Unethical Move by Travel Agent?

Old Jun 21, 2023, 9:39 am
  #1  
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Unethical Move by Travel Agent?

I apologize in advance if this is not the right forum.

I was looking into booking an Hawaiian hotel on Kauai. In my research I contacted the hotel directly as well as a Virtuoso travel agent that I have had no dealings with. ( Only an ad I saw) Both came back with rates and booking the hotel directly was the best deal and perk package for us. I wrote the travel agent and said we decided to book directly and would keep him in our rolodex for future trips.

I learned yesterday from the hotel reservation manager that the TA reached out to her asking for the commission on our booking ..." because I have been working with him for weeks". ( Several emails and one initial phone call each time explaining to him am still waiting on rates from the hotel directly) The reservations manager sensed something was off and said no and then let me know.

Having never engaged a TA before... is this typical behavior? Are they due some compensation for making a rate inquiry? I have an email ready to send to the TA saying how disappointed I am....or should I just let it go.

I
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Old Jun 21, 2023, 9:42 am
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It's absolutely unethical. Merely asking for a quote doesn't make him your travel agent, doesn't obligate you to book through him, and definitely does not mean he is entitled to any commission on your bookings. I would reach out to Virtuoso and make a complaint.
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Old Jun 21, 2023, 9:48 am
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That's not right. If an agency wants to get paid no matter the booking result, it would have charged you a service/planning fee.
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Old Jun 21, 2023, 10:12 am
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I would block this agent from my life.

happy Hawaii trip!!!
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Old Jun 21, 2023, 10:56 am
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I could understand if the agent had helped you choose the hotel or some other service, but not just comparing rates.
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Old Jun 21, 2023, 11:10 am
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Originally Posted by david55
I apologize in advance if this is not the right forum.

I was looking into booking an Hawaiian hotel on Kauai. In my research I contacted the hotel directly as well as a Virtuoso travel agent that I have had no dealings with. ( Only an ad I saw) Both came back with rates and booking the hotel directly was the best deal and perk package for us. I wrote the travel agent and said we decided to book directly and would keep him in our rolodex for future trips.

I learned yesterday from the hotel reservation manager that the TA reached out to her asking for the commission on our booking ..." because I have been working with him for weeks". ( Several emails and one initial phone call each time explaining to him am still waiting on rates from the hotel directly) The reservations manager sensed something was off and said no and then let me know.

Having never engaged a TA before... is this typical behavior? Are they due some compensation for making a rate inquiry? I have an email ready to send to the TA saying how disappointed I am....or should I just let it go.

I
I should charge you a fee because I reply to your posting here.
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Old Jun 21, 2023, 12:10 pm
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Originally Posted by wrp96
It's absolutely unethical. Merely asking for a quote doesn't make him your travel agent, doesn't obligate you to book through him, and definitely does not mean he is entitled to any commission on your bookings. I would reach out to Virtuoso and make a complaint.

Agree.

Im guessing they thought you'd never find out, and the only one being 'hurt' was the hotel.

Play it right with the hotel manager (ie "I just want to make sure this will not become a problem for you if I report it") and you might be surprised at check in.
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Old Jun 21, 2023, 4:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Exec_Plat
Agree.

Im guessing they thought you'd never find out, and the only one being 'hurt' was the hotel.

Play it right with the hotel manager (ie "I just want to make sure this will not become a problem for you if I report it") and you might be surprised at check in.
I actually reached out to the hotel Reservation Manager ( the one who told me about his request) to ask if I pursued this with the TA would it create any problems for them. ( The last thing I want to do is to create a uncomfortable situation for her ) She said the TA actually contacted the sales team at the hotel to make the request ( I never had any dealing with them only the manager directly as I had a connection to her) and she happened to catch it and refused his request. She asked that I not contact the TA as they would prefer that my knowledge of what happened not come from them. I understand and she was very appreciative that I reached out to her to ask. They have already upgraded us from a nice room to a suite....so I feel good.
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Old Jun 21, 2023, 7:26 pm
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Originally Posted by david55
I apologize in advance if this is not the right forum.

I was looking into booking an Hawaiian hotel on Kauai. In my research I contacted the hotel directly as well as a Virtuoso travel agent that I have had no dealings with. ( Only an ad I saw) Both came back with rates and booking the hotel directly was the best deal and perk package for us. I wrote the travel agent and said we decided to book directly and would keep him in our rolodex for future trips.

I learned yesterday from the hotel reservation manager that the TA reached out to her asking for the commission on our booking ..." because I have been working with him for weeks". ( Several emails and one initial phone call each time explaining to him am still waiting on rates from the hotel directly) The reservations manager sensed something was off and said no and then let me know.

Having never engaged a TA before... is this typical behavior? Are they due some compensation for making a rate inquiry? I have an email ready to send to the TA saying how disappointed I am....or should I just let it go.

I
my mom worked as a TA when they actually had roles in the 90s.

this TA doesnt get any sort of fee.

it would be different if you contacted the TA, try gave you a list, then you booked on your own.

since your email records show you reached out to both independently before getting a replay from a TA shows you established the connection before the TA leg work.
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Old Jun 21, 2023, 8:16 pm
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Originally Posted by djp98374
my mom worked as a TA when they actually had roles in the 90s.
As a former TA in the biz since the 90's through last year, they still have a role if not as wide a one as they once did.

What OP's TA did was beyond the pale.
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Old Jun 21, 2023, 8:35 pm
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What the TA did took some major cojones on their part, but I have no idea why the hotel would feel the need to contact the OP and give them something to potentially worry about or stress over. Clearly they are if they are taking the time to post here. Hotel should have told the TA to pound sand and if you think you're due some compensation for your time and efforts, that is between you and your client.
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Old Jun 21, 2023, 8:50 pm
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Originally Posted by SWCPHX
.....but I have no idea why the hotel would feel the need to contact the OP and give them something to potentially worry about or stress over.
Good point. And probably in hindsight regretted telling me which is the reason they asked me not to take it up with the TA.
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Old Jun 21, 2023, 11:59 pm
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Originally Posted by david55
Good point. And probably in hindsight regretted telling me which is the reason they asked me not to take it up with the TA.
Personally, Id call the TA and question them. What can they do? Zero zip nada. A good TA earns your business, not work some back door method. Tell them to go pound sand.
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Old Jun 22, 2023, 12:27 am
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Originally Posted by COSPILOT
Personally, Id call the TA and question them. What can they do? Zero zip nada. A good TA earns your business, not work some back door method. Tell them to go pound sand.
Why? What outcome would you want or expect? Just don't do business with them again.
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Old Jun 25, 2023, 10:55 am
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Originally Posted by david55
I learned yesterday from the hotel reservation manager that the TA reached out to her asking for the commission on our booking ..." because I have been working with him for weeks". ( Several emails and one initial phone call each time explaining to him am still waiting on rates from the hotel directly) The reservations manager sensed something was off and said no and then let me know.

Having never engaged a TA before... is this typical behavior? Are they due some compensation for making a rate inquiry? I have an email ready to send to the TA saying how disappointed I am....or should I just let it go.

I
Moral of the story: when declining to do business with someone, a polite "No, thanks, that doesn't work for us" is all you should say. Don't give them unnecessary info, excuses, your actual plans, etc. Stick with just a polite "No".

Further contact with that unethical TA will only cause trouble, and they have your contact info - how many times do you want to be harassed by them? Do not contact them again.
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