The Importance of reading emails

If your inbox is anything like mine (both personal and professional) you may be thinking on a regular basis, how do I get through all the email? What is considered junk and what needs to be read and kept and what can be read and deleted.

When you make an online purchase you are normally sent an email after completion confirming your purchase and all the details. I would suspect you would want to review it just confirm that all the details are correct, because if they are not, you have a very short window to make corrections to your order. This holds true for a travel purchase.

Case in point.

Back in June a client made a booking to Las Vegas. She had been looking between the Hard Rock and the Excalibur. She confirmed prices on the Excalibur and then went to price out the Hard Rock. She decided she wanted to book the Excalibur and proceeded to book the package. No brainer, right? Not quite.

The system needs a ‘refresh’ or it won’t go back to the original price and you end up purchasing the last item on your screen. This doesn’t only apply to travel as I have ended up with an extra item or two on my Best Buy order a couple of times.

She did receive a confirmation email about a minute after she booked the trip, followed by the agency invoice the next day. When did she decide to read the invoice and see that she booked the wrong hotel – one month later! The only reason she noticed the error was because she called the Excalibur to request a room next to her friends and they said she wasn’t booked there. That prompted her to look at the invoice and then call us freaking out that WE booked her at the wrong hotel. How could WE book the wrong hotel when you made the booking yourself. Of course to change it to the Excalibur now was going to cost her extra money. Money she felt she shouldn’t have to pay.

That led into no less than five conversations back and forth regarding the fact that she would never have booked the Hard Rock, it isn’t on the strip, I always book with your company, and this has never happened. I received a copy of her booking confirmation which is date and time stamped. When I sent it to her I asked if she received that as well as our invoice to which she replied, “yes, but I always book with you so why do I need to check it”. Well, because for this exact reason. I told her if you had reviewed your confirmation and your invoice on the date it was sent you would have seen the incorrect hotel and we would have been able to change it for you without any incident and probably without change fees.

She was not happy with that answer and said she would phone the tour operator herself. I suppose she didn’t get the answer she thought she would get and called me back the next day to pay for the change to the correct hotel. Once I made the change for her I asked her to review the email and confirm with me right away if she had any concerns about anything.

I can’t stress enough about the importance of going over all your details, regardless if you book on-line or with an agent. Any errors can cause a lot of grief down the road and closer to departure when availability can really become an issue. What would have happened if the Excalibur was sold out a month later when she called? She would have been staying at a different hotel than her friend and really unhappy. In this case she would have been 100% responsible for her end result.

It really is buyer beware so buyers – be aware.

If you want to speak to an experienced trained and certified professional I am always here for you.



Knowing it all or thinking you do

I appreciate that more and more people feel comfortable to research and book their own travel plans. I have said before that just because I can watch a you tube video on doing my own car oil change that I would attempt to do that myself. There are people that have dedicated their lives to such a job and I will pay for that service.

Most travel professionals that book leisure travel (at least that I know) don’t charge a fee for their services. I am in no way saying we shouldn’t charge a fee, but we do make money from the sale so in the end we are benefiting from the business we earn from the sales.

Recently I have been working with a friend of our family, whose travel experience is very minimal. She has a lot of friends who travel, one in particular who is very well travelled – with lots of opinions. Go here, don’t go there, that’s a good deal, this is what you should be paying. You know the type. We all know the type.

I was very happy that we the clients had decided on their trip and we had two lengthy discussions on travel insurance. What are the concerns for the parties involved, pre-existing conditions, medical questionnaires, etc. We sell Manulife insurance, which is one of the countries main insurance providers for Canadian travellers. Premiums were discussed and even though the costs were high, the customer understood the importance of such insurance. Great. Booking completed, client satisfied.

There are two suppliers Sunwing/Signature and Transat holidays that sell a travel waiver. It is not insurance and should not be sold that way. It is a waiver that states you can cancel up to 3 hour prior to your flight and get a refund. Not your money back, as there  are  ** beside this clause. Depending on when you cancel you would get future travel vouchers back, not money. When you take real insurance if you have to cancel you would get money back. This waiver is $50 or $79 if you want medical included. This price is much less than the price I offered to the client. Her friend was appalled that I would offer her friend such high insurance and didn’t I know about the Sunwing waiver?

Of course I know about the waiver. I asked the woman, if she was aware of the fact that you don’t get money back if you cancel? She had no idea what I was talking about. I know what I am talking about. I told her with certainty that I offered my clients what was best for them. This was their first trip like this and if they had to cancel for a medical reason future travel vouchers wouldn’t work for them, they need to be ensured to get their money back. She continued to ‘school’ me on the ins and outs of the travel industry. I did tell her three times that I have been in the travel industry for over 26 years.

My client, a family friend for my whole life was very embarrassed by the phone call and events of the conversation. I asked her if she was okay with my recommendations and she said she was. I was okay with that. I advised her that I don’t recommend the product that the friend was taking, that it really isn’t in her best interest and she was okay with that.

There is something that I find myself repeating over again in this blog – just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Leave it to the professional  to recommend what is best for their clients.

If you have any questions about the travel waivers vs. proper insurance please ask  me and I would be more than happy to assist you.

Buyer beware!



Hearing but not listening to the answers

1922127_424357944333742_548279602_nHow many questions related to your job are you asked on any given day? I know it would depend on your profession. Even if you aren’t working with the ‘public’ per se, you are working with other individuals and come across questions and answers every day.

In my field of travel sales, I am questioned every day about hundreds of different scenarios: where should I go; when is the best time to go there; how can I get the best deal; do I need a passport just to name a few.

There are many times throughout any given day that I am asked to provide a professional opinion, my best options, offers and advice. I would say that more times than not I am questioned about the answers I provide to people looking for help and guidance. They also have a habit of asking the same questions over again if they are hearing the answer they want to hear and refuse to listen to the answer you are giving them. Yesterday was one of those times.

A customer called up and advised she needs an emergency flight for a family member to the Philippines due to a death in the family. The traveller’s passport was only valid for three months past the travel period and would that be okay. When I replied that the passport had to be valid for at least six months past the period of travel, the reply was, “well on the Philippines website it doesn’t say that”. Well, that could be true, which is why you are calling me, which is why I am advising that it needs to be valid for six months.

It didn’t end there. She asked again, if she was able to get proof from the website that all that was required was a valid passport would she be okay and be allowed on the flight. I said the same answer as before, that passports need to be valid for six months past period of travel. She mentioned that she saw on the air Canada website that it says valid passport required but not for how long. I replied that for different countries there are different validity dates.

She asked again, but this time she said, I am calling because I am looking for guidance and an answer to my situation. I did say to her that I understand the urgency of her situation and need to get there as soon as possible but she will need to go to the passport office to get an expedited passport. If she booked the ticket and was denied boarding for insufficient time on her passport, we would not be held responsible.

I think the exchange went back and forth about five times. I politely said to her that even though I know she is looking for me to say that the person travelling would be okay with a passport without the validity that I would not be able to say that.

I will always remember my uncle telling me on my very first day at my very first travel job that I needed to always have a valid passport. He said, “what if your manager told you that you were going to Cuba tomorrow and you said your passport wasn’t valid?” I know that this traveller is not in the travel business, but you never know when you may need to travel and need your valid passport. Six months before my passport is set to expire, I am getting a new one. Thankfully I don’t have to think about it again until July 2024 six months before my current one expires.