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To travel agent or not to travel agent?


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#41 JQLong

JQLong
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    Posted 03 June 2011 - 05:57 AM

    I am soooo glad this thread has "re-surfaced"....We are getting married in St. Thomas next May.  Thinking we would help our guests by securing a "decent" room rate, we put a $500- deposit on a block of 10 rooms (the caveat in the contract states we would be on the hook for the balance of the rooms not sold ).  I was extremely apprehensive on doing this but my fiance assured me that we would have more than enough people to fill them.  We sent our electronic STD on May 20 (exactly a year from our wedding day)...immediately we got calls advising people are coming....but would look for other packages/location for their stay....My panic set in.....instantly....

     

    Meltdown #1 in JQ's wedding adventure

     

    So...my fiance and I decided that it was NOT practical to put ourselves at risk in not filling the rooms in the block.  Since we would really have to wait until April of 2012 to see if they are filled, we decided to cancel the room block.  The resort was understanding and advised the deposit would be returned.  I contacted a TA that is experienced in DW and hopefully can get us a better rate...The TA has also advised they will price match in case someone finds a cheaper rate elsewhere....

     

    So....all I can say ladies is read the fine print when signing these contracts....

     

    Hopefully the TA we have selected will get us a great rate and make it easy for our guests to make their travel arrangements.

     

    Wish me luck....

     

    JQ


    So Amazing......July 4, 2012!!!!!!


    #42 beachbum21

    beachbum21
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      Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:21 AM

      Thanks for sharing JQ!!
      I'm definitely not going to work directly with the hotel or airlines to block rooms/flights, that seems like so much effort and you're right, there's the fine print.. .:(

      I'm wondering, do I bite the bullet and pay for a TA, or do I use Flight Center or itravel2000 at no cost? The latter means I deal directly with the hotel to organize all wedding day related activities, details, etc... which I wanted to do anyways... and I think they can find me a better rate for accom/flight pkgs. So far what I've heard from them is that they can get a group rate that should be better than if you booked on your own now.

      Fingers crossed...



      #43 redginger

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        Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:27 AM

        I think having a TA is helpful only if you're booking a package deal that includes both the resort and flights. We only need a TA for flights, and haven't found a TA that is interested or able to get us better group flight discounts than if we just booked directly through one of the major discounted travel websites.



        #44 JQLong

        JQLong
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          Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:32 AM


          A TA should not cost you extra.  They typically get paid directly from the tour company or resort you are using. 
           

          Originally Posted by redginger 

          I think having a TA is helpful only if you're booking a package deal that includes both the resort and flights. We only need a TA for flights, and haven't found a TA that is interested or able to get us better group flight discounts than if we just booked directly through one of the major discounted travel websites.



           



          Originally Posted by beachbum21 

          Thanks for sharing JQ!!
          I'm definitely not going to work directly with the hotel or airlines to block rooms/flights, that seems like so much effort and you're right, there's the fine print.. .:(

          I'm wondering, do I bite the bullet and pay for a TA, or do I use Flight Center or itravel2000 at no cost? The latter means I deal directly with the hotel to organize all wedding day related activities, details, etc... which I wanted to do anyways... and I think they can find me a better rate for accom/flight pkgs. So far what I've heard from them is that they can get a group rate that should be better than if you booked on your own now.

          Fingers crossed...



           


          So Amazing......July 4, 2012!!!!!!


          #45 torilynnsmith

          torilynnsmith
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            Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:32 AM

            Beachbum DEFINITELY use a travel agent.  You need to search for the right one (we went through 5 as JQ knows from a previous post lol) before we found the right one but the rates she got us are cheaper than what we found on any online site.  I don't know what you mean by "pay for a TA" we are not "paying" our TA, I believe she gets commission off of our bookings but directly we are not paying her anything.  We just pay our package and that rate is STILL cheaper than online.

             

            How our package works is we have 30 spots held  and they are held at the rate for 3 months (90days) from the date we booked.  To secure one of these spots our guests have to put down a $200 deposit before the 90 days is up and then full payment is due at the beginning of October.

             

            I would say to contact some TAs and see what they say because for us it was definitely worth it.  I am still working with the WC at the hotel to do the planning part (very easy, booked date, secured location for ceremony, dinner and reception, make other decisions when we get there) but my TA is a destination wedding specialist so she is also able to answer questions that the average TA couldnt!

             

            Good luck!!



            #46 JQLong

            JQLong
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              Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:36 AM

              @redginger....have you contacted the airline directly?  American Airlines gave us a group discount code of 5%.  Not a lot but every bit helps.  They have a "group rate" department on their website.  I sent the information and got a response within 2 days.  Most airlines may provide this for you....however, Continental requires everyone leave from the same location....


              So Amazing......July 4, 2012!!!!!!


              #47 beachbum21

              beachbum21
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                Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:37 AM

                Hi all - so let me clarify... there are travel agents (like those at Flight Center, itravel2000, etc...) that you do not pay for (as in, I don't directly pay them a fee), and there are other travel agents who request a fee, or fee per booking from me for making the arrangements and providing a service that includes the wedding arrangements - they would deal directly with the hotel.

                 

                I know how I am, I would prefer to make all of the arrangements myself, if I had access to the tour company systesms, I would find my own package deal! lol!! So I think I'll continue working with the no-fee companies, and hopefully find something that works for my fiance and I and all our guests.  We have people coming from both Toronto and Ottawa which complicates things a little bit, we need to find flights that leave on the same or following day.


                Thanks for all the info!! If anyone has had better luck with better rates through an agent that does charge a fee, please post! :)



                #48 redginger

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                  Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:44 AM

                  Hi JQLong,

                  Yes, we're planning to contact the airlines directly about getting group discounts too. They don't offer significant discounts, but still helpful to provide our guests options. That's good to know about Continental's requirement. Thanks!

                   

                  Originally Posted by JQLong 

                  @redginger....have you contacted the airline directly?  American Airlines gave us a group discount code of 5%.  Not a lot but every bit helps.  They have a "group rate" department on their website.  I sent the information and got a response within 2 days.  Most airlines may provide this for you....however, Continental requires everyone leave from the same location....



                   



                  #49 torilynnsmith

                  torilynnsmith
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                    Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:46 AM

                    Most TAs (all I have been in contact with) even those not from the big online sources do not charge a fee for services!  We have guests coming from Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, Saskatoon, Vancouver... all over really!

                     

                    Our TA was great about finding a common day that everyone could depart on.  I originally used tripcentral.ca because they have great grids that let you know travel dates by hotel, city, country etc.  I used it to find a common date that everyone from our different departure cities could fly out on because our first few TAs had people flying out up to 5 days apart! That just didn't work for us!

                     

                    It seems silly to pay a TA to deal with the resorts WC, unless you are having trouble communicating with the WC yourself.  Our has been so great that I wouldn't imagine paying someone to email with her just as I can do.

                     

                    Hopefully you figure something out.  



                    #50 beachbum21

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                      Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:47 PM

                      hi torilynnsmith... who are you working with? if you don't mind me asking.. perhaps you can PM it?

                       






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