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Updated Travel Agent Participation and Rules (Travel Agents: Read and Agree/Disagree)
Travel Agent Participation for PassPorter.com
In order to continue participating as a travel agent in our community, we require that you read this statement and our updated rules below, and post a reply in this thread indicating that you agree to abide by these statements and rules by March 14, 2011. If you do not reply with your agreement by this date, your community access will be restricted until you contact us (contact information below). If you choose to disagree, please remove your travel agent affiliation from your signature, profile, and other locations on PassPorter.com, and act in accordance with rule #1 below.
The PassPorter message board community exists for the benefit of PassPorter Travel Press and its community. From the beginning we've always sought to curb commercial activity in order to provide a welcoming and comforting environment to our members. We also recognize that the expertise of professional travel agents can be an asset to the PassPorter membership. We allow and encourage agents representing many agencies to participate openly in this community, so long as they can abide by the posted community guidelines. We believe the agents' business is enhanced by their helpful, non-commercial behavior, which allows them to exhibit their expertise, and to interact socially with a community of potential clients. Our members benefit from the quality of help and information provided, and many friendships have been born. We have long enjoyed a situation where agents from many different agencies participate in a low-key, non-aggressive, and collegial manner, to the benefit of our membership and the participating agents and agencies.
Due to the overly aggressive activities of some travel agents, we've had to revisit and clarify our guidelines in order to return our community to the kind of atmosphere we desire. A travel agent's job may be to sell travel, but our job at PassPorter is to create a comfortable place where our members can discuss their travels without feeling aggressively solicited or like they are in the cross-fire of travel agent wars.
This message board community is owned and operated by PassPorter Travel Press, which is a business. Any business is free to operate an online community and web site for its benefit. However, there is no obligation on the part of a private business to operate its community for the benefit of any other business -- that is solely at the discretion of those who operate the community.
This community is PassPorter's "home," and we expect you to behave as a good guest in our home. Guests do not badmouth or undermine their hosts in their hosts' homes, and have the courtesy to refrain from doing so elsewhere. Guests do not challenge the authority of their hosts to maintain order within their homes.
All new agents in our community, whether existing or new members, must agree to these guidelines prior to participating in a professional capacity.
A member who conceals his/her travel agent status, yet pursues travel business and/or related activities in the PassPorter community, will be considered to be in violation of our our guidelines, and will lose his/her membership in the community.
Travel Agent Rules for PassPorter.com
Here are the rules that we require travel agents abide by everywhere in the PassPorter community:
1. Travel Agent Identification Your message board signature must include the unlinked name of your travel agency and optionally one link to your web site in standardized, plain text at a size of 2 or smaller (no .com names if you choose to give only your agency name). Do not include additional information, slogans, or logo graphics related to your business in your signature. If you fail to divulge your business affiliation, and make posts that we consider to be promotional, your access will be restricted or removed in the same way we address any violation of our advertising and solicitation rules. If you decide not to participate in our community as a travel agent, but rather as a member, you must not post on PassPorter about your travel agent identity or participate in discussions in which travel agents are the subject. Please remember our advertising and solicitation guidelines apply to all members. Your message board profile and home page, and any other public manifestation of your identity that appears in this community, must be consistent with these guidelines.
2. Reciprocation If you place your travel agency link and/or e-mail address in your signature, but do not have an advertising relationship with PassPorter, you must reciprocate by placing a PassPorter.com link and/or graphic on the page that your signature links to. If we cannot find the PassPorter link and/or graphic on your linking page, we will remove your travel agent name and link from your signature at our discretion. If you have questions or concerns about implementing this requirement, contact message board Administrators Jennifer Marx and Dave Marx.
4. Promotional Activities Self-promotional activities, or promotional activities that benefit your travel agency, such as sending unsolicited private messages, sending unsolicited e-mail through the message board system, posting welcome messages on a members' profile, and any other use of the PassPorter message board facilities in a similar manner is strictly prohibited.
5. Professional Manner As professionals, we know that you will behave in a cooperative, purely non-commercial manner on our message boards. In that spirit, do not try to "one-up" another travel agent who has already replied to a member or posted a news announcement or other information.
6. Replying to Posts When you have new information to share, you may reply to member questions in our forums. If you do not have new information to share, refrain from replying. Do not post short messages such as, "Congratulations," "Yeah, that," "Me too," "Good Luck," etc. As your signature and profile contain your agency information, this will be considered a promotional activity.
7. Starting New Topics You are welcome to start new topics if you have information to share such as news from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, or the release of new discounts that are available to the public and can be obtained without the use of a travel agent. Do not, however, post about exclusive deals and rates only available through your agency and/or other agencies. That information should be communicated privately, to parties who have expressed a prior interest.
8. No Travel Agent Discussion Do not post replies to questions or comments to posts in which travel agents are the subject, such as the benefits of using travel agencies, the qualities (or lack thereof) of other travel agencies or agents, or any other travel agent-related topic in which a travel agent response could be construed as advertising or promotion. We prefer that our non-travel agent members discuss these topics amongst themselves. Additionally, do not monitor or "police" other travel agents and their ability to abide or not abide by these rules -- it is our job to monitor and enforce our guidelines.
9. Non-Client Communication Do not ask non-clients to contact you privately (i.e., via e-mail, private message, or phone) in public posts, unless they have publicly asked about establishing a client relationship with you. Potential clients must choose to contact you, with no encouragement on your part. You cannot withhold information from the public in order to encourage them to contact you privately, or direct them to your agency web site for further details.
10. Client Communication If a current client posts to discuss their existing or potential booking, or any other topic related to your client-agent relationship, reply to the client privately in a manner that works for you (e-mail, phone call, etc,). Post a public reply indicating that you are contacting the member privately, so we (and they) know that they are getting a response.
11. Client Relationships Do not reveal your client relationships to the public. This includes publicly thanking a client for using or endorsing your services, or revealing that you are the agent who had been thanked anonymously. These communications should be private.
12. Groups and Events Travel agents may not discuss their agent/agency-sponsored groups and events in our community without permission from the PassPorter administrators. Such discussions should take place in private or in the agent's own community. If a member asks a question about such an event in our community, you may post a reply indicating that you contacted the member privately, so we know that they are getting a response.
13. Recommendations Do not ask or encourage your clients to post about your travel agency or services, or any other travel agent or service, in the PassPorter community, or reward them for doing so. We consider this a form of advertising. If a client makes unsolicited posts about your travel agency or services, we still reserve the right to close, move, or remove the post(s) and any replies at our discretion.
14. Actions for Non-Compliance If you cannot follow the above guidelines, or we feel you are skirting our guidelines, your access to this community may be restricted or removed at PassPorter's sole discretion. PassPorter's interpretation of these guidelines is final, and attempts to stretch the meaning or interpretation of these rules to your benefit is not appropriate. For all intents and purposes, loopholes do not exist. We reserve the right to modify, move, or delete any travel agent-related post at our discretion and without recourse. If you disagree with our guidelines or philosophy, we encourage you to create your own community at your own site with your own set of guidelines.
Read and agreed! My only link in my signature was my TA e-mail addy, but since I can't put anything in an e mail link about Passporter, I went ahead and removed it just to be safe and not cause trouble! Thanks again for the great boards!
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