Why Use a Travel Concierge? – Part 5 – It’s All in the Details [Article/Video]

Good vs Bad | Helen Brahms | Have2Travel | Cruise Planners

When it comes to booking cruises some people like to book direct with the cruise line, some through online booking websites and some through a Travel Concierge . Does it matter who you book through? Well let’s look at each option and then you can decide for yourself.

OPTION 1 – BOOKING DIRECTLY WITH THE CRUISE LINE

  • People do this because they think they can get a better deal booking directly than through a Travel Concierge – On the most part that is FALSE! Nine times out of 10 a Travel Concierge can get you a better deal than booking direct with the cruise lines. Cruise lines know that a Travel Concierge is their best representative and they do what they can to assist the Travel Concierge to sell cruises. They will give the Travel Concierges the better rates and added amenities (i.e. onboard ship credit, a welcome fruit platter and/or bottle of wine, dinner for two in a specialty restaurant, etc.)
  • People think in addition to the cruise fare they also have to pay the Travel Concierge . In some cases this is true. BUT and this is a big BUT…a Travel Concierge will either charge you a service fee to do the research for you that is applied to the final payment of your cruise if you book through them; OR they will not charge you a fee at all. If a Travel Concierge charges a fee ask them if it is applied to your booking, if not find another Travel Concierge . The Travel Concierge are paid commissions by the cruise line NOT by the client.

OPTION 2 – BOOKING THROUGH AN ONLINE BOOKING SITE

  • People go this route because they think they can get a really good deal. In some cases this is true and again we have a really big BUT…some of the online booking sites have hidden fees that you don’t know about by looking at the deal. A Travel Concierge will tell you the FULL price up front and include the port fees and taxes and in some cases the gratuities. When you look at ANY advertised price for cruises they only show the base cruise fare for the lowest category for a stateroom type. Unless otherwise stated that price is typically for an inside cabin and in most cases that cabin and price is not available when you come to book. Most cruise lines have a rule that you cannot advertise a lower price than what the cruise line advertises. In some rare cases you will find package deals that include the port fees and taxes. You still have to add the port fees, taxes and in some cases a service fee. You don’t find out about these until you are well into the booking process. ALWAYS read the fine print as this is where you will find what the cabin type is and if port fees and taxes are included in the price AND if there are any additional fees.
  • People also think it is quicker to book it themselves than through a Travel Concierge. FALSE! Most of the time when booking through an online booking site you don’t get to select what stateroom you want. You get to choose the type of stateroom (Inside, Ocean View, Balcony or Suite) but you don’t get to select the specific stateroom and its location. You just get the luck of the draw. A good Travel Concierge knows how to navigate the cruise booking quickly. They also have access to what rooms are available and where on the ship they are located. They assist you in selecting the right stateroom for you and can ensure that you your stateroom is not over or under the kitchens, nightclubs, lounges etc., ensuring that you are not disturbed by loud music or kitchen noises.

OPTION 3 – BOOKING THROUGH A TRAVEL CONCIERGE

  • People who book through a Travel Concierge will save themselves time and money. A Travel Concierge is more concerned about the welfare of their client than they are about how much commission they make. A Travel Concierge will develop a relationship with the client and find them the best cruise ship to fit their wants, needs, budget and most importantly their personality. If you are on a ship that does not match your personality you are not going to have a great time. When you call the cruise line direct how do you know that that cruise line is the best fit for you? A Travel Concierge knows the cruise business and knows the cruise lines and their ships.
  • People who book through a Travel Concierge have a single point of contact. If you have a question you ask your Travel Concierge and they get the answers for you. If you call the cruise line directly you will get a different person each time and each person may tell you something different. With some online booking sites good luck trying to get hold of a live person.
  • People who book through a Travel Concierge have an advocate. If there are any problems with their booking or while traveling they call their Travel Concierge; who will then own the problem and work to find a resolution.
  • People who book through a Travel Concierge are getting an expert. A Travel Concierge is constantly in training. They are always looking for ways to improve their knowledge about the industry to better serve you. But more about that in another blog.
  • A Travel Concierge will keep an eye on the price for your cruise. If the price drops and final payment has not been made the Travel Concierge will either request a price drop from the cruise line to match, OR if the price drop is significant may be able to get you an upgrade.

Now that you have seen the differences in how you can book a cruise. Which option do you think is best? Will it change how you book your next cruise? If you would like assistance in booking your next cruise please go to ConnectWithHelen.com and select the best day and time for your FREE 1-hour no obligation consultation.

About Helen Brahms

World globetrotter, Helen Brahms, is your Luxury Travel Concierge. She specializes in creating unique once-in-a-lifetime travel memories and charity fundraising trips. Whether your travel dreams include exotic locations or time with your family, you can have it all. Helen loves to help people cross destinations off their travel bucket list before they take a dirt nap! Helen is the host of the Have2Travel Radio Show (www.Have2TravelRadio.com) and is the author of the book "Congratulations, You're Going On a Cruise! Now What?" and the co-author of the book "Passionistas Talk!: The Best of the Passion Point Interviews (Vol. 1)"
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