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AS THE WORLD SHUT DOWN, I WENT TO WORK

AS THE WORLD SHUT DOWN, I WENT TO WORK

Back in March, many travelers who “booked their own travel online” would have heard a message like this “Your call is important to us. All our representatives are currently assisting other customers. Your estimated wait time is two to three hours.” When they finally were able to speak to a live person, in many cases, they were not offered much help.

Did I have this message on my phone message? NO – I was available 24/7.

What the pandemic has taught us is that having a Professional Travel Advisor help plan your trip has made our value more apparent.

I, along with all the agents at Trasformativa Travel worked tirelessly around the clock to get our clients home safely, applied for refunds or credits for future travel and helped them rebook a future trip. We truly served as an advocate for them and did everything we could to help protect their travel investment.

It required long, tedious hours, and no earnings. It was the most challenging time of our career. My obligation was to take as much worry away from my clients as possible. As much as I wish I were making sales instead of refunding trips, I had to do the right thing for my clients. My focus was on walking clients through all their options to postpone versus cancel so they could make the best decision for themselves. I made it 100% right for each and every one of them!

Despite the impact the Coronavirus has had on the travel industry, I am remaining optimistic about the future of my business. I’m focused on preparing for the surge in travel I know will come when my clients feel it’s safer to travel. I know it will take some time for the travel industry to fully recover and that travel will look a little different, but I know travel agents will play a huge role in the industry’s resurgence.

I have been reading some recent horror stories of travelers “booking it themselves”. For example, being denied entry to countries such as Greece because they had failed to fill in the (Passenger Locator Form) correctly. Others have arrived to find their hotel closed or changed without prior notice. Why inflict that kind of stress on yourselves when someone like your Trasformativa Agent is here to guide you through?

With guidelines and policies varying by destination and supplier on an almost daily basis, it can be a lot to process by yourself. Travel agents will be key to helping travelers navigate this new world and provide guidance on safe destinations and activities. If clients who are going to travel want to know they will be safe, that’s what we are here for. It’s our mission to ensure everything is in place, protected and safe. When it goes wrong, you have someone advocating on your behalf to protect your travel investment.

Please contact Your Trusted Trasformativa Agent with any questions – We are truly here to help!

 

 

 

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 ProgramsDestination Training Events,  Autism Travel, Girls Getaway

To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.

 

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To Travel Or Not To Travel In 2020

To Travel Or Not To Travel In 2020??

We know many of you are eager to travel; so are we!!  However, we are recommending to our clients that they not travel right now (especially internationally) because we just can’t offer or guarantee the pre-Covid-19 experience that we strive to provide to all our travel customers.

Currently our agency isn’t selling any travel for 2020 at all, because as travel professionals, we feel it isn’t right to encourage anyone to risk their lives or well being just to take a trip.  However, for those travelers who are itching to go somewhere, we are providing options (and some great specials) for travel in 2021.  With relaxed cancellation and refund policies through our preferred tour operators, Plan Now – Travel Later, is a great option to satisfy your travel blues.

As the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, the growing uncertainties about how long it will last, what aspects of travel are safe and what the travel experience will be like puts focus on the fine line that we as travel advisors and travel suppliers are walking between keeping our businesses afloat and risking long-term damage to our reputation and our customer relationships that we have built over the years by selling the wrong trip, or selling too soon.

This was made more evident recently with the cruise industry, which made headlines anew last week as passengers on several of the first ships to set sail since the pandemic began testing positive for Covid-19, despite recording negative tests just before their departure. There has been some criticism that the cruise restarted sailing too soon.  Most cruise lines are currently halting sailings untli the end of October when they will once again re-evaluate whether to resume cruising at that time.

While we would love to get back on the road as soon as possible, as we know you all do, we at Trasformativa are taking an increasingly cautious approach as the crisis has dragged on and uncertainties have mounted. Travel protocols are constantly changing, flights continue to be cancelled, and obtaining Covid test results in a timely manner for travel authorization, are just a few of the stumbling blocks we are seeing on an ongoing basis.

We are in constantly in contact with our preferred tour operators and Tourist Board representatives and ask that they be vocal, and honest, about whether it is safe, or not for our travel customers to come to their destinations.

While many guided tour and group travel companies and cruise lines have officially pushed back start dates only through the fall, conversations about restarting is increasingly focused on 2021; and when in 2021 is still a question mark.

What we are telling our travel clients who call us and are eager to travel, as many Caribbean islands are opening again to tourism, we are telling everybody, don’t push it, because we would hate to make a booking only to have to cancel or rebook it down the road; or even worse….. have a bad travel experience.  As we say at Trasformativa, You Can’t Return A Bad Vacation!!

We know you are itching to travel, as we are still fielding a lot of calls, but we’re also encouraging our travel customers not to book now because we know our clients.  Our clients expect a certain level of experience when they book a trip with us, and we don’t want you to be disappointed and not have the experience that you are expecting or hoping for.

The thing is, it’s not about something or a destination being open. If our customers are going to spend all this money, they don’t want to spend it for a different experience than they are expecting. You don’t want to walk around the hotel in a mask. You want to use the spa, and you don’t want to sit in the restaurants or at breakfast at the hotel and it’s not that enjoyable experience you want it to be.

While some travelers are opting for a domestic destination this summer, they have a good time, but it wasn’t the experience they wanted for the money they spent.

So…Be Patient!!  TRAVEL WILL RETURN!!!  For now, while we are obsessing over when we can travel again, right now we can and should be using this time to plan future travel and possibly booking travel and taking advantage of the great deals that are out there right now.  Again, with relaxed cancellation and refund policies in place, what have you go to lose???

 

 

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 ProgramsDestination Training Events,  Autism Travel, Girls Getaway

To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.

 

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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!!

Stay Healthy!!!

 

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 ProgramsDestination Training Events,  Autism Travel, Girls Getaway

To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.