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Kirk Cassels' Weekly Wrap of User Comments August 17-21

August 21, 2009 By: Kirk Cassels

President Obama recently said that everyone in Washington gets all "wee weed up" come late August through early September. The same can be said for the readers and users of They are not getting excited about health care, thank goodness, but plenty of travel related topics instead. So, here we go...

Catching Up Via The Weekly Wrap

In last week's wrap up, I cited a comment by Carol, who was seeking feedback from John Frenaye on the ongoing debacle about multilevel marketing companies and certain controversial companies discussed on this site (such as JoyStar and YTB). For those that didn't read last week (shame on you first of all), here is Carol's query again:
For john Frenaye: you stated you knew many host agencys that charge no fee to join and no website fee with a 80% split. Could you please email me a list. I am all over that one.

Fortunately, John responded right away on the wrap up, posting:
Tell her to look at Nexion, Outside Agents, GTM, TPI, essentially any host. They all have various programs from no fee (larger split to host) to minimal fee with greater split to the agent.

Carol, I hope that helps, not only because it helps you but because it also demonstrates the ability for agents and readers to connect here at

Get With The Times

Another popular topic discussed in last week's wrap up was the ongoing competition between human travel agents and online travel agencies (OTA). After sharing Lisa Sweet's request that we do not imply that OTAs and real travel agents are similar, a reader named Boen commented on the same report that OTAs are reporting an increase in leisure travel demand, saying:

Yes, they are travel agencies. I don't work for them but I can tell ALL people out there, these are travel agencies. More are coming on line.
We are living on the 21st century and soon will be 22nd, It is Called a "Paradigm Shift". If they are not the real TA, what about this, All the Fast Food outlets we know are not the the Real restaurant, but they are serving foods. We like it or not, we buy the food there. Do we drive cars? Why no body complaints about it. Just riding horses instead. Want to go to The Bahamas? Take a wooden schooner and row it to the Bahamas. Why people taking cruise ships then? These are all about the change in the business and it always for the better.
So, let's face it and accept the reality that more online travel agecies are coming. Like it or not we have no choice. Live with it. Can't beat them, join them!! Why fighting against the stream?

As I've said before, I'm not a travel professional and therefore do not have a strong opinion on the matter. I understand Lisa's statement in that real agents want to establish themselves as the better option in that they can provide better service and a more natural connection with the consumers.

However, Boen has a point. When I graduated college and made my way through graduate school for journalism, it was a little disconcerting to see the print industry continue to die off as bloggers in their pajamas began staking a claim online with their own analysis and stories. But here I am today working in a similar fashion to those bloggers I once considered unprofessional or a threat. The world's changing, my industry's changing, and so is the travel industry. I believe we can all adapt will maintaining our own values and identity.

Sunny Skies Ahead

While Joe Pike was in Cancun last week, he met with the general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, who said that "the worst is over" for the region's economic and tourism troubles. Considering the trouble Mexico has had, from gang violence the H1N1/swine flu scare, that is indeed good news for many, including those who shared their excitement with comments on Joe's report.

Nanci Benefiel said:
Great for Cancun. All resort towns in Mexico have suffered from this "perfect storm" but glad to hear things are picking up. Seem to be picking up a bit for Cabo San Lucas as well.

Michael Hennes shared:
It's been a long time since we have sent clients from California to Cancun. Business is the worst I have ever seen. I hope that 2010 will be a better year as ... it's the worst since 9/11 (I didn't know websites could talk!) commented:
Thats GREAT NEWS! Congratulations! We are doing our part to help promote Cancun & create positive awareness through our web portal ; feel free to check it out, and if you'd like to talk about social media marketing & campaigns for the Ritz Cancun, drop us a line! Cheers from Cancun!

As the colder months in North America await on the horizon, hopefully the warm tourism destinations in Mexico will begin seeing an uptick in travel to the area. Also, hopefully travel professionals will make their clients happy, because it seems that one traveler, named Juan Alfaro, is none to pleased with his agency, saying:
"BEST DAY" I make a reservation at this agency and its bills department is the worst. They don't give you the bill when they say (they say that maximum 48 hours you have your bill and thats not true). I waiting for my bills more than 8 days.

Has anyone else out there worked with Best Day the travel agency? If so, Juan could see some help. If not, well, perhaps there's a potential client out there waiting for you to provide the service he's seeking.


A few weeks ago, Mike Browne posted a poll on Home-Based Travel Agent asking if home-based agents feel they should charge service fees. Needless to say, in this tough economic climate, many feel they should indeed get some extra money for their work. Reader Bernadine Torres
explained why when commenting on the poll's results, saying:
Yes, what about all the ink, paper, pens, postage samps, envelopes, sometime FedX overnite--it costs to buy supplies-Service fees are charge for eveything now- so Why Not!

I think Bernadine makes a solid point, don't you?

Does something seem light or missing this week? Maybe that's because I'm not sharing any comments on YTB. There were a few comments shared this week but I think everyone gets the point by now: many are against YTB and many are for it. If anything, I hope this week's wrap up of comments proves that there is way more to discuss here at than YTB. It's been great reading your feedback on Mexico, OTAs, service fees, and other matters, as I feel these discussions are more valuable to agents and readers than bickering over a single company. So please come back and come often. And don't forget, you can alway discuss a plethora of topics at AgentNation, the only social community online for all types of travel agents. Sign up or log in today!

Have a great weekend my friends.

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