Ethical to Switch Travel Agents?

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by shavine, Jan 14, 2019 at 4:12 PM.

  1. shavine

    shavine Earning My Ears

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    We are grandparents planning a big family trip in the spring for 10. Half have never been, and half went once about 20 years ago. We have been thinking and saving for several years, waiting for kids to meet height limits and everyone to be available at the same time. There will be 3 families (so 3 rooms) and the Poly has been the dream forever.

    I started researching last summer (can’t believe how different things are since the last trip-Yikes!) and decided to take the advice to use a travel agent for the best deals. Signed up with a local agent in time for the 180 day ADR’s. I was shocked however that the deals she could get were the same I could get on Disney’s website. Sorry for my ignorance but having seen people talk about TA’s getting 20-30+% off rack rate, I wrongly assumed they all could. She assured me that she would add any discounts that came out as they happened. Well now the spring discounts are out and none applied to our dates/rooms. So we are booked at full rack rate with what appears to be no hope of getting better. In researching more and learning that not all TA's are treated equally by Disney, I decided to ask for a quote from another TA. They could essentially get us the same package with enough discount to basically pay for the DDP for all of us (like getting free dining for 10 at a time there is none). My dilemma now is wondering if it is ethical to switch? The original TA is quite nice and did make us some ADR’s at 180 days. If it is common practice, how do you switch and what happens to your original rooms, ADR’s, tickets etc. I feel horrible, and like an idiot about this but time is running out and money frankly, is of the essence. Sorry this is so long, I appreciate all feedback and anyone’s experience with this.
     
  2. focusondisney

    focusondisney DIS Veteran

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    What is the first agent’s cancellation policy, is there a penalty for cancellation? Take that into consideration for any savings.

    If your ADRS are in your My Disney Experience account, they should be fine. If the agent has your MDE password for any reason, like to make the ADRs, I would change your password now, before you cancel. Personally, if I can find a great deal elsewhere, I would book it. I mean, that’s a lot of money to save. I don’t think there is anything unethical about changing. You are making a purchase. Nothing wrong with going with the best price.

    Make sure you have tickets listed by 60 days so you can make fastpasses. And don’t forget the ticket structure has changed too. So new tickets might be a be a different price, depending on when you booked the first package.

    Personally I would probably book the new package first before I cancel the old one just to be safe. Hopefully others will give some thoughts too.
     
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  4. SarahC97

    SarahC97 DIS Veteran

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    I don't think it's that different agents are treated differently by Disney, but some agencies have contracts with Disney that give them convention rates -- and some agencies simply aren't large enough for the financial investment required for that.

    Having said that, I have switched agents before because one offered a better price (b/c of convention rates). I basically had to cancel one reservation and make another through the new agency. I wouldn't worry that you're being unethical. It's your money and you can spend it how you want. In the end, you have to do what works for you.
     
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  5. 3princes+1princess

    3princes+1princess Mouseketeer

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    I agree with what the person above stated. Some agents get group rates for rooms and then use that discount. Others don't. Travel agents do NOT get paid until you travel. So you switching basically means she did all of that work for nothing pay, she will not get paid anything. I am not saying don't switch, but if you do I would compensate her for her time...a small portion of what you could save with the other travel agent would be a nice thing to do.
     
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  6. Amelia :)

    Amelia :) DIS Veteran

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    I imagine there is at least a small-ish cancellation fee? If so, that is their payment for the help they have offered you so far. I would switch and not feel guilty about it whatsoever. This is your hard earned money.
     
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  7. Farro

    Farro It's a pasta! It's a grain! What?

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    I would not worry about it at all, and I wouldn't offer any extra compensation outside of the cancellation fee (if they have one). You found a better deal, who wouldn't switch???
     
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  8. DisneyWishes14

    DisneyWishes14 DIS Veteran

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    You are the consumer and found a better price elsewhere. It is what it is. Saving enough to pay for dining for 10 people is quite substantial. As PP's have noted, if your original TA has the password to your MDE account, I would change that now to protect any ADR's and FP+ you have in there. Book the new package and link it to your MDE account prior to cancelling the packages you currently have. You definitely want to confirm you have the new bookings prior to cancelling as WDW availability fluctuates constantly. When cancelling, personally, I would thank the TA for the work she has done and, perhaps, send her a small gift card (maybe $50 or so?) as a token of appreciation for what she has done for you thus far.
     
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  9. Pdadet

    Pdadet Earning My Ears

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    Maybe see if your agent can match what you found. Send them the offer sheet. She may be able to tell you the difference between the two offers.
     
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  10. cmwade77

    cmwade77 DIS Veteran

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    As far as I am aware Disney travel agents can't charge any cancellation fees, now if Disney has a cancellation fee, there would be a charge there.
     
  11. cmwade77

    cmwade77 DIS Veteran

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    As to if it is fair or not to switch, consider what the travel agent promises when you use them:
    • They will give you $xxxx of room credit
    • They will apply any discounts available
    • They will get you the best deal possible
    • They will make ADRs for you
    Now here is the reality, it sounds like your travel agent hasn't lived up to the promise of applying discounts/getting you the best deal possible, so I would flat out send them the offer you have and let them know that you will be forced to switch if they can't get you the same deal or at least explain why there is such a substantial difference in cost, because perhaps there is something in your vacation that is not on the offer you received that you are overlooking. Let them know you don't want to switch, but that you can't ignore that large of a difference.

    Also, as others have said, if the TA has access to your MDE account, change your password immediately and you should never give out your passwords to anyone, they can handle ADRs without that.
     
  12. DebbieB

    DebbieB DIS Veteran

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    I would contact the original agent and tell her the price you got. It’s possible she missed a discount.
     
  13. StarSeven7

    StarSeven7 Mouseketeer

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    I was a travel agent for several years, so I can speak from that perspective. Yes, it's only specific travel agencies that buy out blocks of rooms to get those discounted rates, most travel agencies do not offer you any deals above and beyond what you can book yourself. And this goes for most travel products as well. The point of booking with a travel agent is to have someone handle your travel plans on your behalf. The travel agent will only get paid their commission by Disney once you pay in full, so if you cancel, they will get nothing for their time and effort. They most likely will not have a cancellation fee (my agency did not). I would talk to the travel agent you booked with first and ask her if she can apply a discount that is available. Did you ask her to do this before you got a quote from another agent? Is the quote from the other agent a agency exclusive rate or just a general public discount? If it's an agency exclusive rate then there's no way the first travel agent can match that and they're not going to take a loss on a booking. If it's just the general public discount, then your agent should be able to apply that no problem. I don't think your agent did anything wrong but she most likely doesn't specialize in Disney trips and just does every kind of travel. I did the same thing when I was an agent and that was before I ever went to Disney myself. I took all the Disney courses for travel agents but unless you're caught up in the whole world of Disney vacations, you're really not following all of these discounts that come out.
     
  14. fla4fun

    fla4fun DIS Veteran

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    I have used a TA a couple times and in my case it just didn’t seem like she was diligent about hunting down discounts and getting them applied. Once I would reach out and question whether she had looked into X discount, she would get it for me, but it seemed like unless I said something, she wouldn’t bother. I do not know if their commissions are reduced if they book a discount or not, but that is how it felt to me.

    But as others have said, you are the consumer and if you can save a substantial amount of money, I would give them the opportunity to match it or at least come close, and if they can’t, then apologize and change to the other agent. You should not feel obligated to spend more than you have to for a vacation, Disney or not.
     
  15. shavine

    shavine Earning My Ears

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    Thanks to everyone who responded! The original TA is not part of an agency that gets convention rates. The new quote is a convention rate agency so no chance the first could match it. The difference in price is quite astounding as it is over $3k for our group to get the DDP. Again, it was my ignorance in the beginning by not understanding that there are TA's that can get these different rates. Now I know and would always use the convention rate type in the future (or rent DVC). The other agent basically told me (after I booked) that she can only get the same that I can from Disney's website. I will take all of your recommendations into account as she does have my password (said she needed it for ADR's) and also does deserve some compensation for the work she did do. Thanks again
     
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  16. 2vets

    2vets Addicted since 1971

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    (Yikes, tried to answer on my phone...and that worked out not at all!)

    I know you feel a bit bad - I would as well. I understand the exact scenario you're in, as this is the one I was in 2 years ago. The best approach is to be honest, apologize, and tell the soon-to-be-ex agent that in the future, you'd like to seek them out again should you be unable to secure a convention rate. Short and sweet, and you don't dither around wasting the first agent's time with any additional back and forth. You may want to send another note to him/her thanking them for their time, and/or provide a nice online review if you wish - but I don't think it's necessary.

    I understand how you feel and really appreciate that you asked about ethics -but it is what it is. That's not $20-30. That's a huge savings. Go easy on yourself. And have a wonderful trip!
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019 at 8:47 PM
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  17. jaiminee krikit

    jaiminee krikit DIS Veteran

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    This is not necessarily true. As others have mentioned, there are TAs that are able to get convention rates that some TAs simply cannot - it has nothing to do with them not living up to a promise. And the original TA would not be able to get the convention rate, period.

    OP - I know it will be difficult, but try not to feel bad about switching if you do. That is a huge savings and most people would completely understand why you did it.
     
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  18. a1tinkfans

    a1tinkfans Spreading Some Pixie Dust Today!

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    Change your password
    Get the new rates/rooms etc done
    Then
    Call and explain Why ur switching
    3k s Nothing to sneeze at.
     
  19. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

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    In that if your trip costs less, their $ commission is reduced. But the commission percentage is not. If your trip costs you $5,000 they get 10% commission; if a discount or change brings your cost down to $4,000 the TA still gets 10% (after the trip is complete in every case.)
     
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  20. JenniferYoung44

    JenniferYoung44 Mouseketeer

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    1. I would switch.
    2. I would definitely run the numbers for at least one of your party getting an Annual pass. AP rates at the poly for this summer are close to 40% off and you get 10% off at most TS restaurants and 20% of all Merch. We always have at least one AP in our family for this reason and it pays for itself and then some every year. With a group as big as you have it could save you alot.
     
  21. fla4fun

    fla4fun DIS Veteran

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    That’s what I thought. So in reality it’s not in the best interest of the TA to get you that discount if they are only looking at the short term vs. developing a long term relationship with a customer. I can think of another company who has started taking that approach :rolleyes1The thing is, after two trips where I had to follow up I just didn’t book with a TA anymore. I know there are some wonderful TA’s out there, but I didn’t have the good fortune to get one. Once bitten, twice shy.
     
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