The latest tally of votes from a Travel Agent poll that asks if cruise rebating has gotten better or worse, or stayed the same, in 2009 indicate that most agents do not look favorably upon the practice. Meanwhile, comments posted by our readers have added color to the numbers. Some even compare cruise rebating to stealing and prostitution (they said it, not us). To keep you up to speed with what travel professionals have been saying on the topic, here are some of the more intriguing statements that have been shared thus far.
Before we dive in to the more provocative comments alluded to above, we must start with the most unique. Steve must be one of about 35 people who voted that rebating is either getting better or staying the same, as he's the only one so far to defend the practice, saying:
How can you compete with VTG and the like and not rebate? I don't care how much "customer service" and "relationship building" and "value add" you provide. Eventually, your clients will find these discounters and demand the same price from you.
As noted above, a handful of readers consider cruise rebating to be the practice of scum. Susan Pogue was the first so share a bold opinion, posting:
rebating is the same as stealing. If you are not that good of a sales person to talk your client into a great cruise and search for amenities or discounts, while letting the client know of the value you are providing, then you don't need to be selling. Leave it to the professionals that play fair.
Debbie B chimed in a little later and put cruise rebating in the same ballpark as what has been known as "the world's oldest profession," stating:
Rebating is a poor way of stealing clients. There are enough clients out there that we don't need to steal from each other. It is like prostituting themselves for a few dollars commission. In that case we would all make more money on a street corner. We have been in business for 25 1/2 years and do not rebate. We offer quality service.
While expressing their disapproval of rebating, some readers are heavily lauding certain suppliers and consortia when doing their business. Susan Knudsen, for instance, prefers one cruise line, saying:
Rebating is a bad agency's way of stealing business from quality agents. I've lost business because of it. My hat is off to Regent Seven Seas who has a policy against it!!!
Meanwhile, two other readers don't worry about rebating because of the security found through their choice of consortium. LINDA HERRON wrote quite LOUDLY when sharing her endorsement, writing:
WITH THE INTERNET NOWDAYS, PEOPLE SHOP TONS OF SITES AND WANT YOU TO PLAY "LET'S MAKE A DEAL". WE NEVER REBATE - HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS 20 YEARS AND STILL GOING STRONG WITH 1200 PEOPLE ON OUR ANNUAL SUPERBOWL CRUISE. THE SHOPPERS ARE NOT WORTH MY TIME - I TELL THEM "THIS IS THE LOWEST PRICE I FOUND". IF THEY WANT TO HAGGLE FOR A LOWER PRICE THEY CAN GO AND BOOK IT THEMSELVES!!! WE BELONG TO VACATION.COM AND GET GREAT RATES, WE DO NOT REBATE!!!
Azzouz Amirouche, on the other hand, was not as emphatic about cruise rebating and consortium, but shared a sentiment similar to Linda's, commenting:
We only do it when we have to match a price. Most of the time we have the best price and amenities anyway thanks to our wonderful consortium, Signature travel network!
As much as a preferred supplier or consortium makes it wortwhile for some agents, one apparently has all she needs when it comes to selling cruises. Angela Bryan will never rebate, as she says:
We absolutly Never, Never, Never rebate. Actually we add a service fee on every booking. My expertise is worth its weight in GOLD!
Travel Agent shared Angela's comment on our Facebook page, and it struck a chord with agent and 2008 30under30 winner Sarah Gladstone, who responded to Angela on our page by saying:
You go, girl! I love it. We are worth our knowledge, professional training and experience.
We know there's plenty more to be said on the subject, and we want to hear from you. Join the discussion on AgentNation, post a comment below, vote and respond to comments posted on the poll, send us a tweet on our Twitter page, and write us (as well as respond to Sarah) on our Facebook page.