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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default Travel Agent vs. Self Booking

    Hello Couples Enthusiasts!

    My husband and I will be visiting either Couples Negril or Couples Swept Away for the first time in October and I just started working with a travel agent to book the trip.

    The cost of trip insurance through the travel agency is $300 per couple, but only $158 through the Couples online booking site. Our agent said that her insurance is more expensive because it protects against prices going up, and if prices go down we would get a refund of the difference.

    Has anyone experienced booking a trip to Couples a few months in advance and then having the room rates or flight prices drop?

    Any opinions on using a travel agent versus booking it yourself using the website?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default

    I booked myself.

    3 months later the price of my room dropped.

    I called the resort and they adjusted my rate to the new, lower rate.

    I think TA's are overrated (unless you have a big group of people going and are trying to coordinate it all together).

    One good thing about a TA is that I've heard you don't have to pay the foreign transaction fee. At my bank is was 3% so I opened a checking account at a credit union and their fee is only 1%.

  3. #3

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    With regard to your trip insurance, you don't need protection against the price going up. Once you book and pay for it, it's set. If it does indeed protect against the price going down, that may be a good thing. I booked (with Couples via the website) late last May for a stay in Aug (9 days and counting!!!!!!!!). Less than two weeks later the rate for that stay (after taking into account the difference in resort credits offered) dropped about 15%. I was able to re-book at the new rate as part of their "Hot Deals" offer at that time. The deal was that if the price dropped I could re-book at the lower rate any time up to 45 days until arrival. I don't see that deal currently displayed on the "Hot Deals" page, so I'm not sure if that is still in effect, but it saved me a good chunk of change. I personally do all my booking myself (room via Couples and airfare via the airline that I am using). This stems from a very bad experience with a once reputable online TA which many MB users here are all too familiar with, but that is not indicative of TAs in general. If you are more comfortable using a TA, then by all means do. Just don't be afraid to poke around online to make sure you are getting a competitive rate and best flight schedule. Whichever way you go, the most important thing is the destination and you have already chosen the best one you could, so you really can't go wrong!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,334

    Default

    I would book direct. That way you are in control and can change if a better rate or offer comes up. I also book air direct with the airline, that way you get all the updates direct to you.
    Irie Mon

  5. #5

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    protect against prices going up? sounds like some new vacations future index that wall street may be rolling out now that the cbo's have lost their luster...
    Last edited by Couples Resorts; July 31st, 2009 at 02:57 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    307

    Default

    I'd book direct with Couples. We booked and soon after they ran a Couplicious Wednesday Special that would have saved us an extra $200. I called, they rebooked us, no penalties or extra costs, and we got the savings.
    Last edited by Couples Resorts; July 31st, 2009 at 02:57 PM.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jon1963 View Post
    I would book direct. That way you are in control and can change if a better rate or offer comes up. I also book air direct with the airline, that way you get all the updates direct to you.

    This is the way I do it as well........and for the same reasons.

  8. #8

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    I booked myself, air separate. About the same rather let couples have the commission. Help support the Issa Trust Foundation

  9. #9

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    A good travel agent will look out for your best interests and can adjust your rate if it drops. Many times can even get you a better rate.
    Shari & James
    Members of the 4 for 4 club

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    955

    Default

    I don't know. We used a TA for our first three trips to CSA. For all three we booked about a year ahead. This month we booked for next June ourselves, online through US Air. We got a good price on air, which I doubt will go any lower. Overall with the Couples Early Booking special we wound up paying just over what our first trip in 2005 cost. And less that our trip of 2007.
    I would say if you are more comfortable with a TA then that is the way for you to go. But don't be afraid to book yourselves either. It turns out to be really pretty simple.

    It's all goood mon!

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Shari and James View Post
    A good travel agent will look out for your best interests and can adjust your rate if it drops. Many times can even get you a better rate.
    I agree.. Our agent is awesome and has saved us a lot of money over the years vs. booking ourselves. And if a problem ever comes up, she has always taken care of it with no problems. But it depends on the agent. Its whatever you feel most comfortable with!
    -Otter,


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    708

    Default

    We always use a TA even though we've been going to Jamaica for 15 years now and I could certainly book this myself. I like having the comfort of a person I can go to if there is a problem with any part of the trip so that's why we use a TA.

    However, this TA doesn't sound like she has your best interests in mind or understands how the system works or something. Once you've paid the deposit on your trip you've locked in your price, you don't need fancy, high priced insurance to guarantee against the price increasing. Something isn't right here. That's some pretty high priced insurance for sure. I'd always use a TA and I'd always buy insurance but I'd find a different TA in your case.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,933

    Default

    There are a few advantages to using a GOOD Travel Agent. First of all, of course, is the service itself, that should be part of a healthy business/client relationship.

    Secondly, the travel industry has the ability to buy or reserve flights and resort rooms in blocks or quantity, enabling them to offer these at a competitive price.

    Third, as part of their services, you can consult with them about many of the same issues and concerns that we see expressed here... although I'm SURE we do a better job of that here on the MB ;-).

    What others have suggested holds quite true. There are advantages to doing things either way, depending on your level of expertise and travel experience. I would suggest, however, that however you book, buy the insurance... if only for the peace of mind.
    Chris

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"


  14. #14

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    I always shop all the internet sights, the couples sight, and everywhere else you can get quotes from. Then I take the lowest one to my travel agent and she matches it. We like the ability to have someone to call if things don't go as planned. We will be leaving in 18 days for CN and the price I found is at least $500 lower than anywhere I've seen since. Also our most important thing about the trip is our flight. I will only fly non stop from Baltimore on Air Jamaica. Flight leaves at 7 AM and we are on the beach in Negril by 1.

  15. #15

    Default A good TA is worth supporting

    We have used the same TA for about 30 years. She's working from home now. She was the first to turn us on to Jamaica & Couples. We've used her for Mexico, England, Canada, Ireland, Amtrak, cruises and mucho domestic travel. Sometimes, her price is better, sometimes not, but she is always there to solve an issue.

    Since the airlines quit paying them, I don't mind booking just about everything through her. I make one call, she does the work and earns her paycheck. We buy the cancellation policy. I am not worried about the price going up...once it's bought it's mine. I do like it when she calls and has found a way to lower my price AFTER the res & dep is made.

    I do some stuff myself, but I am a fan of a GOOD (not a flake) TA that can be counted on to take care of us while earning her beans. Please know that there are a lot of poorly trained, no-experience, looking for a quick buck travel agents out there. EVERY industry has its thorns along with the fruit. We find this true at resorts...why do the rest when you know the best!

  16. #16

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    We have been using the same TA for many years. I shop around on line including Couples site, but have always had the best prices with my TA. We had problems a few years back with weather back in the states and had to stay over at CN 3 extra days(lucky us) and our TA took care of things with just one call.

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