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Travel Agent Costs?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by Barkell, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. Barkell

    Barkell Earning My Ears

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    Having never cruised before, I just went to my regular travel agent and booked through them. They have never charged for booking other trips (all-inclusive resorts, etc.). But for cruises, they have a $25/per person "Cruise Planning Fee". I didn't think anything of this and agreed to (and paid) it. Now, though, I am having my doubts. Do TAs normally charge for this?

    We did not get any OBC, either. I didn't even know what OBC was. :P
     
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  3. PrincessShmoo

    PrincessShmoo DIS Veteran

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    From what I read here, some TAs do have a fee for booking things (could vary as to what they charge for). Others don't. Some have fees for cancellations. Others don't. And some offer OBCs, others don't.

    I guess it's just best to find out these things beforehand.

    Since it's someone you've worked with before, why don't you ask why they charge for cruise bookings?
     
  4. jdb in AZ

    jdb in AZ <font color=green>It could end up curdled<br><font

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    Time to change travel agents!
     
  5. OrangeCountyCommuter

    OrangeCountyCommuter DIS Veteran

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    This is the last part of the travel industry that pays agents. That is why they can give you credits

    I agree you need a new TA
     
  6. Disney52303

    Disney52303 Mouseketeer

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    Wow! My agency does not charge this! Crazy!

    Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards
     
  7. PaceFamily

    PaceFamily Wife and Grumpy

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    We have used a couple different TA's. None have ever charged a fee. Many receive commissions from the cruise line and that will cover our costs. YOu may want to find a different TA.

    This upcoming cruise we used DU. Must say that Beth Fejer has been wonderful.
     
  8. jfahome

    jfahome DIS Veteran

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    I agreeĀ….change TA's. I believe (could be wrong) most TA's DO give you an OBC and DO NOT charge fees. Best of luck!
     
  9. PaceFamily

    PaceFamily Wife and Grumpy

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    Maybe you didn't get an OBC because your TA is not Disney certified. Really not sure, but may be the case.
     
  10. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    Some TAs provide a stateroom gift rather than OBC. If you've never done a cruise with this TA before, you may not know what/if they will "do" for you. However, regarding the fee, I would definitely be asking why/what/etc. to better understand their reason for the fee - especially per-person which presumably means for kids too. Most "planning" is done for the whole stateroom, not individually.

    Enjoy your cruise!
     
  11. over50visits

    over50visits DIS Veteran

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    We don't use travel agents any more for DCL since we know what we want and like talking with someone (DCL operators) when we have questions/changes.

    I hope this isn't the "nose in the tent" when TAs begin charging "a la carte" as the airlines have done. Charge for vacation planning? Charge to make a change? Charge for a phone call (plus a weekend surcharge)? Charge for watching fares for us?

    It all started with a charge for checked luggage on Spirit airlines. Roundly criticized, no one else did it, until American Airlines did it and everyone followed. Look where we are today.

    I hope it doesn't happen, but looks like the first shot has been fired!
     
  12. OrangeCountyCommuter

    OrangeCountyCommuter DIS Veteran

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    TAs often do charge for things like plane tickets. That's because the airlines quit paying them so someone has too.

    But I don't think this is the "First shot" I think this is TA taking advantage of the fact that folks are getting use to paying TAs and just adding this fee to his/her commission. Probably makes it much more profitable!
     
  13. SeaSpray

    SeaSpray Disney World fan since 1976

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    Years ago we used a TA to book a Royal Caribbean cruise. They didn't charge to book, but they did have a $50 cancellation fee. I guess they wanted to have their time covered in case we cancelled, and in that case they wouldn't make the commission on the cruise.

    As for now, we use Dreams Unlimited, and love their service and onboard credits. :) And no fees whatsoever.
     
  14. PaceFamily

    PaceFamily Wife and Grumpy

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    Maybe you didn't get an OBC because your TA is not Disney certified. Really not sure, but may be the case.
     
  15. Barkell

    Barkell Earning My Ears

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    Thanks, everyone. This was a last-minute booking (sailing 5/2/13), so I'm not going to switch at this point. But if we decide to re-book on board, I will not list this TA. I like them and all, but I like "free" and possible "OBC" better. :)
     
  16. mmouse37

    mmouse37 DCL Diva!!

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    Some rare TA's do charge a cancellation fee (drives me nuts) but I have never heard of a TA charging a planning fee. TA's are paid by the Cruise Line so they really should not be charging the clients for the booking IMO.

    MJ
     
  17. tweis

    tweis DIS Veteran

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    The TA I used for my first cruise "specialized in Disney Vacations" but did not offer any OBC for our first cruise. While planning my next cruise I got a quote from her and from DU. She offered me $25 OBC and DU offered $250 OBC plus $25 more OBC for a special DCL was offering at the time for booking online. I'm sure the $25 the original TA was offering was really the $25 from DCL. She didn't charge a fee for booking but would have charged for cancelling. Needless to say, I booked with DU and to date, have had nothing but a great experience.
     
  18. woody73

    woody73 <font color=darkorange>Enjoyed the Pumpkinmen<br><

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    Some travel agencies have charges for "cruise planning," "cruise modification," and/or "cruise cancelation." I've read that Costco has a fee to get a price reduction. Always ask up front.

    Woody
     
  19. irondad

    irondad Earning My Ears

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    We used Lauren at Small World Vacations. Received a $200 OBC and paid no fee. Also getting a $50 OBC from DCL as well.
     
  20. anniemck

    anniemck DIS Veteran

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    Typically if a Travel Agency is "giving" onboard credit, that is because the agency may have group space on that particular cruise, especially if it is an agency that specializes in particular lines. As a former travel agent, I will say that the agency that I was with did have a "booking fee", as well as a "cancellation fee". Reason being is the agency does not make any money at all if the client cancels the cruise, and often we would work for hours for the client just putting together the initial quotes , then there is the booking itself, then the time taken to answer any/all questions. Not to mention making any changes that may come about. This is not paid for by anyone.
    Think about it... a cruise may be $300per person before port charges taxes and fees, average commission being 15% so that would be $45pp that the agency makes per person. Now, if you are a particular needy client that makes calls, requests, and did absolutely zero research, ties up the phone lines and blows up the email box constantly... that could translate to about $1 per hour that the agency actually made for your cruise. NOW... say you are a big spender and go with that balcony and now we are talking $800 pp before all the fun stuff is added... now the agent has made $120 pp and maybe you are also not a particularly needy person and only calls to book the reservation and never are heard from again...and maybe you knew what you wanted when you called so it was an easy booking. The agency is ahead of the game now. HOWEVER, then you have the wonderful person that calls, doesn't have a clue what they want, has to think/talk/think about it with anyone and everyone. Finally gets the reservation made, pays the deposit, makes changes several times, cabin location, category, even date... cruise is 2 years away... final payment is due, and now she has second thoughts, or has a new baby, or has friends who want to go and the ship is sold out, or even better... didn't think about it and didn't save the money needed for final payment and now cancels. For almost two years someone has worked with this person, and then there is NO INCOME for that work. THIS is why agencies are starting to charge booking fees, cancellation fees, change fees and such. It is not a new thing, maybe in the Disney world of cruising it is, but honestly a Disney cruise is straight forward and a particular niche that many agents just do not want to get into. I myself took the training, and knew it was not going to be my cup of tea so to speak. I like variety. Back when I was an agent there were two ships, and not a great bargain dollar wise for my thoughts. Most clients found it to be more cost effective to take a week long Carnival Cruise or Royal Caribbean Cruise, then spend a few days at the parks rather than take a 4 night Disney Cruise, and they came out ahead in the dollar signs as well. Sure... Characters on the ship... they are at the parks as well... pools on the ships... yep all of them, don't want the casino, find don't go there. Want soda when you want it, bring your own... fireworks... see them at the parks... it wasn't that great of a show and was only 4 minutes long. Food was much better on the other cruise lines as well.
    Options when making cruise reservations, book it yourself with the cruise line directly, or explore your options using an agent... book through one of the websites online... that is still using a travel agent, most of the time however they have limited training as they are sitting in a call center working their shift and not thinking about it when they are off the clock. I miss my days, sometimes think about getting back into it, then remember the threads like this that happen all the time where people want someone to do all the work, but they do not want to pay them for it.
     
  21. Barkell

    Barkell Earning My Ears

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    Thank you for your perspective, Anniemck. :goodvibes:

    When I first called my TA and she mentioned the $25PP fee, I didn't bat an eye because I don't mind paying someone for their time and expertise, and $75 is not going to make or break me when compared to the price of a Disney cruise (even our little 3-nighter).

    However, if it is not industry standard to charge, and so many other TAs are able to give $xxx in OBC, then I sort of feel like I would be shooting myself in the foot to continue to book with a TA who does not provide those benefits. But, I am torn. I do love the personal attention I get from my local TA (the remembered my birthday when my Mom forgot, lol!) I'm definitely keeping this booking with my TA (and have already paid the $75 and don't feel bad about it). I guess I'll decide about any possible future cruises when the time comes, keeping in mind your perspective. Thanks for sharing. :goodvibes:
     

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