Dec 28th, 2001, 03:41 PM
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Is Expedia a travel agency? I've talked to 2 booking my plane/hotel, remember this as a pleasant experience. So, Penny, I do support you travel business after all Have a nice weekend! Get some sleep, you seem to need it.
Dec 31st, 2001, 03:40 PM
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I travel on average twice per week and have done so for quite some time. I truly appreciate the value that TA's add to the service-especially for my vacation travel. I too have had a couple very bad experiences with TA's. It took me some time to find what I would call a 'Professional' TA. I have saved a great deal of money and avoided a great deal of trouble by following my TA's sound advice. My guess is that the really good ones are one in five. Mediocre is two in five and another two are dismal. They tend to work in low volume shops for straight salary. So, to the top forty percent...thanks very much and I apologize for the guff that you have to endure on this site from folks who obviously travel once in a blue moon.
Jan 1st, 2002, 02:12 AM
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I don't know where you get your numbers, but let's assume you're right. What would happen if less than half the of the electricians I hire were competent, and the majority might cause a house fire. Electricians are licensed, they go through rigorous training before they can act indepedently. That's the problem, in most states there are no standards, anyone can work out of their garage and call themselves a travel agent.
Jan 1st, 2002, 10:56 AM
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Penny -

Vic raises a good point, I see you trying to draw analogies between doctors and TAs, and only grudgingly admitting that booking an airline is not rocket science. I don't think the doctor-TA comparision is a good one. There is a multitude of professions/skilled trades etc that require far more education, training etc, and have rigorous licensing requirements. Doctors, nurses, other health care professionals, lawyers, accountants, electricians, plumbers, and teachers are a few that come to mind. TAs generally need a HS diploma (or even a GED) and the equivalent of one month of full time training (120-160 hours for most programs). There are no federal or state licensing requirements. A few states have voluntary "certificate" programs, which are NOT the same thing as licensure.

That being said, it would seem that because the education/training requirements are not exactly rigorous, if one was to choose to use a TA, it would make sense to seek out one who has a great deal of first hand, recent experience in traveling. By your own admission in a number of these threads, you haven't been on a trip since 1996, and the only European country you've been to is Germany. Considering the fact the the European board is the one with the most traffic on this website, why should people pay good money to someone like yourself rather than sifting carefully through the first hand advice offered here and using it in conjunction with their own research?
Jan 1st, 2002, 12:43 PM
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Well, there's a very obvious question just hanging its face right out there: How do you find a _professional_ agent, a _good_ one who does all the things Penny says they are supposed to do? How do you know when you've found one?

For myself, I've sworn never to go back to a Viking or other of the chain agencies -- having gone there initially thinking they would hire and train agents to some standard, only to be treated abysmally. So that leaves a Ma and Pa local shop, and I think there is no way to know if they know what the heck they are doing. And just listing yourself as a member of the professional association doesn't guarantee anything to me, either.

So what would you suggest?
Jan 2nd, 2002, 07:34 AM
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I suggest you interview potential Travel Agents just as you would a potential employee or baby-sitter.
Ask them how long they have been in the business.
Ask them where they have traveled to.
Ask what their specialities are.
Ask you friends who they use and why.
Propose a trip and see how they handle the inquiry. Do they make suggestions, do they ask questions to ascertain what is important to you in your accomodations or destinations. Do they try to help you or say take 3 brochures and call me when you decide where you want to go.
In other words, are they order takers or truely Professional Agents asking pertinant questions to narrow your choices and fit you with the Right Vacation Spot or Resort for you.
Work on building a Relationship with the Right Agent and you will not be sorry. The more information you give them, they better they can serve your needs and anticipate the right spot for you next vacation.
If they do not want to take Time with you, find someone else.
There are many of us who are Professionals and Truely Love our Job, Love Serving your Needs and are as excited about your Vacation as you are.
Jan 3rd, 2002, 06:29 PM
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Penny -

H made some very direct, matter of fact points that you have chosen to ignore. Interesting.
Jan 4th, 2002, 02:14 AM
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If Penny is such a customer oriented travel agent, then why does she have so much time to rant, rave and generally whine about stuff on this site? My guess is that she may be a travel agent but with her obviously abrasive and hostile attitude, I doubt very much that she is a successful one. On another thread about Penny someone posted that she neeeded to get laid, I agree with that poster. Most people who are truly happy with their personal lives do well in their professional ones as well, and do not need to bash and belittle others who are just expressing their opinions or travel experiences. It would be nice if Fodors would just delete her stuff....but it is a free board!!! Leave it to a travel agent to wonder why she has no business!!Penny get a clue...
Jan 4th, 2002, 07:48 AM
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I happen to know Penny. She is a very good travel agent. She has plenty of customers. She is wonderful with her clients.
She like many of us is just very upset, people on this board bash our Profession, just because they have not found one of the many Professional Travel Agents around.
You oviously have had experiences with agents who were "ill trained", who would sell anything just to make a sale, who have not experienced the product they sell.
Every Industry has "Bad Employees".
Most agents truely love their jobs and will go to the ends of the earth to help their clients.
By the way, we are doing these postings while sitting on hold 1-2 hours to reach a supplier to "book a trip for our clients", "change a seat assignment or something of that nature
Jan 5th, 2002, 08:19 AM
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Why thank you too. I have never won a contest like yours before.

As for getting pleasure from nasty remarks, or stirring up trouble. You seem to be the one being nasty and pointing and shaking a finger. I was taught better manners as a child.

I bring a different point of view than you, and that's what you don't like. Your remarks are more like water off a ducks back to me if you catch my drift. Last I checked this was still America, and it is my right to post anything and anywhere I want. I did have a forum for travel agents, but it was invaded by the likes of you and others, so now, I choose to post on here.

As for the seemingly too much time on my hands, the amount of time I have to devote to this forum, I am on the phone a tremendous amount of time, or I have sent off email requests for information, that I must have to finish what I am working on, ergo, the time to read and respond here.

Thanks again for a wonderful round of compliments. Have a nice day.
Jan 6th, 2002, 05:17 PM
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Penny (or anyone else who thinks like her) -

How, exactly, did I contradict myself? I thought my statements were fairly straightforward and consistent.
Jan 6th, 2002, 08:09 PM
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This travel agent has a College Degree. The training for this Profession is on-going. Most agents go to 3-4 Supplier or Destination Training Seminars a month. We take speciality courses on the internet and classrooms.
This is for the leisure travel agent. Ever have to figure out the 100 different rules for each city pair on various airlines and explain them to a customer who does not understand why he has to stay Saturday night, travel certain days of the week, go on certain routings.
Well for $20 Maximum Payment for airline tickets, I no longer bother with them. Also what a snob you are, not everyone who only has a H.S Diploma or a GED is lazy or stupid. I know many that outwork and are smarter than a lot of PHD's I know.
Most doctors are the dumbest people I have ever encounter when it comes to business or common sense.
Jan 7th, 2002, 02:16 AM
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You should engage your brain before you start typing.

"Most doctors are the dumbest people I have ever encounter when it comes to business or common sense."

When have you ever talked to enough doctors about business to come to a valid conclusion that doctors don't have business sense. Why would a bunch of doctors discuss business with a travel agent that works out of their garage?

And how do you define common sense?
Jan 7th, 2002, 08:41 AM
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You are just an antagonist. Why don't you get a Job so you don't have all this time to attack others.
I have made over $400 today have you?
My husband deals with Doctor's daily in his business and I also have a number as clients, so yes, I do know how they operate (no pun intended).
Jan 7th, 2002, 09:07 AM
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Reread his last post (Vic). He gives himself away as too his alternate identity using the word "garage". He has also used the words "kitchen table" on another forum we visit.

VIC, we love you too....
Jan 7th, 2002, 11:12 AM
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Joyce -

You seem to have missed the point(s) of my post. I was not, in any way, shape or form, criticizing people who do not have any formal education beyond high school. I certainly don't think that a person's level of education necessarily correlates with whether a person is "lazy" or "stupid" (your words) - perhaps you do. In fact, your response to my post flies in the face of such an argument - your college degreee certainly didn't keep you from completely missing the boat on what I was saying.

I was simply explaining that the minimal education/formal training/licensing requirements for TAs are not anything like those for the professions and trades to which TAs on this board often compare themselves. Therefore, if a person is going to consider using a TA, this type of credentialing which is used to measure standards of competency is not generally available. This is not a criticism of TAs. It simply means thatp eople can only look to other factors instead, and one of those factors that may be important to some people is how much first hand experience a TA has in visiting a particular area.

Penny stated earlier that she doesn't think this is all that important, but I do. We are each entitled to our opinion. I would rather seek out advice from people who have been to a particular locale, especially in the recent past, than a TA who has not. I can't imagine why anyone would find my position on this offensive.

I don't see the relevance to this particular discussion of whether doctors, as a general rule, are particularly savvy when it comes to business (there certainly may be some truth to this). Nor do I think it matters if a TA has any medical skills - do you?

P.S. to Penny - I'm still waiting to hear how I contradicted myself.
Jan 12th, 2002, 06:18 AM
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Penny, Penny, Penny, it's too bad that your chosen profession is about to go the way of the milk delivery men of long ago. You see, society sometimes produces things called technological or producitivity advances. In short, certain things become easier to do, and people who used to do it the old way, lose their jobs unless they adapt, or they find no jobs. Travel Agents have been learning this lesson the hard way the last few years. I don't have any problems with TA's, but I don't find them very useful myself. I have had three dealings with them over the last 3 1/2 years. I found 1 completely useless (I priced a package they wanted to sell me for $900 less than their quote), 1 somewhat useful (for a trip to belize a specialized TA had good prices for some properties, but not the ones I wanted to stay at), and 1 a Godsend (while in Brazil, needed to make a last minute change to schedule because of weather). I've taken about 8 other trips in between where I've done everything myself. At first it took some time to figure some of the tricks out, but now it's very easy. If you have a specialized area, such as group/corporate travel, or a specific area, i.e. "France", I'm sure you'll survive. Otherwise, shut your pie hole and move on with life. The rest of us deal with technological or market advances in our fields and seem to not need to post endless rants about it. Survival of the fittest will weed out the losers and malcontents such as yourself.
Jan 12th, 2002, 08:09 AM
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Great Bill, we are happy you are so proficient at booking your own travel.
Please continue to do so. But, you are wrong about the Travel Agent being dead.
Many people do need help choosing the resort that meets their needs, the perfect Ski Mountain for them, someone to look through the Zillions of fares the airlines have.
I agree on specialization to a point.
My business card says Leisure Travel Specialist. I concentrate on Mexico, Ski, Caribbean, Cruises and Las Vegas and Hawaii, but am also perfectly capable of putting together a trip to Europe.
I know Penny and she is a very good, knowledgable agent.
By the way, the travel slump is over.
In the last week I booked more than $20,000 in travel (almost as much as Sep,Oct,Nov and Dec combined.
So for those of you looking for a last minute bargain, it is best to book now, as it appears there will be no last minute space.
Mar 17th, 2004, 06:36 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2
I also don't book with travel agents because most of the ones I've worked with are morons & have screwed up my travel plans more than helped. It takes me less time & energy just to do it myself rather than explain my requirements repeatedly and still end up not satisfied.

I am an intelligent, resourceful person and enjoy the whole planning process. Why on earth WOULD I go with a travel agent?

But if for some strange reason I did go with a travel agent I surely will avoid agents like you. Your attitude is apparent in this post ("When will you wise up?" -- nice) & some of your other replies on these boards.
kristic is offline  
Mar 17th, 2004, 07:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 300
Why are you responding to a post that is over two years old? If you are expecting a response from the last poster, trust me after two plus years, they won't even remember they posted.
kkj is offline  

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