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SailBreakaway

MSC cuts special promotions with Travel Agencies

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I spoke with my TA today, and got some shocking news. My TA is part of a large national reputable vendor. MSC has cut all TA promotions (such as OBC, free gratuities, free perks, TA incentives) with this and other vendors.  MSC is looking to go it alone and focus on in house corporate marketing and bookings. In the past I’ve scored as much as 700$ in OBC by booking MSC with my TA. that’s gone. Shame. 

 

Be be interesting in the US market where a propoderence of bookings are through Online agencies due to perks.  

 

Just passing on the news as I got it today folks. Don’t shoot the messenger. 

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It's really sad in my opinion. They are adding more ships to the American market and keep shooting themselves in the foot with their corporate decisions. I've sailed MSC twice on the Divina, but with their cutbacks, I don't see myself booking them again. Too many other lines that actually care about their customers.

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Sad to see this.  I recently booked with a TA because of the perks.  It doesn't mean I won't book MSC again...but the more perks I get, the more my casino budget goes up.

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As each agency negotiates their own contract with each cruise line, I would pause from “being the messenger”. This is for two reasons.

1. Your information may not be correct.

2. If it is correct, travel agents should be due the courtesy to find out changes to any programs from their agency owners.

 

As we do not discuss specific TA’s on this site, perhaps we should also not discuss their contracts.

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Not the case in Ireland but then we never see huge OBC promos. MSC do have a strong relationship with agents here and offer great value.

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3 minutes ago, Kizzabel said:

Not the case in Ireland but then we never see huge OBC promos. MSC do have a strong relationship with agents here and offer great value.

 

I've actually begun checking US internet sites when pricing cruises due to the reports of the amazing OBC some people were getting.  However, any of the cruises I've recently booked were much cheaper here!

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12 hours ago, SailBreakaway said:

I spoke with my TA today, and got some shocking news. My TA is part of a large national reputable vendor. MSC has cut all TA promotions (such as OBC, free gratuities, free perks, TA incentives) with this and other vendors.  MSC is looking to go it alone and focus on in house corporate marketing and bookings. In the past I’ve scored as much as 700$ in OBC by booking MSC with my TA. that’s gone. Shame. 

 

Be be interesting in the US market where a propoderence of bookings are through Online agencies due to perks.  

 

Just passing on the news as I got it today folks. Don’t shoot the messenger. 

 

Thank you for this good news! I don't like that some TAs can give high OBC because if many passengers get a high OBC the cruiselines may increase the prices for things paid for with OBC.

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In a perfect "cruise world"....all cruiselines would have one price for the cabin and there wouldn't be any gimmicks or "freebies" from TAs or the line itself.  But, they need these things to compete. 

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Booked cruise yesterday for next year on Preziosa. Used same TA we had for our first MSC Cruise on Meraviglia.

Booked Y2 Cabin and he saved us over $900 over booking directly with MSC US online. Will continue to use this agency, out of Miami, in the future. He did tell me that they have a direct working relationship with MSC , in Miami.  When they have issues with booking , they pass it on to MSC and they take care of it quickly. He also mentioned that he no longer has the long wait time when calling MSC to inquire about bookings. (I had him check to make sure our cabin had separate shower and tub in bathroom) Took him 5 minutes.

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19 hours ago, SailBreakaway said:

MSC has cut all TA promotions (such as OBC, free gratuities, free perks, TA incentives) with this and other vendors.  MSC is looking to go it alone and focus on in house corporate marketing and bookings.

 

News to me. I've been working closely with MSC for over 10 years as a TA. Nothing regarding this has been passed on to our agency as of yet. Taking it a step further, I contacted MSC management who literally laughed a little and said "that wouldn't make a bit of sense." Sounds to me like that particular agency may have had issues with the cruise line.

In any case, remember that MSC stands for Most Surely Changes, so who knows what's down the road.

Bret

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Sounds like this TA is trying to keep more of their commissions from MSC. Sometimes they will offer an extra $50-100 OBC as a tool for certain large agencies and conglomerate agencies, but the majority of any perk you get from an agent is straight out of the commission the cruise line pays them. Could be that MSC lowered their contracted commission rate due to lower volume from that agency and now they don’t have what to give you. 

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Yes, I do wait for promotions, and yes it does save me money. We loved MSC YC when we recently sailed and we will sail again with MSC. The Haven prices on NCL are way crazy now and since we do enjoy the serenity of the ship within a ship concept we decided to stick with them. I am sorry when business relationships shift and hopefully all will be resolved.

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23 hours ago, SailBreakaway said:

I spoke with my TA today, and got some shocking news. My TA is part of a large national reputable vendor. MSC has cut all TA promotions (such as OBC, free gratuities, free perks, TA incentives) with this and other vendors.  MSC is looking to go it alone and focus on in house corporate marketing and bookings. In the past I’ve scored as much as 700$ in OBC by booking MSC with my TA. that’s gone. Shame. 

 

Be be interesting in the US market where a propoderence of bookings are through Online agencies due to perks.  

 

Just passing on the news as I got it today folks. Don’t shoot the messenger. 

 

This will not fly in the U.S. as it goes against the entire industry standard. MSC has a hard enough time working with US agencies, this would kill the U.S. market. I'm thinking this may be an across the pond thing? 

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Speaking of travel agents, what happened to the overbooking thread? I wonder if that's why some on here hadn't heard of MSC overbooking before? 

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I am okay with this as I never use a TA on principle and I don't care how much they can offer me. 

I am a software engineer so I am all for cutting the middle-man and offer a direct sale web model. Improve the website and provide online customer service though. 

There is no reason I should pay for someone's TA commission only because some don't know how to do research and rely on a TA. Most obviously use it because of the bribe they throw at you. I just hope people who actually need TA service can pay for it themselves.

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On 7/22/2019 at 7:38 PM, SailBreakaway said:

I spoke with my TA today, and got some shocking news. My TA is part of a large national reputable vendor. MSC has cut all TA promotions (such as OBC, free gratuities, free perks, TA incentives) with this and other vendors.  MSC is looking to go it alone and focus on in house corporate marketing and bookings. In the past I’ve scored as much as 700$ in OBC by booking MSC with my TA. that’s gone. Shame. 

 

Be be interesting in the US market where a propoderence of bookings are through Online agencies due to perks.  

Just passing on the news as I got it today folks. Don’t shoot the messenger. 

Actually I am shocked that there was any BIG perks/OBC etc with TAs.

 

 

W looked at MSC directly and large big box TAs and also a large cruise online TA and found the rates per room were the same and NOT indication of any perks what so ever.

Everwhere we looked the rates were the same and no perks.

 

In fact the online big cruise TA never gave us a bid/indication that they could do anything for us and the customer service/follow through from them was so bad we figured if on the front end if its bad--imagine how useless they'd be if there is trouble...

 

In the end we joined a big box to use their TA and get a small cash card back. While doing the bookings for the B2B the agent then was kind enough to give us a small OBC of the cost of the "booking fee" so it was a wash. And we got the Cirque and Dinner for each sailing so we will see each show over the course of 2 week.s

 

From our very limited experience we couldn't find any real incentives out there whether to book through a TA instead of direct.

 

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, slei15 said:

Sounds like this TA is trying to keep more of their commissions from MSC. Sometimes they will offer an extra $50-100 OBC as a tool for certain large agencies and conglomerate agencies, but the majority of any perk you get from an agent is straight out of the commission the cruise line pays them. Could be that MSC lowered their contracted commission rate due to lower volume from that agency and now they don’t have what to give you. 

700 $ off commission? how much is commission? After so many years of cruising I never got more than 100$ obc or free dinner from TA. all this stories about 700 OBC very strange to me. 

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I get multiple emails every day from online TAs offering lower prices and/or OBC or rebates on cruises from many cruise lines.  There are two reasons to use a TA (IMO & IME):  I always do lots of research before booking, but sometimes I need advice or I foresee that I may need someone 'in my corner' on a complex itinerary – for that you want a TA who is very knowledgable about cruising and who does enough volume with your cruise line that they have some 'clout.'  Alternatively, if the booking is straightforward why not get as much money back as possible?–I don't make the rules, but I do use them to my advantage [and I would say that 10% of the cruise fare is a pretty big advantage!].  Those who book direct with the cruise line are paying the salaries of the cruise line phone reps; I'm helping maintain a couple of TAs in business [and getting some of it back in my pocket] – you pays yer money and takes yer choice. 

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1 hour ago, GOLDENBONNY said:

700 $ off commission? how much is commission? After so many years of cruising I never got more than 100$ obc or free dinner from TA. all this stories about 700 OBC very strange to me. 

 

All kinds of gifts from a TA is strange for me, I have never got anything.

 

I used to book everything with a TA in case I needed help with anything but I don't do that anymore. I can take better care of myself!

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We are on our first MSC cruise in January 2020.  I booked it through my usual on-line TA.  We got 10% off from MSC thanks to their reduced fare for government employees (DH is a federal government retiree).  My TA then discounted the reduced fare another 8%.  We prefer a discount on the cruise fare any day over OBC, specialty dining, etc.

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My 2 cents...we mostly sail NCL and I would book thru their Casinos At Sea department as I was a frequent casino-goer. However, with MSC, we've gone back to using a big-box TA for the last 2 years and they give us 10% of the cruise rate back as OBC.  For this cruise, we have $600 obc coming (sailing YC w/ party of 4). That will cover our gratuities and one of our shore excursions (we are booking it thru the ship to use up our obc).

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SailBreakaway - while we aren't allowed to name travel agents on this site I will say it is on-line out of Orlando, Florida.  I've used my TA for multiple ocean (usually Princess) and river cruises (Uniworld) a year for the last 10 years or so and trust her implicitly.  When I told her we were thinking of an MSC cruise, her reply was "The Yacht Club with MSC is fantastic. MSC is a good cruise line and I personally enjoyed it but I think after being in the Yacht club myself it would be the only way I would book them." So that is exactly what we did.

The government and military discount is on the MSC website ( (https://www.msccruisesusa.com/en-us/Cruise-Deals/Government-Employee-Discounts.aspx).  I gave my TA a copy of my DH's annual federal retiree pay form (with all the amounts blacked out of course) as proof and she had no problem with MSC giving us the discount.  This was all done within a couple of hours, if that long.

 

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, capriccio said:

SailBreakaway - while we aren't allowed to name travel agents on this site I will say it is on-line out of Orlando, Florida.  I've used my TA for multiple ocean (usually Princess) and river cruises (Uniworld) a year for the last 10 years or so and trust her implicitly.  When I told her we were thinking of an MSC cruise, her reply was "The Yacht Club with MSC is fantastic. MSC is a good cruise line and I personally enjoyed it but I think after being in the Yacht club myself it would be the only way I would book them." So that is exactly what we did.

The government and military discount is on the MSC website ( (https://www.msccruisesusa.com/en-us/Cruise-Deals/Government-Employee-Discounts.aspx).  I gave my TA a copy of my DH's annual federal retiree pay form (with all the amounts blacked out of course) as proof and she had no problem with MSC giving us the discount.  This was all done within a couple of hours, if that long.

 

Thank you. I will do some research and see what I find for the info you provided. I’ve seen other agencies with the 10% but never with another x% on top, and when I asked other agencies that offer interline deals theyve always said you can’t layer your 5% MSC Loyalty on top of the 10%. 

 

We agree on the YC. We are sold on it being our preferred way to cruise. 

 

I’m pretty upset about my current TA guys. I really think I was lied to. They sometimes think for cruises they’re the ONLY Cruise TA. 🤨

Edited by SailBreakaway
typo

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