What Got the Ire of Travel Agents?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATravel Agents are angry at Women’s Day.  So angry.  So angry that Women’s Day is going to publish “mea culpa articles” in favor of travel agents.

What got them so angry?

According to Dennis Schaal of Skift:

The list/article that drew travel agents’ ire basically argued correctly that some travel agents won’t necessarily disclose to the customer that they are earning commissions and fees, or that they don’t have access to all airlines; that they have preferred relationships with certain cruise lines, hotels, and travel insurance companies that might influence their recommendations; and that they may not find you the best price for the trip.

He notes that one item was “wacky” on the list, “3. They may not have been to the hotel or on the cruise ship they’re recommending.”

Reading his article, I thought this was a wacky expectation too.  Why should a travel agent HAVE to stay (personally) at every resort they recommend?  That’s crazy!

But then I read the original article on Women’s Day:

3. They may not have been to the hotel or on the cruise ship they’re recommending.

Some pros may fib about their travels to close a sale. “Agents untruthfully telling clients that they’ve sailed on a particular cruise ship because it’s more expensive or stayed at a certain pricier resort is common,†says Cambridge. Stone explains that reputable agencies encourage their employees to take “familiarization (FAM) trips†which allow the agent to learn about a destination at a deeply discounted rate. She suggests asking about recent FAM trips your agent’s taken to learn which destinations and accommodations she truly knows well.

This makes sense as a complaint.  I had a travel agent I booked a Sandals trip with who swore up and down she was at that resort before.  When I considered switching resorts, she recommended another property she had stayed at.  I had to cancel that trip and asked about going to Vegas.  Magically, she had been at that resort too.   ….wait a second.

The rest of the list is here.  What do you think?  Does the article have a point, or do the travel agents have good reason to complain?


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. AlohaDaveKennedy

    Article was pretty much spot on. Unless you personally know the agent, don’t trust their experience with your cruise ship, for example. Go straight to the cruise boards. Even then you will find some biased reviews, just as many sites with hotel reviews have phony reviews written by hotel staff.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      Great points! The way I see it is–would you trust ONE yelp reviewer? Why would you ask ONE person their opinion on where you should stay?

  2. As a travel agent and reading the tons of responses from other agents and from the executives at the majority of the cruise lines don’t take the word of a couple of bad agents as normal practice. Find a travel agent that you can trust and that can either give experience from personal experience or from experiences of their clients. In the end it is about building relationships.

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