Booking Direct vs. Discount Agent
I need some advice -
- Sept. 23 I got quotes for Silver Cloud, 21-night Ushuaia to Capetown cruise from SS and a discount agent (DA).
- The DA's quote was $377 less than SS, plus included $500 OBC.
- I told SS the DA's quote and asked about three transfers and a night at the Sheraton San Cristobal Tower in Santiago listed on the Voyage Confirmation. It was only then I discovered three transfers, an overnight hotel and a charter flight from Santiago to Ushuaia were included. SS said they would also give me $500 OBC (first mention of it).
- I emailed the DA to ask if his quote included the transfers, hotel and flight. He did not reply.
- Sept. 28 I emailed the DA with the questions again, and received a message he would reply "within the next full workday". Then, nothing.
- Sept. 30 I booked with SS.
- Oct. 9 I notice a 'better' room (same Cat.) had become available and SS changes my booking...no problem (the SS agent has been very responsive to all my questions from the start).
- Oct. 14 I get an email from the DA
Dear Bill B,
Is there any additional information that I can provide to you now to assist you in making your vacation decision?Are you pleased with what has been provided to you, and are you ready to go forward?Let me know the status of your decision at the moment, so that I can be sure that you have the best pricing for any trip that you have under consideration.Let me hear from you soon.
Thanks very much. We wish to make your planning easy and your price to be the best.I wrote back giving him the particulars and dates of emails sent... and stated he had NOT answered my two questions. I told him I had booked direct with Silversea. Because of our time zone differences (I'm in China), it's too early to expect a reply from him yet... maybe in a few hours.
1. Is it true, If you book direct with SS, you have only 30 days to transfer a booking to another agent?
2. Are SS agents working on a salary or commission; or, a combination of the two?
3. If a booking is transfered to another agent is it a 'black mark' against the SS agent?
4. If the DA replies with a good excuse for not having replied to my questions, and assuming the transfers, hotel and charter flight are included in the quote, would you transfer the booking?
- Part of me says 'Don't be stupid, stay with SS... the DA doesn't respond to emails'. I do feel some loyalty to the SS rep./agent - he's been very good and has spent a fair bit of time on me.
- Another part of me says 'Don't be stupid, $377 isn't exactly peanuts... make the switch'.
Of course, if the the DA doesn't reply (again) the booking stays with SS.