Princess apologizes for employee’s anti-agent email

By Kate Rice
Princess Cruises has disavowed language questioning the value of travel agents that an employee sent to a travel agent’s customer.

In the email, the Princess vacation planner wrote to the customer, “Why book with a travel agent when you can get all of the benefits of booking directly to us, at no cost to you?”

Princess said that the language was not approved and that a new vacation planner had edited language in an email template without seeking approval, which is in violation of the cruise line’s policies. Then the employee shared that language with another new vacation planner.

“The sentiment expressed in the email is not the view of Princess Cruises, and we are disappointed that this was incorporated into a consumer communication from our company,” Princess said in a statement.

The statement added, “Princess Cruises has a longstanding relationship with the professional travel agent community and honors that business partnership with respect and integrity. Travel agents provide the vast majority of business for Princess Cruises.”

Princess said that it has taken disciplinary action with the two employees who used the unapproved language.

Brian O’Connor, Princess’ vice president of sales, apologized for the error in a letter to travel agents and said the cruise line was “extremely embarrassed” by the incident.

He added that Princess does not give its vacation planners access to the cruise line’s database of past passengers.

He also described the processes Princess uses to clear a potential passenger for a vacation planner to contact. Princess does a nightly scrub to make sure no one contacts a potential customer if that customer is currently working with a travel agent, is an agent or has an active booking with a travel agent or directly with the cruise line.

Follow Kate Rice on Twitter @krtravelweekly. 
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