Tag Archives: travel agents

You got a problem with that?

At first glance the travel industry seems to be a pretty cool place to work.  I am sure lots of people have the vision of sitting at a desk just booking amazing hotels, picking out incredible tours and experiences in out of the way places that are exotic and romantic.  That is certainly part of the job for sure – and one that attracts all of us into the industry.  However the real job comes when the “proverbial” hits the fan and problems need to be solved.

I have realised that problem solving is a bigger part of the job than actually planning and booking the travel.  One long time travel agent told me years ago –
“Remember – you can do everything perfectly, check and cross check your itinerary, reconfirm till you are blue in the face.  The minute your client steps on the plane they are in the hands of the gods.”

Very true!  Problems can be big or small.  Like the small ants that marched morning and night through the hotel room next to Disneyland.  High season so there was no room at the Inn (Holiday or otherwise).  After an exhaustive search to move clients I got a phone call saying that they had solved the problem themselves.  Oh my goodness I thought.  That’s bad that I couldn’t solve it and they could.  What did they do? Where were they booked? ……… At the same hotel….they stopped the ants coming in by using a couple of tubes of toothpaste all around the baseboard of the room.  Well….there you go.  Problem solved and I can’t claim any praise at all.

Bigger problems like volcanoes in Iceland require more than a tube of toothpaste.  The first problem was that nobody could really pronounce the name of the volcano –

Eyjafjallajökull

The second problem was that it happened on a weekend.  Say goodbye to your weekend travel agents….And the on hold times were atrocious so if you didn’t have someone problem solving for you it was pretty bleak.

Having clients down in South Africa unable to fly via Europe required rebooking and rerouting via South America.  Long flying time but they got home in the end although honestly I would have probably extended my vacation in Cape Town.

Some problems just cannot be solved – not even by God himself.  Well – maybe He could.  Like the client who wanted to move hotels in Puerto Vallarta because the waves kept knocking her over when she went for a swim.  ???

And then the problems of the twin share….oh my goodness.  I could write a book.  Let me explain.  Twin share means a single doesn’t have to pay the single supplement and they will get “matched up” with someone of the same sex.  So how do you solve the problem of the lady who insisted on leaving her undies to soak in the hand basin in the bathroom every night.  Kinda puts you off brushing your teeth, right?

Oh and the lady who missed her flight because she said the transfer was late picking her up.  Well – that’s terrible and we immediately went into overdrive to solve the problem.  Booked a hotel at the airport, another flight home the next day. We launched a complaint with the transfer company only to discover that the transfer company had dropped her and other passengers off in good time for the flight – it seems that something interrupted her between the doors of the airport and the check in gate.  Something called duty free shopping perhaps?  Yes – we women love to shop and this is a problem I am unable to solve.

 

 

Things you ask your travel agent

My lips are sealed

My lips are sealed

Being a travel agent is sometimes like being a priest.  People have to tell you things that you cannot ever tell anyone else and sometimes people have requests that might seem bizarre.  But again the rule applies – My lips are sealed.

That’s why I was surprised but intrigued to read an article posted in an Australian publication where travel agents listed the sort of things that customers had asked them.  Maybe the Australians are very different to us?  I don’t really think so but some of these questions / requests had me scratching my head or giggling with delight.

Here are my favourites –

“I received a request from a client to drive his Mercedes SL500 for eight weeks while he was on holidays and take it for its regular service. As a good agent, I kindly accepted!” …. Hey I will do that for anyone.  Honestly!  I won’t even charge a fee.

coin-slot-tattoo“A client wanted to stay at a casino in Las Vegas that has slot machines in the male toilets. I couldn’t satisfy this request as casino rules state there must be cameras on all gaming machines and of course, no cameras are allowed in bathrooms.” … I would say he has a problem.

“I had a male client ask how many pairs of underwear should he get his wife to pack for him!” …. She should have told him he should be doing his own packing.

crying baby“I answer the phone to a new inquiry … ‘I would like to send my child unaccompanied to Montevideo’. I explained that on the particular route there are some planes changes and that it could be tricky, asked the ‘mum’ how old was the minor. She answered, five months! When I informed her that it was not possible, her response was, don’t the airhostesses take care of them?” …. I would love to hear what flight attendants have to say about that!  As if they don’t have enough to do already.

Well I guess this means that one day in the far distant future when I write my memoirs I can “tell all” ….. or maybe not.

(extracts from Twisted Travel at news.com.au)