Travel advisors are continuing to undergo a renaissance of sorts,
with growing numbers of travellers appreciating the complexity and
nuances that are part and parcel of their jobs.
“The travel world is not the same as it used to be. You cannot rely
on how you ‘used’ to book travel. None of us can,” said JoAnne Weeks of
Weeks described how the agency booked a family of five on a $64,000
Africa safari – only to find the flights cancelled the day before the
family was scheduled to depart.
“Not only did we rebook them, but we were able to update their tours
to accommodate their new arrival day, push back their return date – and
myself and the tour operator kept in touch with them day by day to
ensure everything went smoothly,” Weeks said.
“My client himself said, ‘There would have been no way we could have pulled off what you did’.”
Acendas Travel agents have also come to the aid of their customers in
many other ways, as well. “We’ve calmed them down; taken care of
accommodation arrangements for quarantine; provided a plan for the rest
of the trip; and rebooked the return flight,” Weeks said. “We then
assisted them with their insurance claim upon their arrival home.”
Antoine D. Wilson of A.D. Elite Travels also received praise from
clients for an African safari he booked, “making their travels seamless
from visas to Covid test scheduling; and notifying them of the US change
in Covid testing requirements to 24 hours from the previous 72 hours
while they were abroad, which was lifesaving, prevented headaches, and
delays at the airport”.
He added, “Travel advisors [provide] a gamut of knowledge and
experience. They cover all the bases and remind you of things that the
average traveller may forget.”
Amy Grant of Custom Design Travel, an affiliate of Travel Experts,
had a couple travelling to Greece, with a quick overnight in Paris on
the way home.
“While they were travelling, the new requirements came out changing
the time frame of their Covid test from 72 hours to 24 hours,” she said.
“This proved quite tricky because their flight to Paris was right at
the 24-hour mark, and they were arriving late that evening.” Grant
worked with her Virtuoso onsite partner and its Paris hotel to find a
pharmacy nearby that offered the test.
“The concierge walked my clients to the pharmacy the next morning and
made sure they got right in for their test – such a relief for all,’
she said. “This reminds me of the amazing partnerships that I have
through my amazing Virtuoso network.”
“The past two years have shown that travellers need an advocate in
their corner when they are planning travel,” said Chris Caulfield, owner
of CruiseOne. “I spent countless hours on hold dealing with refunds and
rescheduling cruises. That is time I saved my clients.”
“We had a honeymoon couple that decided on their own that an Antigen test would work for their travel to St Lucia, said Kim Cook of Love to Travel, who had to quickly rectify their clients' mistake. Photo Credit: gettyimages/John Morioka
In the view of Kim Cook of Love to Travel, navigating through the
myriad and ever-changing Covid protocols has been one of the most
important reasons for consumers to use a travel agent.
“We have answered hundreds of questions from nervous travellers
wondering if they have the right test, did they fill the forms out
properly, and what happens if they test positive in the destination,”
“We had a honeymoon couple that decided on their own that an Antigen
test would work for their travel to St Lucia. They had been advised by
us as to what was required and had even read through the St Lucia
website, but they still got the Antigen test.
“These are the most frustrating situations when we have given all the
information they need, and they don’t follow the instructions. The
night before they left, they called in a panic as St Lucia wouldn’t
accept their Antigen test.”
Love to Travel arranged for their PCR test the next morning at a
local company that turned them around in approximately one hour.
“We changed their flights and notified the resort of their delay and
even got the resort to extend their stay so they wouldn’t lose a night
of their honeymoon,” Cook said. “ Even though it was the clients’
mistake, we worked hard to make sure they were still able to have their
“Our jobs have gotten five times harder as we are now not only
trusted travel advisors, but gurus of all things Covid travel-related,
said Sarah Kline, president of Time for Travel. “It’s equally exhausting
and exhilarating. I love that travellers are going back to selecting to
use true live professionals and not just blindly booking online.”
As Weeks of Acendas puts it, “If they opt not to use our services, all I can say is, ‘Good Luck’.”
Source: Travel Pulse