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Old 07-16-2011, 07:15 PM   #1
KidDad
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ABD Isn't Interested in Feedback

So after last year's experience with ABD (London/Paris), we traveled this summer with Backroads. I'm not comparing the trips, but what struck me last year (and was confirmed in comparison with BR) was the ABD hubris. Backroads--and every other travel company we've been with--always solicits customer feedback. Not Disney. Not after we booked, not at the end of the trip, and not at any point afterwards. BR, in contrast, sent us surveys right after we booked and even before we arrived home.

When we traveled with ABD, the guides were telling us about how "envious" all the other travelers were of Disney. There may be some truth to it, but it seemed the entire trip that our guides (and particularly Frencesc) favored arrogance over action, and felt the Disney "magic" made up any sloppiness or inattention on their part. I just can't believe that after spending, what, $10,000 for three people, that ABD can't even be bothered (or more likely, doesn't really care) to ask how the trip was or how it can be improved. I think that tells you all you need to know.

There was a lot to like on our original ABD trip, but after a summer with Backroads, there are lots of options and it's nice to be with a company (and I'm sure Thomson and Tauck are similar) that respects their clients. ABD made it clear that they don't have the slightest interest in the client experience, and that they make enough money that they don't need to. If someone has had a different experience--that is that ABD actually asked for your opinion after a trip--please post.
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:33 PM   #2
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Hmmmm...when we went on the Spirit of America trip last year, we received a survey when we got home. Maybe they just send them out to a percentage of the families, rather than all of them.
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:46 PM   #3
Bobo912
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I've gotten a survey after each ABD trip and I've gotten a couple of general ones at other times that weren't related to a specific trip. And I know for certain that they also read this board for feedback. Tauck gave us a survey to fill out on the last day of our trip, but I prefer to have the survery emailed to me so I have more time to consider my responses.

Last edited by Bobo912; 07-16-2011 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:05 PM   #4
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My experience is the same as Bobo912's. I've done 3 ABD's, and received a survey via email after all three. I've also received a couple of generic surveys. It was my understanding that they sent the surveys to everyone who took a trip, but maybe not? Are you sure they had your email address? I'm surprised you heard nothing from them.

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Old 07-16-2011, 10:15 PM   #5
jjb52
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No survey's for me

I did the Germany trip in 2009 and the Ireland trip last summer and no survey's ever came my way. No ABD this year as we are doing the DCL WBTA. I think they know I travel with or to Disney multiple times a year and that I am an advocate. I would be nice if they are emailing surveys that everyone would get them.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:39 PM   #6
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Just a question, did you guys receive and/or fill out the paperwork asking for your email address so the survey can be sent to you after your trip? I looked through my old paperwork, and there was a sheet specifically asking for that information/permission. It was included in the same initial packet ABD sent out with the contract that you are to sign within 14 days of signing up for the ABD.

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NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:03 PM   #7
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Good thinking, Sayhello. I got all my paperwork electronically this year, so I've cut and pasted the text from the survey sheet below. As I was looking trough my old emails I also found surveys from 2009, one that I received just after I booked the Alaska trip and one that I received after I returned. I guess I need to clean out my inbox.

Quote:
Dear Adventurer,
Thank you for traveling with Adventures by Disney. We are interested in your thoughts and opinions about your experience, and invite you to share them with us.

Shortly after returning home from your Adventures by Disney vacation, we would like to email you a link to a survey conducted via our partners at Walt Disney World Research. Each traveling household will receive an invitation to share their group's experience. Please provide the name and email address of the person in your household to whom we should send this link.

Your responses to this survey are confidential and will be used for internal Adventures by Disney research purposes only. Your feedback is very important to us so that we can continue to provide magical vacation experiences for our guests.

Best Regards,
Your Concierge Team at Adventures by Disney Travel Services

Last edited by Bobo912; 07-16-2011 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:22 AM   #8
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Our Germany tour ended July 2 and I already completed an extensive survey about our experience. We've gone on three ABDs and I've completed three surveys about those tours.

OP, how exactly did ABD make it clear to you that they're not interested in client feedback? And that they "make enough money they don't need to"? I never got that feeling while I was on the tours. All five of our guides (we had Diana twice for Backstage Magic) were completely professional. Would you mind elaborating on your experience?
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss SD View Post
Our Germany tour ended July 2 and I already completed an extensive survey about our experience. We've gone on three ABDs and I've completed three surveys about those tours.

OP, how exactly did ABD make it clear to you that they're not interested in client feedback? And that they "make enough money they don't need to"? I never got that feeling while I was on the tours. All five of our guides (we had Diana twice for Backstage Magic) were completely professional. Would you mind elaborating on your experience?
Miss SD: I posted a pretty comprehensive review of the trip, including our experience with the guides. It's a trip report of the Gateway trip to London and Paris from July, 2010. Take a look--it's easier than re-doing here and I think will answer all your questions if you're interested in the specifics. As you'll see in the review, the shared impression of our group was that the guides were not particularly motivated or helpful (but other aspects of the trip were very well done).

In terms of lack of interest by ABD, I'll simply repeat what I originally posted--no communication other than trip documents or itinerary, no interest in assessing the booking experience, no feedback requested either at the end of the trip by the guides or when we came back home by ABD. With Backroads, they requested feedback both when we booked and e-mailed another even before we arrived back home from our trip. I've also worked with Thomson and found the booking staff to be knowledgeable and incredibly solicitous, and knew who we were each time I called. The ABD folks, on the other hand, were genuinely enthusiastic, but generally had little actual knowledge of the trips or ability to answer questions--basically a call center.

Based on the responses so far, it sounds like ABD asks at least some people for feedback, so that's a good thing. But if they pick and choose who they ask for feedback, that still seems like a half-hearted approach. Now that I have direct and recent comparisons with other travel companies, I'm curious if others who have been with competitors have also experienced a bit of hubris in ABD's approach.
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:46 AM   #10
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KidDad, did you fill out the permission sheet giving your email address for the survery? If you did, could it have gone to your Spam folder? It comes from Disney Research, not ABD.

In addition to the post-trip survey, we received a separate survey on our booking experience in 2009, but that may have been because of the cancellations that year. But every time you call ABD (or any other Disney company) you are asked to stay on the line and take a survey. So they are always asking for feedback. I've booked with both Tauck and Lindblad and neither company asked for any feedback on the booking process. I will say I talked to 3 separate Lindblad reps and all 3 had been on the trip we were booking, so they had first hand knowledge, but I'm sure that's not the case for every itinerary. I've also spoken to ABD reps who had been on the trip I was asking about, as well. I'm sure that some are better than others.

Quote:
The ABD folks, on the other hand, were genuinely enthusiastic, but generally had little actual knowledge of the trips or ability to answer questions--basically a call center.
I know there have been others who have had bad experiences, but I've always had positive experience. For example, when I arrived in Phoenix for SWS, we went to the desingated meeting place (Starbucks) and no guides or other guests were there, so we wandered around a bit and found another Starbucks on the same level, but no one was there either. So I called ABD and the agent stayed on the phone and directed me through the airport. I said things to her like "We're standing next to a book store" and she would say "there is a gift shop next and then the PGA Golf shop" or "up ahead you'll see an escalator". I guess she had a map of the airport, but there was no delay while she looked it up, she just immediately started giving me directions. BTW...the guides were at luggage claim picking up other guests. I was very pleased with the agent's ability to help us. I'm sorry your experience hasn't been as good.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:39 AM   #11
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We did the ABD-Germany trip last year and got a survey not long after we got back. as others have said perhaps it went into a spam folder. I know I always get surveys from Disney whether it's ABD or even a short stay at WDW.

With regards to the guides, ours were awesome and never seemed at all like they thought Disney was better than other tours.
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:52 AM   #12
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It's ABD / Disney policy that you must sign a permission form allowing the company to contact you via email.

This is true for marketing and research.

If you did not specifically give ABD / Disney permission to send a guest feedback survey, then you wouldnt have received one.

I am ready for my 4th ABD trip and have booked many, many others and I have always received feedback surveys.

It seems that the OP has had good luck with other companies besides ABD and that's awesome. Competition is good.

It just surprises me that anyone would feel that ABD / Disney is less than interested in your guest satisfaction or feedback.

It's always been my impression that this is first and foremost in their goals.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:17 AM   #13
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KidDad, you haven't replied whether or not you returned the permission document from ABD. I'm really curious about that.

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My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:44 PM   #14
KidDad
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SH: I haven't yet. I honestly didn't save all my trip files from last year (this was last summer). I'm not clear if you're saying clients received an e-mail asking if you'll sign up for e-mail? Or you're saying there was a form in the mail to be returned (in which case I'm quite sure we didn't keep it). But if I've understood correctly, ABD will ask for client feedback in exchange for adding your name to their e-mail marketing list.

I don't know this needs to be as complicated as we're making it out to be. Most successful companies--regardless of the service or product--ask "how'd we do?" Really.

And other successful companies don't condition interest in their customers' opinions based on their agreeing to be part of their marketing or research solicitations. Other companies ask without any quid pro quo. If ABD really cannot separate the Disney marketing arm from e-mail follow up, then send a paper survey. Phone call. Tweet. Or any of the other ways ABD's competitors have long since figured it out. I'm surprised that so many folks are suggesting it's the customers fault when ABD doesn't express interest in the client's experience.

All I expected is that ABD would ask--without making up preconditions or jumping through hoops. Not because ABD thinks it might be able to get more money through future solicitations. But because you actually care. Just ask.
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:00 PM   #15
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The survery form is in the packet with the travel agreement that you have to sign and send back within 14 days. There's also a personal information sheet, flight information sheet, and a release to allow Disney to use your image. I consider ABD asking your permission to send you the survery a courtesy rather than an inconvenience. If you're not interested in providing feedback then they won't bother you. I think it's also an effort to make sure they send the survey to the right email address. I know Disney marketing has 3 different emails addresses for me and I'm probably not the only one.

Last edited by Bobo912; 07-17-2011 at 01:08 PM.
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