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by MSC Serving You | Oct 27, 2016

Who: Husband and wife team, Alonzo Cartlidge & Sheila Turner Cartlidge from Our Gang Travel



Background: Alonzo and Sheila have been in the business for 30 years – in fact, their 30 year celebration is later this month – with a main focus on booking groups. Well-respected and trusted among group leaders, the couple has created a niche in the market that has their clients booking trips and paying deposits BEFORE they even know where they are traveling to next time. Alonzo and Sheila pride themselves on being family-owned and operated and supporting of family brands.


Selling MSC Cruises: After hearing all the buzz about MSC Cruises – and in particular the MSC Yacht Club – last November, Alonzo and Sheila decided to give MSC a try. After realizing what a great experience and value the MSC Yacht Club is for today’s cruisers, they booked their first group of 40 passengers on MSC Divina this past July and have another “Come Along” group booked for August 2017. 

Excited about the next-generation MSC Seaside – launching December 2017 and sailing from Miami to the Caribbean – Alonzo and Sheila have also now booked groups for April and June 2018 on the new ship. 

Our Gang Travel is well on their way to becoming a large account with MSC Cruises over the next few years and we couldn’t be more excited to be working with them.


1. Travel agents are knowledgeable experts.

First and most importantly, travel agents provide knowledge and expertise that has taken them years to collect. This consultative experience with travel agents is incredibly valuable to consumers because it allows them to combine their own research with the expertise of their trusted travel agent and ultimately feel very confident in their final decision. 

2. Travel agents offer advice at no cost.

If you have a chance to hire a professional advocate and researcher for zero cost to you (we're paid by the suppliers), why would pass up that free value-add?


3. Travel agents deliver one-stop shopping.

We are able to create a seamless travel experience with transfers, air, as well as unique pre and post tours and hotels. We are also able to create private excursions that are unique to your need. We bring added value to every booking.   

4. Travel agents provide an added level of support.

Let it be known that everyone who calls themselves a travel agent may not have the necessary training, licenses, bonds, appointments and insurance. Your Travel Agent is just as important as your Doctor. Your well-being can be determined by both. Ask for documentation before you spend your money. 


5. Travel agents serve as your advocate when things go astray.

There's so much advice we can offer, it helps to have an agent before you go on a trip. But it's also great to have an agent for when things go bump in the night, to have someone to call when you have a delayed flight or problem with a room, etc. Yes, you might get a lower price on line, but if you want service, we're the ones who will be there for you at 3 a.m." 

6. Travel agents understand your needs.

Travel professionals get to know the customer, their wants and their needs, really well. It's almost as if your best friend is booking a trip for you.  If you are looking for the best valued trip where there is no add on prices for private entertainment, gifts, or receptions, an experienced, licensed travel agent is your best bet.


7. Travel agents are here to stay.

The profession is only going to become stronger and more needed... You are going to need them to continue to sell more than ever. 


8. Travel agents are impartial advisors.

A good agent is impartial and will always recommend and give insights into the best choice for the client, not the supplier. Going direct to suppliers limits your feedback to what is best for the supplier. 


9. A live travel agent is better than a click.

When you get a good travel agent on the phone he/she can enhance your vacation with knowledge and expertise that you can't get on the internet. And we have access to all types of promotions. 


10. A travel agent is a personal shopper at no cost.

In most cases there is no price difference between booking direct and booking with a local travel agent, so the customer gets all the benefits of a personal shopping experience at no extra cost. It's the equivalent of the perfect storm of reasons to work with travel agents! Travel agents are also close to home, allowing a personal and very customized experience, and this is something that no 1-800 number can provide.