Jump to content
Royal Caribbean Blog

Ok to ask about on board credit up front?


Recommended Posts

Do you think its ok to ask about on-board credit with a TA? Meaning is it OK to ask if there will be any on board credit given for booking with them? I always feel awkward about that situation so sometimes I ask after we book or not at all. How do you handle that kinda situation? Should the TA tell you this information without having to be asked? Just some curious questions I've never asked about. Thanks for any insight on this.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No harm in asking, but it's fairly normal for the answer to be no.

I used to think the benefit of a TA was to get bonus OBC, but it doesn't usually happen. The value of a good TA is in the service they provide and how much time they save you.

So sure, go ahead and ask if there are any extra booking benefits or agency specials going on, but you shouldn't be surprised to hear the answer is no.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Matt said:

No harm in asking, but it's fairly normal for the answer to be no.

I used to think the benefit of a TA was to get bonus OBC, but it doesn't usually happen. The value of a good TA is in the service they provide and how much time they save you.

So sure, go ahead and ask if there are any extra booking benefits or agency specials going on, but you shouldn't be surprised to hear the answer is no.

Thanks Matt, exactly what I was thinking, but then I read about people posting they got insane OBC for booking with this one or that one and I'm like what the heck am I doing wrong? Our last cruise on Anthem we actually 150 OBC from Royal Caribbean which surprised us. Then when we boarded the ship we had a note in the room from our TA which was a HUGE online TA and they gave us 50 OBC. That surprised me even more. I mean in the end it is what it is.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since I'm winding down my franchise, I find it easier to talk about these specific issues. OBC can be delicate from our perspective too, like informing a guest as to how much OBC to expect and why. I do have customers who get multiple amounts and I think it's important to let them know where everything came from, especially since some are reflected prior to sailing and others are provided once onboard (usually by end of Day 2).

 

So having said that, I don't see any harm in asking if there are any "perks" to booking with  X, Y or Z up front.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is interesting.

I have used the same TA for multiple years (found her when i first got interested in cruising and always seemed to get a good deal with her so i stuck with her). I never had to ask about OBC she always gave it to me on every booking.

She retired/left the agency a couple of years ago and i didnt care for the person the agency passed me to replace her, nothing really wrong we just dont hit it off as well.

Went looking at other agencies to see if i could find a better fit (including MEI) and in all cases received quotes that were the same $ since RCI doesnt let the TA discount the cruise but none of them offered me any OBC. I pushed a couple of them, to the point where i felt i was being rude but it neither of them offered anything.

Went back to the original TA and sent a "thank you for your time but i get a better deal with another TA" email to the new ones. At which point i got "oh well i would have given you that OBC but its at my discretion and i wasnt going to tell you until you booked".

I'm back with my TA reluctantly since we dont have the same "mind meld" but for ~8% OBC back on every cruise I dont see how i dont use them.

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, StephanieH said:

There is no harm in asking upfront what the OBC will be.  I personally put it in all my quotes.  It does vary based on ship, sail date, category, etc.  Since the OBC's are coming from me directly and not from my agency, I try to take all factors into account.  

So ... @StephanieH ... about my booking ... I wanted to ask you ... about ... uhmm... 

Just playing!  You're an awesome TA!

Link to post
Share on other sites

@StephanieH is also my TA and I'll admit I've asked up front what TA issued OBC I'd receive.

After what I put her through a week or so ago adding a third to an existing reservation. I'll admit having a good TA is well worth it. Would a "big box" TA made the same effort, who knows.

Now, it is really a passing thought. Anything I get is a bonus to the service provided.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/12/2019 at 10:50 AM, RCIfan1912 said:

Thanks Matt, exactly what I was thinking, but then I read about people posting they got insane OBC for booking with this one or that one and I'm like what the heck am I doing wrong? Our last cruise on Anthem we actually 150 OBC from Royal Caribbean which surprised us. Then when we boarded the ship we had a note in the room from our TA which was a HUGE online TA and they gave us 50 OBC. That surprised me even more. I mean in the end it is what it is.

One of the gray areas of travel agencies is a practice known as "rebating", where the agency uses part of the money they receive as commission for the booking to give back to the client. This is a banned practice by Royal Caribbean, but it happens a lot with certain big sites/agencies to draw a large volume of bookings.

I love money as much as the next guy, but the issue is the lack of service that typically goes with it and/or change fees.  Classic example is the warehouse clubs that offer cruises.

So yes, you're not hearing incorrectly, but I think you have to look at the big picture when it comes to managing your reservation.

As usual, full disclosure: this site is sponsored by a travel agency so I have "skin in the game".

Link to post
Share on other sites

A typical inquiry to my TA includes ... "Are there any perks that go along with this cruise?"  Sometimes there are, sometimes not.

I often book less expensive cruises, off peak, "going, going, gone" rates, etc.  Royal doesn't have as much margin to provide things like OBC on bargain fares.  

When booking suites (~30% off my cruises) there is a greater chance of something.  Balcony cabins have a greater chance of something.  Some itineraries or destinations like Alaska come with a greater opportunity for something.  

Often though when shopping bargain rates there is little or no OBC involved.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/12/2019 at 10:34 AM, RCIfan1912 said:

Do you think its ok to ask about on-board credit with a TA? Meaning is it OK to ask if there will be any on board credit given for booking with them? I always feel awkward about that situation so sometimes I ask after we book or not at all. How do you handle that kinda situation? Should the TA tell you this information without having to be asked? Just some curious questions I've never asked about. Thanks for any insight on this.

I actually think you should interview your Travel Agent - with this being one of the questions.  Its nice for you to know what the agent can help you with and it is also good for the Travel Planner to know what you are looking for as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Matt said:

One of the gray areas of travel agencies is a practice known as "rebating", where the agency uses part of the money they receive as commission for the booking to give back to the client. This is a banned practice by Royal Caribbean, but it happens a lot with certain big sites/agencies to draw a large volume of bookings.

I love money as much as the next guy, but the issue is the lack of service that typically goes with it and/or change fees.  Classic example is the warehouse clubs that offer cruises.

So yes, you're not hearing incorrectly, but I think you have to look at the big picture when it comes to managing your reservation.

As usual, full disclosure: this site is sponsored by a travel agency so I have "skin in the game".

Coudlnt have said this better myself. - Be careful with any agent or agency that wants to work for FREE.  Not sure what service you will get if they are not making any money.  Also,  would like to add that I know a lot of people shop around for the OBC and extras, but the easiest way to book a trip is with a Travel Planner that knows what you like and this comes with working with them on a few trips.  

Trust me - it took a few trips with @Matt to figure him out!  Still working on it! HAHA

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Matt said:

Classic example is the warehouse clubs that offer cruises.

Sams Club got out of the travel business completely.

Costco has never had any Agency Change fees or fees of any sort.  They tell you up front how much money you will get back (Used to be On Board Credit now its a Costco Cash Card).  If you know Cruising well enough and you pay attention to price changes they work out great.  I had to switch a cruise to a different week due to a school schedule change and Costco used its size to work with Royal to waive the NRD deposit fee of 100.00 per person. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/12/2019 at 10:50 AM, RCIfan1912 said:

Thanks Matt, exactly what I was thinking, but then I read about people posting they got insane OBC for booking with this one or that one and I'm like what the heck am I doing wrong? Our last cruise on Anthem we actually 150 OBC from Royal Caribbean which surprised us. Then when we boarded the ship we had a note in the room from our TA which was a HUGE online TA and they gave us 50 OBC. That surprised me even more. I mean in the end it is what it is.

May I ask who your TA is?  Thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, marti314 said:

I am not sure rebating is banned, they have a whole published public facing document describing what they allow TA's to do as it relates to rebating:

http://www.creative.rccl.com/Sales/Celebrity/General_Info/Flyers/10018842_Rebate_Guidelines.pdf

My understanding is that Royal forbids you from advertising a lower price for the cruise itself but has no issue with the TA rebating back OBC/Specialty Dinners/Etc.

That was the confusing thing for me when i first started was the assumption that all TA's had a similar OBC policy and the ones that werent offering it to me "up front" were not as good of a deal.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, jticarruthers said:

My understanding is that Royal forbids you from advertising a lower price for the cruise itself but has no issue with the TA rebating back OBC/Specialty Dinners/Etc.

That was the confusing thing for me when i first started was the assumption that all TA's had a similar OBC policy and the ones that werent offering it to me "up front" were not as good of a deal.

It can be hard to follow because Travel Agents can hold group space with reduced rates and offerings, sometimes we have group space that comes with extra perks like a Shore excursion or party included, then there are the Dining and Gratuity offers that not all agencies have access to.  I know everyone wants to feel they are getting the best deal for their cruise, but sometimes its about finding the planner that can take the worry away from your trip that offers you a thank you for doing business with them, checks your prices for discounts.  I've been doing this a long time (Dont want to give my age away) but its always getting to know the clients needs and wants to hopefully build a relationship of trust between you and the agent.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, MicroBeta said:

I have OBC from the RC credit card.  Will be able to use that prior to our sailing next year?  It's been about a week since we redeemed our points and we haven't seen anything in our planner.

Hey Mike,

This is not same question/issue the OP had.  If your OBC shows up in the Cruise Planner check-out you can certainly choose to use.  There is a an option for you to do so.  But I have had many OBCs which don't show up until I board the ship.  If this happens to you then you will have to pay for your planner purchases now and wait for your OBC once you are on the ship.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, MicroBeta said:

I have OBC from the RC credit card.  Will be able to use that prior to our sailing next year?  It's been about a week since we redeemed our points and we haven't seen anything in our planner.

 

Mike

It should be available for pre-purchasing stuff but it doesn't show sometimes until closer to the sailing.  If you have a TA you can have them check on it for you and they can usually get it applied earlier.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have Amex Platinum and you book thru an independent travel agent that’s affiliated with them, on 5 day plus cruises they can get you between $100 and $300 OBC from AMEX depending on your room category.  You don’t even have to book thru AMEX, your TA just has to have an affiliation with them to be able to add the OBC from AMEX to your cruise planner account.  We have 8 cruises booked over the next 18 months in suites and have a $300 OBC in our cruise planner for every single one of them from AMEX ........  it way more than covers the yearly AMEX Platinum fee.

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, YOLO said:

Hey Mike,

This is not same question/issue the OP had.  If your OBC shows up in the Cruise Planner check-out you can certainly choose to use.  There is a an option for you to do so.  But I have had many OBCs which don't show up until I board the ship.  If this happens to you then you will have to pay for your planner purchases now and wait for your OBC once you are on the ship.

 

6 hours ago, AshleyDillo said:

It should be available for pre-purchasing stuff but it doesn't show sometimes until closer to the sailing.  If you have a TA you can have them check on it for you and they can usually get it applied earlier.

Thanks for the relies.  And, more to the topic at hand, asking about OBC should never be a problem for a TA to answer.  Either they offer it or they don't but they certainly know there plenty of TAs that do and if they're any good at their job the response will be polite and professional. 

I read the link posted up thread so there are limitations.  But, it's certainly clear any TA can offer OBC so shopping around and inquiring should never be a problem.  It was one of the criteria we had in booking our up coming cruise.

Mike

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...