The Coronavirus Diaries Of A Travel Agent
The Coronavirus Diaries Of A Travel Agent
Right now, I should be at the very apex of my busiest season. I should be answering multiple inquiries each day, booking dozens of flights, Caribbean resort stays and incredible trips across Europe. However, the only calls I am getting are to cancel upcoming trips, cruises and flights. The finer details of, say, a romp in the Maldives should be top of my mind. Instead, it’s the coronavirus.
I feel really bad for people that chose to book online right now. The global coronavirus pandemic has upended the travel industry, sending customers into a panic as they race to get refunds and reschedule upcoming trips. For travelers who booked their vacations with online booking agents such as Expedia or BookIt.com, the experience is compounded with frustration and anger as they struggle to get a hold of someone on the phone, and worry about potential money lost.
A press release came out from BookIt.com, who essentially shut down their entire operation, leaving their employees with no jobs and their customers to fend for themselves to cancel or rebook upcoming and/or future vacations, or even worse….. figuring out how to get home if they are currently traveling..
On social media, customers who booked with Expedia complained of excessively long call times and being unable to get through to a representative, leading to travelers being unable to make any changes to their travel plans or start refunds. Some people said they could not get a hold of someone for as much as 24 hours and one person said they called over 30 times. At one point, Expedia said “we are currently experiencing technical difficulties and can’t take your call right now.” What kind of customer service is that??
While airlines and hotels are issuing refunds for bookings made through advisors, those who booked online have to have their cancellation first go through Expedia; Good Luck!!
Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Well I can tell you, IT IS!! Our office has canceled and/or rebooked dozens of trips in the past few weeks, and it’s heartbreaking for us and for our business. But we are not a toll-free number for our clients, we are your friend and advocate, and we are working around the clock to do everything we can to protect our client’s interest. Instead of our clients wondering how to cancel or rebook their trip, and spending hours on the phone on hold to accomplish this, it is us, your Trusted Trasformativa Agent doing this for you. If you were actively traveling during the midst of the coronavirus chaos, we were on the phone with our tour operator creating an exit plan for our clients.
When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started warning about coronavirus spreading in the U.S., the calls and emails of travel requests just shut off. Less than two weeks ago, I was so busy I could barely type fast enough to make all the reservations I needed to. Today, I’m writing this newsletter instead. I wasn’t an agent when 9/11 happened, but I’ve heard stories from older colleagues about the uncertainty and fear that surrounded travel and the sudden cessation of business in our industry. What’s happening now feels like what they’ve described.
But never fear…. this too shall pass and the travel industry will once again BOOM!!! Going forward I’m educating my clients on exciting destinations for future travel, and posting pictures of those destinations on my social media outlets, to peak some interest. And….. once we are free to travel again, the airlines, resorts and hotels are going to be offering FANTASTIC Specials and Deals for travelers to make up for the lost tourism during this pandemic. So…. give us a call and let’s make a plan so that we can jump on those deals when they are announced.
And remember, the next time you are planning your next travel adventure, be sure to book with your Trusted Trasformativa Agent, Your Partner In Travel!!
TRAVEL IN COLOR – NOT BLACK AND WHITE
ABOUT TRASFORMATIVA TRAVEL
Trasformativa is a US based travel company with offices located in Durham, NC and Clarksville, VA. We are focused exclusively on transformational travel. Our experienced and qualified travel agents offer many different types of transformational travel opportunities. We work with individuals and groups of many sizes to help them find a true difference. Most of the people who contact us are luxury travelers and leaders of groups who are traveling together. This includes, yoga or fitness instructors, health and wellness professionals, human resource directors, sales managers, CEO’s, church group leaders, corporate trainers, personal chefs, wedding planners, brides, corporate travel professionals, and also individuals looking to plan an exciting and out-of-the-way trip for a group of their friends.
Our transformational opportunities include Exotic Group Travel, Jamaica Travel, Caribbean Travel, Europe Travel, Incentive Travel Reward Programs, Destination Training Events, Autism Travel, Girls Getaway
To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.