For the most part, we are paid by commission paid by the resort, cruise line, or other service provider. We also provide additional services that we are not compensated for because we believe those extras are an integral part of exceptional client service. For example, if we book a really terrific hotel fare for you based on your age or military status or some other promotion, we may not receive commission for that booking. However, we do it because we hope you will be loyal to us and refer your friends.
Here are a few things you should know about how travel agents are paid. Most vendors pay commissions to travel professionals because they are doing the servicing. Travel professionals answer your questions, take care of your problems, etc. meaning that the vendor needs less staff and saves money on their own staffing needs. They pass along a portion of these operational cost savings to the travel professional in the form of a commission. You should also know that many vendors pay high producing travel agencies a greater percentage of commission due to their volume or may offer bonus commission for a certain number of bookings. This can result in a conflict of interest because it can prompt some agents to push one product over another just to get the higher commission. Sail Away Adventures doesn't do this. We want happy clients and we feel the best way to get this is to tailor your vacation to the one that is right for you without regard to any bonus commission promotion or what commission level we receive from a particular vendor. Because we are independent, we do not need to answer to anyone but our clients which allows us to be as candid with our advice as possible. We do not belong to a consortium or host agency which dictates who we sell and what we sell. If we don't like a cruise line or we don't think a vendor is right for you, we will tell you. Did you know that there are many cruise lines who hire secret shoppers to call agencies and if the agent suggests a particular cruise, the agent will win a free cruise? Do you want to be the client who happens to call during one of these contests? If the agent thinks you are a secret shopper you could end up on a vacation that is not right for you.
We are known for our service, knowledge and experience. Based on this, people often seek our advice. After getting our advice, sometimes people decide not to travel or decide not to work with us. We understand. But when going to another agency or online to book something we planned, please keep in mind that service is ongoing. If you are looking for great service from your first question through your return home, please let us work for you.
Unfortunately, the nature of the travel industry is that prices go up and down, moment-to-moment, day-to-day. Travel is a commodity, just like the gas that fuels it. Vendors are raising and lowering prices at a moment's notice based on the number of people (or lack of people) who are booking, fuel prices, etc.
When you read the fine print on any travel site, it will tell you that there is limited availability or that seats may be limited. While some travel agents say that in order to scare you and get you to book more quickly, we won't try to scare you into booking. But you do need to be aware that seats, rooms, etc. are generally limited at any given price. For example, it is possible that a several couples traveling together may not all receive the same price or may not be scheduled for the same flight because seats/rooms/space may be limited at each price.
So, when we quote you a price, it is the best price we are able to obtain at that moment. It may go up or down between when we quote it and when you contact us to book it.
If a price goes down prior to booking, we will automatically give you the better price. If a price goes up prior to booking, we will contact the vendor to see if they will honor the lower promotional price. We can't promise we'll be successful, but we can promise we will try because we want you to be happy! Think of it this way, you go to a grocery store on Saturday and strawberries are on sale for $1.00 a pint but you don't buy any. On Sunday you go back to buy them and they are now $2.00 a pint. The store is not going to give them to you for a $1.00 because that price is no longer available. Travel pricing works the same way.
Once you have booked and paid your deposit, we monitor for lower fares and if a lower fare becomes available to the general public, we will work with the vendor to try and lower your fare. We refer to this as pricing integrity. In some cases, it may be necessary to cancel your current booking and rebook at the lower fare. We will not do this without your permission as it may result in a change of accommodations, air flight, etc. Generally, once final payment has been made, vendors will not lower your price for you.
We pride ourselves in making sure that you do not not pay any more than you need to. If you ever encounter a lower price when working with us, please give us the opportunity to help you evaluate that price to ensure there aren't any hidden differences from what was quoted by us.
Booking early is fun! Booking early allows you to start planning and dreaming about your adventure sooner. When booking early you, generally*, do not need to pay the whole fare. All you need is the deposit which in most cases is fully refundable. (If it isn't refundable, we will let you know.) Most deposits also lock in the top price of the trip except for the airfare and any change in taxes or fuel surcharges. *There are a few travel providers, hotels and cruise lines that require full payment in order to get a special price. In those cases we will inform you first.
Your chances of getting what you want are better the earlier you book. Do you like to be midship or aft? Do you want a room near the pool or the restaurant? Do you need connecting rooms? Would you like an ocean view or mountain view? With pricing integrity there is no need to wait for lower fares. The sooner you place a deposit, the more likely you are to get exactly what you want and we will continue to monitor pricing.
Some people find that by booking early, it is easier to save for their vacation. We can even apply small payments throughout the year so that by the time you are ready to travel, your trip is paid in full and you do not need to put a big final payment on your credit or charge card. The choice is yours.
Sail Away Adventures does not accept cash, money orders, or travelers checks. When conducting transactions with Sail Away Adventures, a major credit or charge card is required and photo identification may be required. Using your credit/charge card may provide you with additional rights and benefits provided by your credit/charge card company.
Sail Away Adventures
We select the vendors and travel providers we work with very carefully, because who we deal with impacts our reputation. Whenever possible, we prefer to work with vendors who we have personally vacationed with or where we have at least visited and conducted a site inspection. If a vendor is not responsive to us or our clients, we have a zero tolerance policy and will not book clients with that vendor again.