After seeing the chaos and panic from friends and family trying to sort through their existing travel bookings, Lena Nielson from Travel Associates in Sydney and Jake Cassar from Travel Counsellors, based in Melbourne decided to step in and extend their support to everyone.
When mobile agents Lena Nielson and Jake Cassar posted shout outs to all of their friends on Facebook offering assistance to anyone regardless of who they’d booked with, it created a tidal wave of positive sentiment.
In what is another fantastic advertisement and inspiration for travel agents everywhere, these two customer service gurus have shown the real value of staying human in troubled times.
How did they do it? By merely caring for others first and thinking about the bigger, long-term picture.
Here’s what they both had to say about their experience over the last couple of days since they posted their shout outs.
Lena Nielson, Travel Associates
“It’s a fight to save the industry at the moment, and if that means helping travellers that have booked through other brands or competitors, it’s an excellent time for travel agents to show their value and worth.
“The simple fact is that when coronavirus is out of the headlines and people start travelling again; those same people will hopefully understand the value and worth of an agent.
“So far, I’ve been mostly helping calm people. A lot of people with forward travel plans have touched base asking for advice. If they have booked online or direct they don’t usually understand the benefits of holding off on decision making until a proper strategy is in place for their dates and destinations that will offer more leniency in changes or cancellations.
“It’s also humbling to see so many people in the industry remaining positive and working, some for free and some knowing they won’t have a job for months because of this yet still working for the love of their brand.
“Since Saturday, I have spoken with 22 people via social media who had questions or needed help with travel plans.”
“I truly believe that everyone in our industry should be spreading positivity and kindness and help where you can.”
Lena Nielson, Travel Associates Sydney
Jake Cassar, Travel Counsellors
“The start of what felt like the collapse of the travel industry a couple of weeks ago saw me googling other jobs to pay the bills. I have now changed my outlook and instead of thinking about just making money, feel we have to unite as travel agents and show the world how needed we are; because the internet isn’t replying!”
“I posted a message yesterday to all of my clients, long story short to ‘please be patient with me during these times, and I have not forgotten about them and am working through the most urgent of bookings in departure date order’. I also mentioned that even if you haven’t booked with me, online or direct, I am here to help as best as I could.
“The influx of messages since overnight has been overwhelming, many being online bookings with people not knowing where they stand or still waiting to hear from online agents who won’t reply to their messages. I have done and given my best advice.”
“What’s been awesome is that I’ve been able to rebook and help a lot of new (now!) clients get home. I’ve spent the last (and am still on hold) day trying to get someone who booked online out of Colombia via the US home. After escaping Brazil before they imposed a potential border closure, they had landed into Colombia to a mandatory 14-day quarantine that was put in place as they were flying.
“I have contacted the Australian embassy in Bogota to get clearance to break quarantine to get to the airport tomorrow with the only flight available via Panama which we have been notified may now be closed. Watch this space for the outcome!”
Jake Cassar, Travel Counsellor Melbourne
What a fantastic example of #TOGETHERINTRAVEL!
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