhello <font color=royalblue>Have Camera, Will Travel<br> Moderator

    KidDad, you haven't replied whether or not you returned the permission document from ABD. I'm really curious about that.

  15. KidDad

    KidDad Member

    SH: I haven't yet. I honestly didn't save all my trip files from last year (this was last summer). I'm not clear if you're saying clients received an e-mail asking if you'll sign up for e-mail? Or you're saying there was a form in the mail to be returned (in which case I'm quite sure we didn't keep it). But if I've understood correctly, ABD will ask for client feedback in exchange for adding your name to their e-mail marketing list.

    I don't know this needs to be as complicated as we're making it out to be. Most successful companies--regardless of the service or product--ask "how'd we do?" Really.

    And other successful companies don't condition interest in their customers' opinions based on their agreeing to be part of their marketing or research solicitations. Other companies ask without any quid pro quo. If ABD really cannot separate the Disney marketing arm from e-mail follow up, then send a paper survey. Phone call. Tweet. Or any of the other ways ABD's competitors have long since figured it out. I'm surprised that so many folks are suggesting it's the customers fault when ABD doesn't express interest in the client's experience.

    All I expected is that ABD would ask--without making up preconditions or jumping through hoops. Not because ABD thinks it might be able to get more money through future solicitations. But because you actually care. Just ask.
  16. Bobo912

    Bobo912 Active Member

    The survery form is in the packet with the travel agreement that you have to sign and send back within 14 days. There's also a personal information sheet, flight information sheet, and a release to allow Disney to use your image. I consider ABD asking your permission to send you the survery a courtesy rather than an inconvenience. If you're not interested in providing feedback then they won't bother you. I think it's also an effort to make sure they send the survey to the right email address. I know Disney marketing has 3 different emails addresses for me and I'm probably not the only one.
  17. sayhello

    sayhello <font color=royalblue>Have Camera, Will Travel<br> Moderator

    Precisely! :thumbsup2

  18. DisneyKevin

    DisneyKevin <font color=blue>Kelvis<br><font color=purple>Abov Moderator

    There are legal issues that you havent considered.

    ABD asked for your permission.

    You overlooked it or decided not to grant it.

    They have fulfilled their end of the business deal.

    If you wanted to correspond with ABD, you should have given them legal permission to contact you.

    If you have information or thoughts you'd like to share, feel free to share them.

    I know you will find this hard to believe, but without your permission, your personal information isnt stored for advertising purposes.

    As you mention "shared impressions"...ask if anyone in your group received a customer satisfaction survey.

    Or emailed ABD advertising.

    I'm guessing you will find that they have recieved surveys provided the gave permission and that havent received advertising emails.
  19. KidDad

    KidDad Member

    Kevin: I understand as the moderator, you have a vested interest in this. My intent wasn't to offend you, and it's clear you're taking this to heart. I understand it's easy to throw around the "L" word (ABD didn't have "legal permission"), but that's not correct and simply shortcuts an open exchange of views.

    The fact is (and you should check your facts)--it isn't illegal for ABD to request customer feedback by e-mail without a signed release by a client. A customer can, of course, always opt out of receiving unwanted e-mail--that's a common practice, and you've probably seen those with other e-mails you receive. And the suggestion that "they fulfilled their end of the business deal" is exactly the point I'm making. Most travel companies take into account customer feedback because they view the client experience as "the business". I understand your point that receiving solicitations is the "price" of being able to express one's opinion to ABD. I simply don't agree that's how it should be even if, as you state, that's how it is. My view is that ABD should ask for feedback because it's important--both to creating a better experience and valuing their clients, not based on what else they can extract from you in return. I get that you feel differently and it's nothing personal. But it's not just "business" either.

  20. Tozzie

    Tozzie Active Member

    You are making a lot of assumptions and it is a bit irritating. I have gotten a survey for each of my 3 ABD trips, yes I allow them to contact me with the survey and they are not trying to extract anything from you I have never received anything along the lines of Marketing from ABD through that email address the only other thing I got was a reqiuest to take a survey last year about possible itineraries which I was happy to take. If it irks you that much, which apparently it does, send ABD a letter and see what thier response is, I am sure you will be quite surprised.
  21. sayhello

    sayhello <font color=royalblue>Have Camera, Will Travel<br> Moderator

    I'd like to ask that you back off from the "I know you're a Moderator..." stuff. Kevin is speaking based on his extensive personal experience with ABD, as am I. It's fine if you want to express your opinion, but making assumptions about others' motivations, and mis-quoting them (Kevin never said it was illegal for them to contact you. He expressed that ABD's policy is to get your legal approval before contacting you) is getting argumentative. If you can't behave nicely, I'll be forced to close this thread, and I'd really rather not have to do that.

    I have to agree with Tozzie hear, both about the irritating assumptions, and the fact that ABD is asking permission to contact you, which you did not give them. Therefore you weren't contacted. I hardly find that ABD's fault, or see how it reflects badly on ABD.

    I have never gotten marketing from ABD on the email address I gave them for the survey, only on the one I gave them on their website, which I gave them *ASKING* for marketing info. I think you need to step back, realize the lack of communication is your own doing, and contact ABD yourself if you want to give them feedback.


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