Having a good travel agent in your pocket can gain you real advantages from booking to sailing on a cruise vacation. If you are lucky enough to have found and established a relationship with a Cruise Expert, an agent who specializes in cruises only, all the better. It’s an ongoing process to be sure, one that aims at building a long-term business relationship that will benefit you for years to come.
A good agent, with your best interests in mind, can gain you lower pricing and greater value down the line. Your click-to-book agency or even the cruise lines themselves will not even come close to talking about something like that. Complementary upgrades, bonus onboard amenities and quick access to good information are just some of the benefits you can gain.Finding one of those great agents is one thing. Keeping them interested in you like they might be interested in the travel plans of a close family member is another. Here are some great ways to make your travel agent hate you. Avoid these
- Ask “I want to go on a cruise. Whatcha got?” Do a little homework. At any given time there are zillions of possiblities for sailings all over the world. Try to narrow it down to a hemisphere.
- Start a conversation with “I heard on CruiseCritic that…” CruiseCritic.com is the premiere website for all things cruising. Message boards there have a lot of useful information. God does not write what you read on the message boards though so don’t place wagers based on information you get from member IKnowEverythingAboutCruises
- Start a conversation with “Here are the prices my online cruise broker gave me, can you beat these?” You might as well holler “If somebody else comes along that’s $20 cheaper I will drop you like a hot potato so don’t invest a lot of time in me”
A good cruise expert is an invaluable resource but one that takes a little time to get the most out of. It’s an ongoing process built on trust, loyalty and courtesy. If you feed your travel agent dirt odds are you won’t get diamonds in return.
You want this person to love you.
You want them to think of you as their brother, sister, mom or dad and have a personal commitment to you right along those lines. That does not mean you should accept anything less than flawless arangements and excellent value. All things considered, your travel agent should afford you easy to see advantages over booking any other way. There should be no doubt about it. If there is, you have either unrealistic expectations or the wrong “expert” in your pocket.
Flickr photo by Jorge Quinteros