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I HATE my TA Rant


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#21 lyndsay_h

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    Posted 13 August 2010 - 07:06 PM

    We've gotten screwed around with our booking a lot but it's not been the fault of our TA at all, its been Sunwing that's causing all the problems.  No matter what pricing request she puts into them she gets back a response that isn't at all what she is asking for...I'd be ripping my hair out if I had to be the one to deal with them!



    #22 AshleyL

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      Posted 14 August 2010 - 12:15 PM

      Ya I'm sure it's super stressful on both ends. Hope all goes well for everyone. I tried searching for a thread that might have tips for things to ask your travel agent. There are so many travel agents on this forum that are experienced in dealing with DW and I'm sure there are many recommendations on things to ask etc that can save everyone a lot of stress in the long run. My biggest regret is going through a TA that is not experienced in DWs, so I guess I just need to have some extra patience with her while she goes through the learning process. Good luck everyone!


      Getting married in Runaway Bay, Jamaica February 2011!!!

      #23 Natalie79

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        Posted 16 August 2010 - 05:04 AM

        I thought my TA was great until last Friday.  My biggest regret is doing a group contract.  I would have definitely done individual bookings.  I think the only reason to do a group rate is if you know you are going during a time of year when the hotel has a good chance of selling out.

         

        She basically just replied back to me that she didn't intend to make me feel bad (which i still don't believe) and she wanted to "cut the drama".  If she didn't write me the huge rant in the first place, there wouldn't be any drama!  grrrr

         

        So that's that for now.  I'm just going to deal with her as little as possible.



        #24 rkingtx

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          Posted 21 August 2010 - 06:36 PM

          Glad it all worked out!



          #25 AshleyL

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            Posted 02 September 2010 - 07:24 AM

            Just got the new contract today and am happy to report that our TA really came through for us. They didn't want to honor the date we were given but she managed to get it done. What a huge relief that I don't have to call everyone and tell them they need to pay sooner!
            Getting married in Runaway Bay, Jamaica February 2011!!!

            #26 TA Wendy

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              Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:08 AM

              Speaking as someone who has been a TA for many years, and specializes in Destination Weddings, I think the key to a good client/agent relationship is for both to be very clear on expectations and communication. Many clients dont realize that we are working for them for no charge to them whatsoever. Our source of payment is from the hotels, tour operators, and cruise lines we book for our clients. We do not typically get paid anything until the completion of the clients travel, and with destination weddings that can mean we work for 9 months, a year or longer before we ever see commission money on the booking. That is what we have elected to do by being in this business.-  Not complaining, just informing.

              When I work with a new couple I make a point of discussing the pros and cons of going with a contracted group block vs having the guests just book individually as they are ready.

              There are certainly advantages to using a contracted rate, including the fact that free, or upgraded rooms or parties or other events are negotiated right from the start and written in black and white. You always know that your rooms are going to be there for the guests, even if the hotel fills up, and you know the price is not going to increase on you. But the catch for you is that deposit money must be paid right from the start, often a second deposit is due at some point a few months in, and final payments plus rooming lists are typically due 60 days prior to your departure. That would all be in the contract and should not be a surprise to anyone. Also, the hotel is giving you a lower rate and throwing in goodies because you are guaranteeing that you will give them a minimum of 10 rooms. Hotels can be sticky about last minute cancellations of group space and even things like name changes can (if the hotel wants to be brats about it) be cause for change fees. As a bride and groom you are much more actively involved in group contracted rooms because your money is on the line.

              If that is not for you, then it is best to let your guests book individually and they get the price available the day they make their booking. It could be that the hotel will raise prices or sell out, but you do not have a financial stake in the process. For my brides and grooms that choose to go the individual route, I still gather all of the names of the group and I contact the hotel and introduce the guests and ask for amenities and courtesies to be extended especially to the wedding couple and immediate family. Because I know many of the on site group and wedding coordinators, I am usually successful in getting some special treatment for the group, but this is not guaranteed, just hoped for.

              It sounds like a lot of the frustration I am hearing from the brides in this discussion comes from the fact that they might not have been really clear on what a group contract really means in terms of what is expected from them and their guests. Just like airlines have become really tight about changes, and cancellations, the hotels can be that way too.

              The key is finding a TA who is really familiar with the ins and outs of Destination Wedding travel, and who will take as much time as necessary to make sure you know what you are getting into with group rates, and who will answer all of your questions with patience and respect.


              Looking for a travel agency that specializes in Destination Weddings? We are an award winning travel agency and you can read our reviews HERE.

              Awards and recognition:

              Palace Resorts Top PRO Agency
              Karisma Hotels Diamond Level 5 (highest production), Top 10 Azul Weddings, Top Wedding Coordinator
              AMResorts Master Agent & Top Agency
              Travel Impressions Best of the Best Globe Winner
              Apple Vacations Golden Apple Winner

              #27 TA Wendy

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                Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:19 AM

                One last thing, and I will step off the soap box!  ; )

                Just as there are good and terrible building contractors, plumbers, dentists etc out there, the same holds true for the Travel Agent community. It is up to you as a consumer to pick an agent that gives you the answers you are looking for, is knowledgeable about what they are selling, and who you will be able to feel comfortable working with.

                Not really fair to trash the whole profession even if you have had a less than great experience with a TA you have chosen.

                TA Wendy


                Looking for a travel agency that specializes in Destination Weddings? We are an award winning travel agency and you can read our reviews HERE.

                Awards and recognition:

                Palace Resorts Top PRO Agency
                Karisma Hotels Diamond Level 5 (highest production), Top 10 Azul Weddings, Top Wedding Coordinator
                AMResorts Master Agent & Top Agency
                Travel Impressions Best of the Best Globe Winner
                Apple Vacations Golden Apple Winner

                #28 TA Wendy

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                  Posted 04 September 2010 - 12:40 PM

                  Actually one more thing... AshleyL above makes a good point that there should be a list of questions to ask of a TA prior to hiring them. I think that is an excellent idea and I would add that there are also questions an agent should be asking you!

                  Here is my off the cuff list for both:

                  Questions you should ask your TA:

                  1. How long have you been in the business?

                  2. Do you specialize in groups and specifically Destination Wedding Groups?

                  3. Are you very familiar with the resorts available at my destination?

                  4. Have you visited yourself?

                  5. Will you be there from the start of this booking all the way through till the wedding, and can I call you with my questions when ever I need answers?

                  6. Can you get good prices for myself and my guests at the resort and if prices drop after I have booked can you get price adjustments?

                   

                  Questions a TA should ask you: (and if they dont... buyer beware!)

                  1. In selecting a resort what is important to you... that it be large, small and boutique, near night life, on the best beach, quiet, great food, price?

                  2. Where do you envision your wedding... on the beach, a terrace, gazebo, beautiful gardens, in a chapel?

                  3. Will you be doing a symbolic ceremony or legal ceremony? (Greatly effects how long you must be on site prior to the wedding).

                  4. May I tell you the differences between booking a group block and booking yourself and guests individually? If you sign a contract rate you need to fully understand what your financial responsibilities may be.

                  5. May I tell you about the option of Cancellation/ Travel insurance, and exactly how much you stand to lose should you or a guest need to cancel once booked? Could be up to 100% cancellation penalty for late cancels!

                  6. How many guests are you anticipating?

                  7. Will there be children or all adults?

                  8. What is your budget?

                   

                  No travel agent should steer you right to a property or make a recommendation to you without asking all of the above. Additionally, any recommendation should be based solely on what is best for the individual client, not the agent's favorite, for whatever reason.

                  I am sure you all may think of more to add to the list... any thoughts?

                   


                  Looking for a travel agency that specializes in Destination Weddings? We are an award winning travel agency and you can read our reviews HERE.

                  Awards and recognition:

                  Palace Resorts Top PRO Agency
                  Karisma Hotels Diamond Level 5 (highest production), Top 10 Azul Weddings, Top Wedding Coordinator
                  AMResorts Master Agent & Top Agency
                  Travel Impressions Best of the Best Globe Winner
                  Apple Vacations Golden Apple Winner

                  #29 AshleyL

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                    Posted 04 September 2010 - 01:50 PM

                    Thanks for this list I think it's very helpful information. I likely would have chosen a different travel agent if I had investigated all of this beforehand. That being said - I think the biggest problem I had was lack of communication. Things weren't made clear on both our parts, but we seem to have things figured out for now. Thanks again for these tips! Il know what to ask the next time I am booking a vacation and probably save myself and my TA a lot of hassle in the long run :)

                    o

                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by TA Wendy 


                    Actually one more thing... AshleyL above makes a good point that there should be a list of questions to ask of a TA prior to hiring them. I think that is an excellent idea and I would add that there are also questions an agent should be asking you!



                    Here is my off the cuff list for both:



                    Questions you should ask your TA:



                    1. How long have you been in the business?



                    2. Do you specialize in groups and specifically Destination Wedding Groups?



                    3. Are you very familiar with the resorts available at my destination?



                    4. Have you visited yourself?



                    5. Will you be there from the start of this booking all the way through till the wedding, and can I call you withquestions when ever I need answers?



                    6. Can you get good prices for myself and my guests at the resort and if prices drop after I have booked can you get price adjustments?


                    g
                     



                    Questions a TA should ask you: (and if they dont... buyer beware!)



                    1. In selecting a resort what is important to you... that it be large, small and boutique, near night life, on the best beach, quiet, great food, price?



                    2. Where do you envision your wedding... on the beach, a terrace, gazebo, beautiful gardens, in a chapel?



                    3. Will you be doing a symbolic ceremony or legal ceremony? (Greatly effects how long you must be on site prior to the wedding).



                    4. May I tell you the differences between booking a group block and booking yourself and guests individually? If you sign a contract rate you need to fully understand what your financial responsibilities may be.



                    5. May I tell you about the option of Cancellation/ Travel insurance, and exactly how much you stand to lose should you or a guest need to cancel once booked? Could be up to 100% cancellation penalty for late cancels!



                    6. How many guests are you anticipating?



                    7. Will there be children or all adults?



                    8. What is your budget?



                     



                    No travel agent should steer you right to a property or make a recommendation to you without asking all of the above. Additionally, any recommendation should be based solely on what is best for the individual client, not the agent's favorite, for whatever reason.



                    I am sure you all may think of more to add to the list... any thoughts?



                     




                    Getting married in Runaway Bay, Jamaica February 2011!!!

                    #30 TA Patty

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                      Posted 05 September 2010 - 12:59 PM

                       

                      Very nicely stated Wendy. I totally agree as with any business dealings in life there are going to be the good, the bad and the ugly.  Thank you for posting the "What to Ask" questions. This is helpful in determining your working relationship with your TA from the very beginning. Mutual respect and good communication is the key in any relationship and I know all of the BDW TA's do their best to provide great service with the best value possible. I absolutely love what I do and my job is to help make the bride’s life as stress free as possible during the wedding planning process! TA Patty 

                       


                      Looking for a travel agency that specializes in Destination Weddings? We are an award winning travel agency and you can read our reviews HERE.

                      Awards and recognition:

                      Palace Resorts Top PRO Agency
                      Karisma Hotels Diamond Level 5 (highest production), Top 10 Azul Weddings, Top Wedding Coordinator
                      AMResorts Master Agent & Top Agency
                      Travel Impressions Best of the Best Globe Winner
                      Apple Vacations Golden Apple Winner5 (highest production), Top 10 Azul Weddings, Top Wedding Coordinator | AMResorts Master Agent & Top Agency | Travel Impressions Best of the Best Globe Winner | Apple Vacations Golden Apple Winner




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