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What do TAs REALLY think of us First Timers?

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I posted this in another thread under the First Timers TA or something like that. I wasn't sure that post would be seen by many people, so I am also posting it here. Sorry if you read it in both places!

 

 

In a much quicker version, here is what I basically said:

 

 

I have been having much difficulty finding an agent for my very first cruise. I am already booked on NCL Getaway soon with an agent, so this was over the course of a few months before I chose.

 

 

I have gone to many different agencies, and my experiences with each have been comical. I was only asking for some general advice in where to start in picking a cruise and whether or not the TA would be a good choice as well. I wasn't sure yet as to destination or price or big ship vs. a smaller ship, but I was leaning more towards NCL. I was completely overwhelmed researching on my own, so I thought to go to the experts and have them guide me. And book with them as everyone has advised on here.

 

 

 

I have been watching one TA's vlogs on YouTube, who happens to have thousands of subscribers and he appears to really know his stuff, which was quite refreshing to see up to this point in my search. I made the mistake of posting to one of his vlogs.

 

 

I started off by trying to compliment the guy and express to him my frustrations in searching for a good agent and then asking him for permission to email him. His email address was posted on the vlog's description, so I didn't think he'd mind. Unfortunately, I went into greater depth than necessary, explaining that this TA did this or that TA did that, and sadly my post was misinterpreted. I debated whether to take it down or not, but I was hopeful it would make someone else feel like they weren't alone in the search. Anyways, the guy did finally reply back 2 months later, and it was rude and quite shocking to be fully honest.

 

 

I want to know honestly how you would respond to someone like me being a first timer. His reply has been bothering me all day, and I really don't suspect that what he says is what you ALL think. Your opinions please!

 

 

His response was this:

 

 

"You sound pretty indecisive. A travel agent probably would not say it to you, but indecisive people are a nightmare to work with in any field. On top of making free videos you also want the guy to reply to emails for someone who will more than likely not even become a client? Basically you want the guy to work for free."

 

 

I didn't know quite how to respond to that, but I replied back very nicely that I apologize for the communication gap and I continued to compliment him. And of course I was hoping he would help us find the right cruise for us and work with him as his clients.

 

 

I've been scratching my head thinking that not ALL TAs think like this, do they?

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I can only tell you what my TA would.

 

She would wrap you in her arms, give you a hug, then patiently answer any questions you had.

She has done this even with some of my friends who ended up shopping around on line for “better deals”

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A few things: Did the actual TA Vlogger respond or did a fellow commenter respond to you? If it was the TA, it was unprofessional and he is not worth your time or money.

 

You have said in this post that you have spoken with several agents and you have already booked your first cruise through them. Am I reading that correct?

 

What is it you're looking for from a TA? Sounds like you have a case of "Analysis Paralysis" and you are overthinking a lot of the details. I booked our first cruise ten years ago with the help of Cruise critic and the internet.

 

Make a list: Budget, Where do you want to go, When do you want to go, What type of cruise are you interested in (bigger vs smaller ships, age range onboard, etc). Book it, plan excursions, and have a great time.

 

If you think you got a great deal, then you did. If you are going to the stops you want to, you made the right choice.

 

Cruise critic is a wealth of information!!! Read, read, and read .Ask questions.

 

And remember... Your TA is out there. You just haven't met them yet :) Until then, make some CC friends and get to know them. :D:D

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I don't understand why you would ask beforehand for permission to email him/her. (especially on a comment section of a youtube video). If they are a legit business and provide an email address just email them with your questions. No reason for long winded posts on their YT channel. They probably get many questions (email/phone calls/messages) every day and depening on how busy they are might not have time to indulge in your fishing expeditions. (assuming this person (and I have NO IDEA who you are talking about as I don't use TA's) has been doing this for a while and developed some idea of who is just fishing for free info and who might actually book with them). At this point I would ether just email them with some specific questions (and leave out any reference to your post to them on Youtube) or let it go and move on.

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TAs’ thoughts about “First Timers” will most likely reflect the approach of the individual “First Timer”.

 

They will see them as potential customers who deserve, and are worthy of, advice and suggestions. Of course, the indecisive quibblers who want a lot of information and keep coming up with questions and fail to make decisions after receiving input — will be seen as wastes of time.

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A good TA would here you out and try to help you, hoping that you end up booking through them.

I think I would email the YouTuber a not saying, "Thank you for your kind advice. I will continue to search for a TA who desires to work for his customers."

 

You may have to go through several TAs until you find one you are comfortable with.

Also, if you are using their services, you should also book with them. I am not talking about a simple question, but anything requiring research on the part of the TA should be rewarded.

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Thanks for the replies! I thankfully did find a TA I am working with, and I did book with her rather quickly. She is nice and actually sat down and listened to all of my concerns, instead of pushing me into something that I did not want, especially not for a first time. I'm sure there are plenty of bad apples in the bunch of good ones. But I expect that kind of service when I'm paying good money to use a TA. Or it's just how I was raised... Treat others as you would want to be treated. Thanks, Dad, for drilling that one into my head.

 

 

 

Honestly the YouTuber seemed like a standup guy, so I thought I'd be courteous and ask if I could email him first. I wanted to introduce myself and not get lost in his sea of emails. Oh, well. I understand where he is coming from in that post... him trying to make a point across that he's not doing freebies, but stating it rather harshly by saying You was a low blow. Besides, it was posted two months after my post. I've been booked with another agent for like a month prior. I guess one or two TAs didn't think I was being indecisive and a nightmare to work with! He should have just taken my post down himself, but I'm sure he felt entitled to make an example out of me. YouTube has gotten to his head. Now I have my first Internet troll! Yay! :) :) :) I feel so special being in our society now. LOL.

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I can only tell you what my TA would.

 

She would wrap you in her arms, give you a hug, then patiently answer any questions you had.

She has done this even with some of my friends who ended up shopping around on line for “better deals”

 

Is there a LOVE button on here? Thank you for posting this to me. It definitely made me smile. :):):)

 

You are one lucky person to have such a sweet and caring TA.

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Congratulations on finding a TA that meets your needs.

 

With respect to the Vlogger, it would appear his primary business is not operating as a TA. If it is, he needs to learn the first premise of business - the customer is always right. On reading his response, I would have immediately deleted he response, with no further contact from me.

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Seems to me that there is a big difference between an online TA and an in person one. My guess is that the online TA is tired of spending time working to help new people clarify their desires only to see them book elsewhere, online, to save 100 bucks. It seems like it would also be very hard to really advise a person well, through email, who is brand new to cruising as compared to face to face.

 

Good customer service is only found where it is rewarded. That is why there has been such a decline in retail customer service. People come into the store, use the salesperson for doing their research, then buy the item on Amazon or ebay.

 

None of this necessarily applies to the OP, but I DO see the TA's point.

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I am glad that you found a TA that you can work with and patiently answered your questions. I think it can be quite a challenge being a TA because customers will ask their many questions, but then there are probably quite a few who then go book through another source because it is a few dollars cheaper. At the same time, that is somewhat the nature of the service industry. I have a very good TA who answers my questions, is very patient, and understands some of my family dynamics, which is very helpful. Hopefully, if you like the TA you have found, you will continue to use them as you look for cruise vacations in the future.

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But I expect that kind of service when I'm paying good money to use a TA. Or it's just how I was raised... .

 

 

I’m glad you found a TA that you like working with but you shouldn’t be paying anything to a TA. Many people book with TAs because the TA pays them, not the other way around. At least that’s how it works for cruises; the cruise line pays them a commission and some TAs will turn around and use part of that to buy their customers on board credits or free gratuities. A flight/land trip may work differently.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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Thanks for the replies! I thankfully did find a TA I am working with, and I did book with her rather quickly. She is nice and actually sat down and listened to all of my concerns, instead of pushing me into something that I did not want, especially not for a first time. I'm sure there are plenty of bad apples in the bunch of good ones. But I expect that kind of service when I'm paying good money to use a TA. Or it's just how I was raised... Treat others as you would want to be treated. Thanks, Dad, for drilling that one into my head.

 

 

 

Honestly the YouTuber seemed like a standup guy, so I thought I'd be courteous and ask if I could email him first. I wanted to introduce myself and not get lost in his sea of emails. Oh, well. I understand where he is coming from in that post... him trying to make a point across that he's not doing freebies, but stating it rather harshly by saying You was a low blow. Besides, it was posted two months after my post. I've been booked with another agent for like a month prior. I guess one or two TAs didn't think I was being indecisive and a nightmare to work with! He should have just taken my post down himself, but I'm sure he felt entitled to make an example out of me. YouTube has gotten to his head. Now I have my first Internet troll! Yay! :) :) :) I feel so special being in our society now. LOL.

 

What 'good money' are you paying the TA?

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You must realize that a T/A is working to make $$$. Cruise have set prices that for the most part T/A's can't play with. That being said, the profit for selling a cruise is minimal, so education/research on their part is not a high priority. There are T/A companies that specialize with cruising, if you insist on using T/A, find one of them.

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Glad you found a TA you can work with! I love my TA and she is very patient with me with all my questions. I do go in to see her after doing a lot of homework about what I want to do or see or go. She has told me about clients who come to see her and ask "where should I go?", and she has been very patient asking them a lot of questions about what interests them, what ideas they might have, etc., helping them focus to on part of the globe. She has a great sense of humor and a lot of patience!!!!!!!! The more you travel, the more your TA will get to know you and will begin to anticipate what kind of traveler you are (long flights vs. one stop flights, exit rows vs. premium economy, beach person vs. tours, etc.). Good luck!

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I understand your dilemma. I am trying to book a first cruise and have had bad luck finding an agent willing to help. I ended up figuring out everything I want on my own. Now I'm using this forum to help me Figure out if I'm on the right track. Once that's done I can find a TA interested in helping and get everything booked.

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So here is the take from somebody who has been an extensive travelers for over 50 years. The local Travel Agencies and Agents are essentially obsolete. We are not surprised to read posts similar to the OP's. When it comes to travel (international or domestic) we are in the age of Online and computers. If you are somebody who insists on using local TAs, or generally booking directly with a cruise line, you are likely spending 7-10% more then is necessary. And what makes the situation even worse is that a majority of travel agents seem to have little clue about the travel world but are simply order takers who need to justify their job by job by taking more and more orders.

 

Am I cynical about travel agents/agencies? Not exactly. There are excellent travel agencies but they specialize. When it comes to cruising we always recommend using a reputable high volume cruise agency...the type you will generally find online. Their agents will often handle more bookings in a single day then your local travel agent handles in a year! They generally know the product, industry, and understand that all cruise lines and ships are alike. Some of the actually agents are obviously better then others and finding a gem in the diamond field can be a daunting task.

 

For those who are trying to deal with the cruise and/or airline industry for the first time we suggest taking a little time a reading various blogs right here on CC. You will get many different opinions and start to get a feel for the different cruise lines, ships, cabin types, etc. And you can always ask question here on CC and will quickly get answers and advice. If somebody posts bad info they will quickly be taken to task by others :). In fact, there will be some who will take me to task and tell you about their wonderful local travel agent or how they like to "maintain control" by booking directly with a cruise agency. And my response to them is that we can generally save 7-10% (or more) by simply shopping around among reputable high volume agencies. As to the control (over a cruise reservation) issue we think you actually get a lot more control when you have a high volume agency working on your behalf. These folks know how to deal with the cruise line's and even have some real clout because of their volume.

 

Hank

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Hi all, new here... I was lucky and through a online search engine found a awesome agent, family run business. Gave me a lot of tips I had not found elsewhere ( and got me some OBC and tips how to save money! ).

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I have never used one do they charge much????

 

You shouldn't be paying anything to a TA, they make their money from the cruise-lines.

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I have already booked and paid for our cruise for next April, after reading posts on here, and on the MSC website, I had a few questions, sent out TA two emails, she responded to both in a timely manor and in great detail, one of the responses was probable two pages long and answered questions I hadn't even thought to ask. 

 

She has already sealed the deal with us but she was still so helpful, which I really appreciated, and it would make me recommend her to others. 

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TA's are not psychologists...they are TRAVEL AGENTS.  Tell them where you want to go and the experience you're expecting, and they should deliver a good product.  TA's are FREE to you...they get paid via the vendors you use.

 

 

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On 9/8/2018 at 1:29 AM, Toofarfromthesea said:

Seems to me that there is a big difference between an online TA and an in person one. My guess is that the online TA is tired of spending time working to help new people clarify their desires only to see them book elsewhere, online, to save 100 bucks. It seems like it would also be very hard to really advise a person well, through email, who is brand new to cruising as compared to face to face.

 

Good customer service is only found where it is rewarded. That is why there has been such a decline in retail customer service. People come into the store, use the salesperson for doing their research, then buy the item on Amazon or ebay.

 

None of this necessarily applies to the OP, but I DO see the TA's point.

 

I see your point about retail stores but do not agree that this applies to TA's.  Unless you live in a very. large city, the likelihood of finding a TA that specializes in cruising and has actually sailed on the cruise line that you are interested in is very difficult.  Most top TA's in the U.S. are online TA's.  Using a TA that is not familiar with cruises cannot really be of much help (IMHO).  Anyone can book a cruise - most people use TA's for their expertise.  

 

In terms of paying a TA, they do receive a decent commission but some of the lower priced cruise lines have a fare that is so low already that the TA isn't making much money.  Once you get into the upper premium and luxury cruises, TA's not only do not charge customers, they give you a percentage back on your cruise fare and often give you OBC's.  

 

We have used an online TA for years - have met them and cruised with them on some of their escorted cruises (where the percentage that we receive back is higher than on regular cruises).  While we typically sail on luxury cruise lines, a couple of months ago we did a quickie 7 night cruise on Celebrity.  Our TA does not book premium or mainstream cruises so I contacted Celebrity directly.  They were running an amazing special that included $300 OBC, included premium alcohol package, included internet for 2 and included tipping.  The contact person at Celebrity was always there to answer questions for me and their follow-up was amazing.  So, for some cruise lines, booking directly is fine but, in general, it is best to have a TA looking out for your best interests.

Edited by Travelcat2

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