Post # 1
We were referred to a travel agent by my maid of honor. My maid of honor and her husband travel quite a bit and she went through this travel agent for her wedding and to celebrate a reunion a year later with close friends and family. He is the owner of a travel agency here in town.
I set up an appointment briefly explained what it is we are looking for in terms of a destination wedding and a week later I came in to meet. I picked up a bunch of brochures he mentioned a few resorts we should avoid and said he would be in contact later. We went through the brochures set up an appointment 2 weeks ago and the resort we were decided on we were suggested not to go because of minimum flights and the possibility of flight cancellations etc. We left being told we should research a back up destination.
We have researched and searched and feel discouraged. I contacted the travel agent and mentioned another location we might be interested in. I feel as though every location we mention he spends time looking online and repeating back to me things I already know. He also asked me when we are planning on sending out our invites because he is going to be away on vacation..?! I said well we need to find a location first..
He send me a link for a resort regarding wedding packages at a resort I was having trouble finding.. The wedding packages were all in Mexican currency. The email read see if this link works for you. I emailed back and said thanks it works and that we are going to continue researching.
I have looked at the site bestdestinationweddings.com which seems promising but I am not sure what to do.. I feel awful saying this but I/we are considering leaving this agent.. We have very little spare time because we have 2 kids and I was under the impression the travel agent does a lot of the planning for you. I understand that we are the ones that need to make the ultimate decision.. But, he hasn’t suggested anything.. He is difficult to understand at times.. He is friendly, but I feel as though he isn’t really giving us much to work with. He hasn’t even asked or discussed any kind of pricing?!
Should we cheat on our travel agent and go with someone else.. Anyone used a travel agent online? Or out of province? I don’t really know what to tell my maid of honor about this.. and what to tell the travel agent for that matter..
Post # 3
Dont stress yourself out about this. Vendors don’t work out for various reasons. I would send him a quick email explaining you want to go in another direction.
Also find an english speaking vendor based in mexico. Also it would be great if she used to working with internationally brides and doing destination weddings. I think that would work better for you.
Post # 4
I wouldn’t explain anything to him. I would continue to work with as many travel agents as you can until you find the one that works best for you. They’re free and make their money off you booking through them, so you can use as many as you’d like until you find one that wants to bust their butt for your business. Once you’ve finalized your decision, you can let the travel agents know. I doubt your MOH is getting any sort of benefit from using this travel agent, so just let her know once you find another one that you like, that the travel agent she referred to you wasn’t working out. It sucks, but I can’t see why she’d be upset.
Post # 5
@TwoCityBride: I thought we did good by going with someone who owns a tavel agency and has planned tons and tons of destination weddings.. Because I didn’t want to have someone new on the job help us.. I am so dissapointed and I don’t feel that our expectations are that high. We have quite a few people that will be attending the wedding and I understand the travel agent gets compensated pending on how many people attend the wedding etc. I don’t know if perhaps having a female travel agent might be a beter option?
Post # 6
@futuremrsk18: Our initial thoughts were to meet with a few different agent and then choose the one we feel most comfortable with. But, we don’t have a lot of spare time and I wasn’t sure if it would be fair to go with different people at the same time. But, yes I see your point if they want to make $ they gotta work for it. Have you ever heard of bestdestinationweddings.com ? It’s online.. It seems legit.. Another bride recommended getting in contact with a wedding planner in a different province in Canada. She is quick and efficient but we wouldn’t be able to meet face to face. She speaks Mexican so it may be at an advantage that she could negotiate prices with the resort.. Any thoughts?
Post # 7
@1dutchie: I have heard of that site and I was planning a destination wedding for a while and I did use that site and their travel agent. She was very pleasant, but not as attentive as I would have liked. Honestly, I haven’t booked anything yet because I don’t know what I want and maybe she sensed that and backed off so I can figure things out. My FI and I wanted two different things for our destination wedding (he wants private, I want a big party at an all inclusive and those two things just don’t match) and turns out, we haven’t booked anything, yet and it’s been months (life got in the way).
I don’t think it hurts to shoot them an email, they respond pretty quickly and that forum is probably better for you than this one is when it comes to destination weddings. Tons of very nice, friendly brides who are super helpful when it comes to planning destination weddings. Most brides here don’t have destination weddings, so you will probably find more helpful information on that forum.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not meeting a travel agent face-to-face. I’m sure you can get across what you need through emails (which create a nice paper trail) and phone conversations.
Post # 8
@1dutchie: i would post in the bestdestinationwedding.com forum (same address as your website but minus the ‘s’) and ask canadian brides who they went with. You can get a lot of reviews and tips that are so helpful – honestly, that forum has helped me so much on destination wedding specific aspects
one thing i will add is that gettign links with currency in pesos can be a very good thing. I know it can be hard to look at them and think in terms of “real” money, but they prices are frequently lower than when quoted in dollars and its not hard to do a foreign money transfer at the bank. this is because they generally use the rate of 10 pesos to one dollar whereas its really about 13. so theyll give two prices eg
14900 pesos (which is more like 1140 dollars)
and dont get me started on the places that simply bump up prices in dollars for no reason (above and beyond what i mentioned)
i would definitely look into other agents because shopping around will get you the best deal. good lcuk!!
Post # 9
I;m not sure if you’re in Toronto, but if you are, our agent is Debbie Brown from flight centre and she is absolutely amazing. We have been using her for like 4 years. She is in Pickering right now though at Pickering Town Centre but it’s worth the drive.
I say, keep the agent you have now but also go see one or two more and compare.
Post # 10
Hi 1dutchie: sorry to hear that things aren’t going as you wished…
There are certainly 1000s of possible Destinations & Resorts in the Caribbean… so something for everyone.
Your Travel Agent / Vacation Planner can certainly help you… but they can’t do all the research for you… I mean ultimately you have to have a few things set down before you can maximize their particular knowledge… I’m guessing from your post that perhaps you haven’t nailed all this down as of yet… so the Vacation Planner (VP) is finding you a bit vague
You should meet with them with the following info pretty much solid… Dates / Timeframe – Budget – Preferred Locations (be that Islands, or more detailed Destinations… big difference between saying “Jamaica” and saying “Ocho Rios”) – and WHAT Type of vacation / activities you are looking to partake in (hanging at the pool – veggin on the beach – water sports – sightseeing – ziplining / hiking etc). It is also helpful if you can convey to the VP what level of comfort is your minimum requirement… are you ok with Rustic – Budget – Moderate – or only 5 Star will do ??
In the end the more info you give the VP the more likely they’ll be able to find a vacation that matches your desires (I am taking it you are looking at All-Inclusives ??)
— — —
Lastly, as a Resident of Ontario… you should be aware that although you can certainly shop around on-line or in other locations for deals… that only by dealing with an Ontario Travel Agent will your vacation dollars be truly protected as an Ontario Resident … something we don’t really think about a whole lot… BUT if the Vacation Seller / Charter Co. (such as Sunwing), the Travel Agent, or even the Airline go belly up… your money will be protected by TICO (the Travel Industry Council of Ontario = http://www.tico.ca/consumer-info/compensation-fund.html )
Hope this helps,
PS… Mr TTR and I are semi-retired… and we travel oodles. If you like you can send me a PM and I’ll see if I can’t give you some more detailed advice to whatever Questions / Issues you are having (Can’t promise you I can answer everything… but I can probably point you in the right direction)
Post # 11
My sister is planning a destination wedding and dealing with the agent has been a nightmare. We have over 50 people going and she didn’t get us any sort of group discount. She gave me wrong info about the price of a room if sharing with a child, and it ended up costing me more money. I just wanted to book my trip on Expedia since it was cheaper that way but I went with the agent since my sister was nervous about our rooms being split up or something. This has been my first experience using a travel agent and it will be my last. What a waste of time. They don’t do anything you can’t do yourself with the help of Expedia and TripAdvisor.
Post # 12
@padme: I am sorry to hear things aren’t working out for your sister with her travel agent. I have actually never dealt with a travel agent myself either. I usually book/plan things myself that way I know exactly what will be taking place.
The only reason that we are wanting to deal with a travel agent is because we have people that will be traveling from different parts of the country. Plus we want to book something at least a year in advance to give everyone time to save and the opportunity to go.
One of my fiance’s collueges did all the bookiings for her wedding.. But, I don’t want to get into getting people’s credit card numbers etc.. Too much hassle..
@This Time Round: Our travel agent knows exactly what it is we are looking for.. We have sat down with him twice and we have spoken over the phone and I have send him an email also.. I strongly feel that he should be more suggestive when it commes to resorts. We told him where we want to go.. What we invision in terms of a wedding.. That we want there to be entertainment so people have the opportunity to do things besides sunbathe.
We may have never dealth with a travel agent before to plan a wedding but I am not sure how much information he is expecting from us.. Plus if he is unsure of what it is our expectations are he should be contacting me.. Don’t you think? There is going to be 50-80 of us so there is a lot of money he could be making booking our vacation.. When we told him how many people there will be he said oh! wow! Are all of those people really going..? Well we are sending 75 invites and they are all coupled up and some have children.. So I can def guarantee there will at least be 50 of us..
He asked me last week when we are planning on sending out our invitations.. I said well we are hoping early 2013 at the latest.. But we need to decide on a resort first..? I thought that was really strange.. Then he went on to say that he will be going on holidays a few times in the next few times.. If that is the case shouldn’t he make it a priority at this time to finalize things? Or make a few suggestions?
Post # 13
@newname_99: Thanks so much for your post. I did not know that the currency is treated like that. Something that I will keep in mind and do my math on. I contacted a travel agent another wedding bee recommended to me. I send her an email this weekend and I hopt to hear back from her next week. She is actually Mexican so she may be able to negotiate and have better success making arrangements at the resort also.
I am going to do some more research on that website. It seems very organized and reading reviews on there gives me a better idea rather then google reviews from years ago or what not. Thanks!
Post # 14
@1dutchie: i would not feel obligated to stick with this travel agent. he is not doing anything for you. i know that your time is valuable so to save time, i would call a few places first to see if anyone catches your interest, then you can set up an appointment.
as for which resort, have you asked around? got recommendations from other brides/bees? perhaps start a thread so that bees can give you some ideas. have you narrowed down location at least?
Post # 15
@1dutchie: I would 100% say if you are not satisified with what your travel agent is doing now, before he has your business, you will NOT be happy with him once you are stuck with him.
If I could go back and do one thing differently in my wedding planning process it would be finding a better TA. The one we have has been terrible, I felt initially the same way you did and brushed it off, and she has been one of the factors which has caused the most stress in my planning so far. So, if you are unhappy, go find someone one. Ask them for references. Shop on yelp or bestdestinationwedding.com for people who are happy with their TA. With a DW you have to book so much stuff through them, especially if you have a larger group, so it is very important that you are satisfied, and once you book anything you can’t really change who you are dealing with. You do not owe him anything at this point. His job is to help you find a resort, the one thing he absolutely most do to obtain his business (I.e. his paycheck!) and he is not doing it. If he is not doing his job, why should you give him your business?
Post # 16
@1dutchie: yes, its frequently true if you deal with vendors directly. if you deal with a foreign travel agent may be a bit different who knows! I do think often mexicans get better deals than foreigners,my mexican fi definitely gets better deals than i di, eg one vendor quoted me ‘10,000 pesos normally, 80000 pesos special price’ and when fi got in touch one day later it was ‘8000 pesos normally, 6000 special price!’