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mjz

Question: Travel Agent / Cruise Consolidator

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Good afternoon. We plan on booking two suites for the August 10th, 2019 Scandinavia & Baltic Spectacular on Star Pride. I know that it's against policy to specifically name travel agents / consolidators on the forums. Other than Google, does anyone have first hand experience with the best way to identify travel agents or cruise consolidators that specialize in Windstar cruise?

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I would never use a cruise consiladator. You wont have one point of contact. Every time you call you'll talk to someone different. At least with a TA you should have one point of contact.

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I would suggest three possible paths for you:

 

1. If you have a local agent you have worked with and they know and understand your preferences, that is generally just as valuable (if not more so) than their knowledge of the cruise line. A travel agent with overall experience can bring themselves up to speed, on a cruise line that is new to them, in short order. But knowing you and understanding your needs, is more valuable to you, as I see it.

 

2. If you do not have a local agent you work with, her is your second best option. Call a few agents in your local area (by referral, phone book, or simple search.) Ask them the following: "Have you booked any client on Windstar in the past 12-18 months? If so, how many cruises? Have you ever traveled on Windstar yourself?"

 

3. If method 1 or 2 won't work for you; ask for referral recommendations from friends and colleagues. Exceptional travel agents get a very good portion of their new clients via referrals. Travel agents who seem to only get new clients from social media and internet / goggle ads may not have a lot of long-term clients after the "great bargain deal" thrill wears off.

 

When doing your search, I would not assume that they need to have booked 20 clients, as Windstar is a small line, with small ships. Carnival, or NCL books more passengers in a day, than Windstar does in a month. I hope this helps. I know many of the members here can recommend agents the have been working with for years, and many agents post on CC often. But making that all public would destroy the integrity of these boards, in very short order. That is why we will seldom know who they are here.

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I would suggest three possible paths for you:

 

1. If you have a local agent you have worked with and they know and understand your preferences, that is generally just as valuable (if not more so) than their knowledge of the cruise line. A travel agent with overall experience can bring themselves up to speed, on a cruise line that is new to them, in short order. But knowing you and understanding your needs, is more valuable to you, as I see it.

 

2. If you do not have a local agent you work with, her is your second best option. Call a few agents in your local area (by referral, phone book, or simple search.) Ask them the following: "Have you booked any client on Windstar in the past 12-18 months? If so, how many cruises? Have you ever traveled on Windstar yourself?"

 

3. If method 1 or 2 won't work for you; ask for referral recommendations from friends and colleagues. Exceptional travel agents get a very good portion of their new clients via referrals. Travel agents who seem to only get new clients from social media and internet / goggle ads may not have a lot of long-term clients after the "great bargain deal" thrill wears off.

 

When doing your search, I would not assume that they need to have booked 20 clients, as Windstar is a small line, with small ships. Carnival, or NCL books more passengers in a day, than Windstar does in a month. I hope this helps. I know many of the members here can recommend agents the have been working with for years, and many agents post on CC often. But making that all public would destroy the integrity of these boards, in very short order. That is why we will seldom know who they are here.

 

I appreciate your advice, thank you.

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You can also call the Windstar company and ask if they are acquainted with the ta and whether that agency has done much business with that particular ta. I received this piece of advice from a well established ta.

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You can also call the Windstar company and ask if they are acquainted with the ta and whether that agency has done much business with that particular ta. I received this piece of advice from a well established ta.

First, will I am here as a passenger and lover of Windstar, but it is not a dark secret about what I do for a living. And I never speak on behalf of any cruise line, or pedal my business here.

 

I find the information you posted to be fascinating. And I truly disagree with the information you received. If you happen to have contact with the VP of Sales (for any cruise line) you might get a direct answer about a specific TA (with a lot of qualifiers thrown in). But you are not going to get to talk with that VP when you call into the public customer phone number. No one in reservation/customer service has access to the TA information you are seeking.

 

Plus they have nothing to gain by giving you that information. While most, if not all, cruise lines have excellent working relationships with the TA community, a direct sale is more profitable to the cruise line than a TA sale. Why would they give their "inhouse" booking away to a travel agent. That is bad business.

 

Many TA always work with the same res. agent at a given cruise line. So there is a remote chance that if you happen to talk to the res. agent I always call directly (have this relationship at many cruise lines) and you give him my zip code, he might tell you he knows who I am. I suspect if he says anything beyond that, he will be in big trouble, with his company.

 

Here is a post script to my comments above. There are unusual exceptions to this. If you happen to be on the Star Legend, you will find the name, picture and agency name; for the owner of one of the largest travel agencies in the world. Her name is Gloria Bohan and she is the ship's "God Mother". No one I know thinks she has been given an unfair advantage. TA who don't know her, wish they did.

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