If you're a fan of our Facebook page, then you may have noticed an interesting situation taking place there on Friday, August 27 of last week. As we always do with our destination-specific newsletters, we shared a link to our most recent Las Vegas newsletter at our Facebook page and received an interesting comment about it. Well, the comment wasn't so much about the newsletter, but more about a particular supplier in the city: Tropicana Las Vegas. Here's how it went down.
Diane McIntye Mason posted the following at our Facebook page:
Well, I spent 3 months talking 6 ladies (3 rooms) into going to Vegas for 3 nights prior to their UTAH Spa week and then after convincing them it would be a great pre-spa add on, we started checking rates at all the hotels. They asked me a...bout the TROPICANA and I quoted the rates as posted in the GDS, CCRA and as well as what was posted on Tropicana's own website. The client decided to register on Tropicana's website to learn about all promotions and instantly received a e-mail reply from them stating that if they book directly on Tropicana's Website OR call Tropicana directly to book their stay and mention a promo code they would save 30%. The client forwarded the e-mail to me and of course I called the number at Tropicana about this and asked "does this cut the Travel Agents out of the picture then so that we don't earn any commission?" and the agent said "YES!" SO I personally advise all Travel Agents to BAN together and Bocott booking or recommending the Tropicana to your clients as the STEAL bookings from the Travel Agents! SHAME ON THEM!
To add some validty to her argument, Diane shared a story in which a similar incident apparently took place, writing:
A well known travel writer reported this incident (or so I was told) to the LVCVB .... if actions like what the Tropicana did are allowed to happen, I will cut off selling Vegas completely! I can easily sell cruises & all-inclusives and ma...ke much more money! I have received promo offers in the past (as a past guest) from both the Mandalay Bay and the Venetian and have called both as an agent and would have been able to sell the offer as an agent and receive commission. Don't know if that's the case with all the promo's that these 2 hotels always send out - let's hope it is! The hotels in Vegas need to understand that if you BITE the hand that feeds you, then we will stop feeding you!
Needless to say, this set off a miniature firestorm from agents who were ready to stand behind their peer and boycott the property along with her. Although Travel Agent's initial concerns remain the interests and well-being of our readers, we were not about to cover this story without speaking with representatives from Tropicana Las Vegas or its public relations firm, Ruder Finn.
So we contacted them, sharing a screenshot of the ongoing conversation among Diane and other agents, and asked for a response. Ruder Finn sent us a response from Donna Marcou, vice president of leisure sales, which read:
Tropicana Las Vegas has always supported travel agents and continues to reach out to them with the latest news, offerings, and packages that are commissionable. Due to a miscommunication, one of our call representatives wrongly stated that the specific package on the website was not commissionable, when in fact it was. Once it was brought to our attention, we immediately reached out and offered the commission that was due to the agent for recommending her clients to experience the new Tropicana Las Vegas. We also welcome and encourage the agent to experience the transformation that is happening at the Hotel
On Tropicana Las Vegas' behalf, Ruder Finn added:
Tropicana Las Vegas does make every effort to reach out to travel agents and know that they are an important part of the travel experience. Not only do they have a dedicated phone number for agents to call, agents are also added to the hotel’s personal press release distribution list (those who opted in), on a monthly basis agents in the program also receive an eblast with the latest updates and special offers. For the most part, ALL packages promoted on the website are commissionable to travel agents.
So we came in Monday morning all excited to share the update and see what agents, Diane, in particular, had to say. But it looks like Tropicana contacted the agent before we could post this story, as Diane shared:
Let me update what has happened---- Travel Agent Magazine must have forwarded a copy of this blog to the media reps of the Tropicana because this issue was a huge discussion by the GM's of the hotel this morning. They were not happy to hear about the experience that occurred with me & my clients and especially the fact that I did call and spoke with their in house resv agent and was advised we were cut out of the picture. There's a GREAT VP of Leisure Sales onboard at the Tropicana that is very PRO travel agent and she said that she is there to work with us and build a great agent relationship with the hotel...if anyone out there runs into any challenges with this property and can't resolve them the normal way, I strongly suggest you contact Ms. Marcou and let her know of any conficts your having as she really wants to build a strong relationship with us.--- of course be professional and don't waste the woman's time with the things that other people can handle. Tropicana is working things out with me and I thought it only right to fill you all in and let you know how quickly they jumped in to let me know that what happened was not their standard operating procedure. Thank You TA Magazine for stepping in as well and forward the blog to the appropriate people as well!
We're thrilled to see that Tropicana contacted Diane to address this situation. It was our pleasure to help you Diane.
This scenario is yet another represenation of how Travel Agent, through our print publications, online stories and social media outlets, can be there for travel professionals and our readers in any way that we can. Hopefully, it will remind our readers, fans, users and friends to keep checking in at our Facebook page, our Twitter page and at AgentNation (the only social community online for all kinds of travel agents) to share issues of concern to them. As we did with this situation involving one agent's experience with Tropicana Las Vegas, we'll do what it takes to help your operations. So please, keep your feedback coming.