February 22, 2008, Newsletter Issue #31: (46) Choosing a Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist

Tip of the Week

Whether you choose an online cruise specialist or a local travel agent, it is important to choose a travel agent who understands your travel style and is interested in establishing a long-term relationship with you…not just making a quick sale. Unfortunately you are just a booking number with some online cruise agencies. You may not have a designated cruise travel agent. You must speak with agents on “duty” at the time of your calls rather than establishing a relationship with one cruise specialist.

The way the agency answers the telephone and responds to your initial cruise inquiries gives you a good idea how they approach customer service. Asking some basic questions can help narrow your choices:

What professional cruise training do you/your agents have? Are you a member of American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) or Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)? What cruise research and booking services do you provide and what services do you charge for?Do you have a toll-free 24-hour telephone number for assistance in the event of problems or last minute needs?What do you offer that other cruise agencies don’t offer? If a travel agent does not welcome your inquiries and is not interested in spending the time to learn about your cruise preferences and concerns, find another agent who is.

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Jerry Mayo