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The Weekly Wrap: User Comments & Discussion, May 10-15May 15, 2009 By: Travel Agent Central Contributor
Although the latest developments in legal action against YTB instigated the most discussion amongst our readers this week, there were plenty of other topics on which our readers commented. But let's start with the hottest one over all.
YTB Settles Lawsuit
After the company settled its lawsuit with the California Attorney General, it was schadenfreude from some agents, especially Sharon Emerson:
This is good news for those of us out here who are legitimate. Those people had other jobs and were not interested in being a travel professional. I was told by them they didn't care what happened to the travel booking that was made online. Unlike those of us who stay up at night to make sure our clients have a seamless trip.
Meanwhile, it appears that, Marian, a potential victim of the YTB hubub, has turned to the readers and experts at TravelAgentCentral for some advice:
I recently paid someone $499.95 to be a RTA with YTB. Is there a class action lawsuit that I can join to recoup my money?
Any good Samaritans out there willing to reach out?
YTB Reports Loss
Before news of YTB's settlement with the State of California broke, George Dooley wrote about the company's SEC filings which stated the company experienced a $1.9 million loss for the first quarter of 2009. One reader, Theresa, was not too pleased, and even spoke out directly against Dooley, as well as against John Frenaye, who has covered YTB's financial filings as well. She said:
This article is such a FARCE. George Dooley is in deep with John Frenaye and is a well known YTB hater. Both have been known to lie and put a biased spin on everything they write.
YTB is a good company that is going through the recession just like everyone else.
After taking a read for himself, Frenaye came to our message boards and responded to Theresa's comments, saying:
Do you care to show where George or I have lied? This article, while maybe not to your liking, is based on the statements made by YTB in their SEC filing.
I am curious, please show me the lies by George and me over on my blog http://notravelmlms.blogspot.com
It is funny, a year ago, George Dooley was the Patron Saint of YTB because he was so fair and balanced and interviewed Doug Bauknight. But now you don't like the message and the game's over? Typical!
Booking Trends As H1N1 Flu Abates
Another popular news topic these days, the H1N1 virus (also called swine flu), sparked some feedback from one reader after voting in our poll, which asked if bookings to Mexico have since picked up. Needless to say, Diane M is highly disappointed in some tour operators:
The problem we're still experiencing is the aftermath of future cancelled flights. Passengers that were on chartered flights returning home at 6:30pm are now being changed to return flights home at 10:30am and are very upset. Tour operators are doing NOTHING to compensate the passengers that are literally losing the entire last day of their vacation. But we are being told that if the clients would like to cancel, they have that option?!?! - What's wrong with this picture. Instead of the vendor offering the clients some type of small resort credit in a good fate measure, they are basically telling them "if you don't like it, just cancel"! I'm very disappointd with some of the tour operators right now! We are bending over backwars to keep people traveling and getting NO help from the vendors for those passengers that still want to travel but who's vacation plans are being screwed up as well.
Before PhoCusWright's travel survey revealed that Generation Y should be the target market for travel agents, we borrowed a story from our friends at HotelWorldNetwork which discussed the need for new training tactics when dealing with the Millenials. Reader Bozhidar Bachvarov not only concurred with the message, but picked on Generation Y a bit more:
This generation plays Guitar-Hero but not the real guitar, forgot how to read a book but instead reads the cliff notes only, and talks constantly on the phone but forgot how to talk properly to each other and the other generations as well. The Millenials have grown to the perception that everything is due to them as a result.
Twitter Tweets On Agents, Suppliers
Ruthanne Terrero has been keeping a sharp eye on what the Twitterati have to say about travel agents and travel suppliers. It appears one travel professional feels a bit left out. John Peters, of Tripology, reminded us about his company's knowledge of the industry:
How could you miss Tripology (@tripology) on twitter? We ALWAYS tell consumers to book with a travel agent - ALWAYS! Both consumers and our Tripologists follow us and you should too. This way, you'll see all the pro-travel agent activity for yourself.
Sorry John, we'll keep a sharp eye on your content next time. Don't forget to check us out on Twitter at twitter.com/TravelAgentMag.
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