Dear Travel Agents,
In my last blog we talked about respecting the partnership between travel agents and tour operators.
It was then brought to my attention that cruise lines are approaching clients directly with discounts, trying to take the travel agent out of the equation.
I want to offer my 2 cents (hopefully worth more than that) about this matter: I don’t have a CLIA membership, nor do I sell cruises – but I love to go on them. I use my own travel agent to book cruises. And, I personally take advantage of discounts for future cruises offered during the cruise that I am on. I can tell for sure:
- The cruise expert on the cruise does not get commission because I asked, and she/he told me I could go back with my bunch of paper offers, analyze which ones make the most sense for me, and come back to ANY ONE of his/her colleagues and put a down payment on the cruise of my choice.
- The first thing they confirmed was the name of my travel agent, and they asked me if I wanted to keep the same agent. I asked if I went directly though the cruise line if I would get any discount or perk. The answer was NO.
- They told me that I have 90 days to change the name of my travel agent, or the commission on the future cruise will go to the original travel agent on the file.
After I got my booking, I called my travel agent and I got an extra discount on the cruise. Honestly, I was so excited to follow up with her, I didn’t give her a chance to get the booking first and call me.
My suggestion is to keep following up with your clients and let them know that on top of all the perks and discounts they can get directly from the cruise line, you can get them extra discounts.
Promote your name, and remind your clients of your agency’s name, there are lots of little gifts and promotions the cruise line can send on your behalf.
If the gifts are costly, and you’d rather give them in the form of discounts to your clients, send your clients an email telling them that.
I haven’t tried all cruise lines, but I’ve tried many of them. I am not going to say which one is my favorite because that is not the point of this blog post. But, if you have had a different experience and a cruise line took your client, I would like to hear about that.
Meanwhile, keep cruising and selling cruises!