The process seems simple enough when buying a cruise. Decide when and where we want to sail then call or click our way to travel happiness. Some travelers handle the booking process themselves from dreaming to doing with little help, especially when visiting a part of the world they have been to before. Others use a personal travel agent to make and maintain a cruise booking. Those savvy travelers are banking on the agent’s expertise being a helpful part of the deal both upfront and throughout the life of the reservation. That brings good reason to think about what we say to travel agents which can be quite a bit different than what they hear.
Motivated to make cruising dreams come true, if for no other reason than to secure our future cruise booking business, that agent considers our personal needs, budget and schedule. Still, the very best travel agent is only as good as the information they have to work with going into the process.
“I think I might want to go on a cruise. Whatcha got?”
This question comes from one of two people: Someone you live with that knows everything about you OR someone who has never been on a cruise before. Assuming the later of the two, a travel agent is likely to react predictably to someone calling in randomly for that information.
That agent will ask a series of questions aimed at discovering one of two likely outcomes:
- Identifying the caller as an inappropriate fit for what they do OR
- Piquing the agent’s interest at the thought of guiding someone new to cruising which supports a mission of building a long term business relationship with a travel professional.
Obviously, it’s the later of the two directions that we want, although knowing what sort of cruise travel an agent or agency specializes or avoids is important too. Ask an agent who focuses on long sailings for information on a 3-night cruise and they might have less interest in booking it. This is just not what they do. Know this though: There is an agent that specializes in all sorts of cruises. You just need to find them.
Before asking “I think I might want to go on a cruise. Whatcha got?” which totally nails you as a cruise rookie, do some homework. Not much, just enough to have a general overview of what is being offered and general pricing.
The reason to care is simple: our investment of time will be rewarded with a productive conversation with a travel professional. That relationship can add up to big $ savings up front at the time of booking and down the line if a better offer comes up later. Perhaps more importantly, the quality of our travel experience can be far higher when we communicate effectively with that agent.
Chris Owen shares frank, inside information about cruise vacations on ChrisCruises.com