Understandably, it can be upsetting for Agents to lose their business to online players, but every now and then a Super Agent shines through by assisting in fixing a holidaymaker’s booking when something goes wrong.
And then they ultimately win back their customer.
Among these generous consultants is Luke Vaughan, a top Travel Manager, ex-Flightie and first-rate eye candy.
He explains what happened:
“Customers are terrified by reviews of OTA’s leaving clients stranded, acknowledge the importance of the service that agents offer, then get distracted by the “bright lights” of a $25 online discount and repeat the same mistake.
“When they come to plan a proper journey following another Webjet debacle, ‘I told you so’ seems appealing but even the most disgruntled travel agent won’t go there.
“Customers know our service is good as evidenced by their desperate call hoping you can pull some strings to solve an issue at 10pm because they booked to save a few bucks.”
Then there’s Gary Seignior, a veteran agent from Hampton Travel and Cruise (local footballing and baseball legend) who spoke about some long-term customers who decided to Airbnb all by themselves:
“I got 6.30am call as the place was inhabitable and that I needed to find him an alternative NOW as he had a dinner appointment and the Uber waiting out front with their luggage.
“I found him a property in the same location in the price range within this period of time, SMS’d the confirmation and called the property to expect luggage to be dropped off by the Uber driver and if they could hold it for him. They obliged.
“The client enjoyed his night out on the town in NYC and returned to a comfortable and well located hotel in NYC.”
Gold Gary, Gold.
Jo Kennedy from Kennedy and Turner, a super successful agent with vast experience (with SUPER high expectations from wholesalers) had a similar tale:
“I have had a group of six ladies who booked an Airbnb for Milan for five nights. They called three days before they were to leave saying they received an email and the property was overbooked. When I did look at the location it was about a 20 minute drive out of the center of the city.
“It was then a Mad rush to then rebook a hotel. I think the clients were silently happy that they were forced to amend and the new hotel that I booked for them was in a much better location and the clients were very happy with the result.”
Karsten Horne, who, when he is not saving the world, run’s Reho Travel in Sydney and Melbourne:
“I had pax in south Africa with emirates, booked on OTA. Family emergency and needed to change their flight. Amazingly the virtual agent couldn’t help…Although i couldnt touch their booking, I was able to advise them on what was available and get them to contact the airline direct to request the changes.
“Another pax in Europe, also OTA booking. Missed their flight home. All flights heavily booked. OTA no help. Managed to get them on a reasonable one way fare home so they could get back to work in time. Worth more to be home than the cost of the flight.”
It is clear these Agents, all from competing brands within our industry, go above and beyond when it comes to customer service and looking after clients…
… but Luke goes one step further:
“Spruiking the merits of our service just isn’t cutting it. We need to return to an ancient technique lost when the majority of our client interaction made its way onto the keyboard: salesmanship.
“If the enemy offers variety, offer clarity by whittling the confusing list of airlines down to only four and five star carriers.
“If the enemy is banking on a price war, flank them with a package offering with a two night stopover including breakfast and private transfers.
“While the enemy demands instant payment, we can hold the seat while we let our customer discuss it.”
Not just a pretty face Luke.
Do you have a similar tale? Share it with us below.
Share this story