I was exchanging e-mails with a travel agent pal of mine the
other day, and I happened to mention that we had just wrapped up a
cover story on Classic Vacations (“A Modern Classic,” page 22), and
I asked her if she ever worked with them. Not 10 minutes after I
clicked on send, she called me.
“I just wanted to say this over the phone because I feel so
strongly about it,” she said.
She went on to tell me how she worked with Classic “from the
very beginning” and how they had always been one of her favorite
companies. She said she especially likes Classic because she knows
her clients are going to be treated better and come away
“There’s no ‘moo time’ with Classic,” she said. “Customers are
never treated like cattle.”
Unfortunately, however, as a Signature agent, she cut back on
how often she uses Classic when Signature ended their preferred
supplier arrangement with them, meaning her commission went from 15
percent to 10 percent. She said she still uses Classic occasionally
for some clients, but not as often as she used to.
I think her story is probably typical of a lot of agents, and it
really is unfortunate that a falling out between a couple of
powerhouse companies in our industry can have such a widespread,
negative effect on frontline agents.
From Classic’s point of view, this is nothing that can’t be
fixed, and they have an excellent new team of executives in place
working to overcome past conflicts and developing new
relationships. For my friend’s sake at least, I hope they’re
successful. Furthermore, for what it’s worth, Classic’s executive
team also happens to be some of the nicest people you will meet in
this industry. From Ron Letterman, the chairman, and Gregg
Brockway, the president, all the way down to the operators in the
call center, they are easygoing and professional and a delight to
work with. Niceness is certainly not essential in a business
relationship, but it sure doesn’t hurt either. K.S.