Thursday, August 25, 2016

Can you suit Consumer Friends for YOUR ‘bad’ vacation advice ? What to learn & where to turn, before YOU buy YOUR vacation ?

Today’s age, we have the internet for vacation insight.  Filled with valuable vacation information for consumers.  However, not all insight received, is equal or quality !

Millions of dollars have been spent, to bring consumers valuable information.   Whether it be from  vacation vendors, agents in the field, experts in the field, or travel writers.  Providing insight, rules, and advice.

Experienced travelers take advantage of insight online. They like the pre-post planning of their destination.  There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with this !  Nor what internet sites you use, in gathering info.

What many new travelers don’t realize … Though these experienced travelers, use the internet, in helping them decide which vacation they want … They still are turning to a professional, when it is time to buy !

Why ?
(1)There are more rules with vacation vendors, than the consumer can, not only fathom, but decipher through !
(2)To NOT be self-responsible for having to ‘read’ or understand all the rules !
(3)For backing & support !  Over what ‘could’ happen, whether it be with the vendor or a personal situation.
(4)Cause in most cases, professional guidance, insight, and managing, incurs NO CHARGE.  These folks are taking advantage of … FREE !

The internet is a resource !  Folks who use the internet, for more than this, often find themselves in trouble.  If not this vacation, the next !

Why ?
Who reads the rules ?
Just this week, a girlfriend asked me … Can internet sites ‘take back’ their promised confirmation price to you, later ?  We were talking flights.
My response back, did you read the rules ?
She in turn, listened to me.  Did not buy from an internet provider & bought directly from the airline sight !  Good girl !  (smile)

When it comes to flights or hotels, consumers need to buy directly from the vendor.  When you have a beef, only direct connection, will allow you this fight ! 

Totally different than cruises & land tour vacations !  Travel Writers tell you, buy these packages from a travel expert, who has direct ‘high level’ PERSONAL connection with vacation vendors !

Today, what I’m finding more, ‘new consumers’ are turning to other consumers for their needed advice.
Where ?
(1)Facebook groups
(2)Vendor chat groups.  Personally, I can't believe these vendors don't have a professional employee monitoring & only one allowed to give advice.

Insight is one thing !  Asking opinion can also be valuable.  However, acting on such advice, is another !  At present, you can try & suit a consumer or friend for ‘bad vacation advice’, but so far, I’ve not seen it stand in court !

I’ve discovered, even my own customers, who have just bought their 1st cruise, or have returned from their 1st cruise, giving advice on these chat lines.  REALLY ?  One cruise makes you an expert ?

I had been on 12 cruises , when I decided to get into this business (join Cruises Inc).  I actually thought, with all this cruise experience, I had a big advantage, deciding to join the industry.  Oh yeah, I had some cruise experience, but what I didn’t know:
(1)Every cruise line has different rules
(2)Every cruise line handles groups different than just one cabin
(3)Rules are often different with groups
(4)There are many cruise lines offers at each cruise line.
(5)Taking a cruise is NOT the same as booking a cruise !  All the red tape !  Back-office expectations, etc !

WHAT A WHOLE NEW WORLD I HAD TO LEARN … And still learning, cause rules & offers change, every day (unlike when I handled loans in the banking business).

YOU CAN NOT ASSUME ANYTHING IN THE TRAVEL WORLD ! So if I am constantly contacting the cruise lines to refresh on their rules, why would the consumer think it’s so easy ?
(1)Internet hoopla for one !
(2)Listening to these consumer chat lines !

One of the most important questions, these ‘new vacationers’ aren’t asking these chat consumers  
(1)How many times have you cruised ?
(2)How many times have to vacation with this vendor ?
(3)How many wrong decisions have you made ?  How many times, could you have made better decisions ?

One of the biggest pieces of ‘bad advice’ I see on the chat lines ?
Consumers suggesting that vacationers buy direct at the vacation vendor.

Why do I see this as bad advice ?
(1)Travel Writers tell consumers, buy your vacation from a travel professional.  Are consumers reading the advice of Famous Industry Recognized Travel Writers ?  Do they even know, such exists ?
(2)Cruise Line employees come/go !  They can only provide you the info they can read on their computer.  Reading the info to consumers, does not mean they have company experience nor travel experience.
(3)We all know (apparently these chatters don't know), cruise lines give lower rates to Top Cruise-Only agencies.  Not even their past guest can call the cruise line & receive these lower rates/amenities !  Could it be, these chatters work for the cruise line, yet acting like a consumer ? 

What’s my summary on advice to vacationers ?
(1)Yes, use the internet as your resource.  Be prepared before calling your travel professional to buy
(2)Buy your vacation from a travel professional
(3)Be selective, what ‘consumer advice’ you listen to !  You could get this confused with the advice your travel professional gives you.  AND … What experience does this consumer really have ?  AND KNOW … You doubtfully will be able to suit them, if you take their wrong advice !

And advice to consumers chatters (advice givers) … Beware, that day is coming … Where other consumer will be able to suit YOU for wrong travel advice !
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Return for my next 'travel' article, Sept 14, 2016.