10 Mistakes a Travel Agent Can Prevent
Whether it’s a first honeymoon, second honeymoon, family get-away or a business trip, travelers depend on their travel agents to get them where they want to go, when they want to get there. There are lots of tools that travel agents can use to give clients want they want and to prevent losing a client, getting bad publicity or, even worse, a lawsuit.
1. Wrong Place
If cousin Patti is getting married in Portland, Maine and you book your client on a plane to Portland, Oregon, Portland, Tennessee, Portland, Texas or Portland, Connecticut, your client might have a great story to tell at cocktail parties…a year or two after the disaster. But at the time of the event, the Travel Agent can become the target of blame.
Repeating the client’s words: “Texas. Paris, Texas?” and following up after they’ve been sent confirmation can promote good will and prevent litigation.
Having Travel Agent Insurance (also known as Travel Agent Errors and Omissions) could avert disaster for an agency, especially if Cousin Patti’s wedding was actually in Portland, England.
2. Wrong Time
Many business travelers have time constraints and places to be in order to make money. Missing a 9AM meeting because they were scheduled for a 7PM instead of a 7AM flight can cost them, and the travel agency. And if someone is late for Aunt Eleanor’s funeral, which can never be rescheduled, the client may not only walk away and never use the travel agency again, but may tell others not to use the agency’s services. Good communication and follow up will get the client where they need to be, when they need to be there. Travel Agency Errors and Omissions Insurance can help cover any losses incurred when things don’t go as planned.
3. Stormy Weather
Being a June bride and honeymooning in Costa Rica may sound romantic, but the bride might not be aware that the rainy season, in June, can, literally, put a damper on the honeymoon. A ruined honeymoon can give rise to a very angry bride. Clear and careful discussions with clients, especially if they are not seasoned travelers, go a long way toward arranging the perfect trip.
4. No Room
It happens. After hours of traveling, a client gets to their hotel and told their room has not been booked. If that was a travel agency omission, Travel Agent Insurance (also know has Travel Agency E&O Insurance) can save the agency from additional expense and possible litigation. Discussing possible solutions with agency staff for times when problems arise can help to stave off disaster.
5. Cabin Fever
A room described as an “ocean view” cabin on a cruise ship may have a view of a life boat blocking the view of the ocean. Experienced travel agents know what to look for when booking a cruise, but a less experienced travel agent may not. Travel Agency Errors and Omissions Insurance covers employees and independent contractors.
6. No Transfer
The client is stuck at an airport, waiting for the transport they were told would be there when they arrived. Not a good beginning to what was supposed to be a great vacation. It’s always a good policy for every travel agent to have contingency plans ready for potential problems. An apology, maybe even a limo, can go a long way toward keeping the client’s business..
7. Poor Location
Being booked into a hotel that turns out to be a “no-tell motel” in a bad part of town can be scary. Being available, so that clients can get in touch with someone at the agency, keeping communication open with clients, can help to resolve problems. Doing research and asking other travelers about an area, especially when you see a “red flag,” can ward off a bad experience for the client and bad publicity for the agency.
8. Travel for Two
Mrs. Smith wants to go to Paris. Mr. Smith has no desire to go to Paris, but it’s Mrs. Smith who is booking their trip. It’s always a good idea, when one person is booking a trip, to ask about the interests of their traveling companion, or companions. An irate Mr. Smith, who didn’t want to be in Paris in the first place, will be more likely to consider litigation if things go wrong. There is probably something in Paris that Mr. Smith can enjoy. It’s up to the creative travel agent to find out what that is.
9. Best Deal
Everyone wants the best deal. Many people go on line, see inexpensive vacation packets and get irate when their travel agent quotes them a higher price or even a comparable price. Consumers need to be better educated about the work that travel agents do. The best travel agents have access to discount air fares, great hotel accommodations and tours and have established good working relationships with travel industry management and staff. Explaining the difference between being ‘on your own’ during a trip and working with a travel agent who ‘has your back’ can gain you a trusted client.
10. Total Loss
They don’t happen often, but mistakes do happen and plans can fall apart. Owning up to a mistake, acknowledging an error, apologizing, giving a refund and/or a generous gift can all go a long way to keeping a client from going elsewhere and telling others not to use your travel agency.
Trust and goodwill are the basis for good relationships. Following up with a client, solving a problem, especially if they’re still traveling (like an room upgrade at your expense) can save a travel agent from losing a client and make them think twice about proceeding with litigation.
Travel agents get used to expecting the unexpected. A Travel Agency Errors and Omissions Insurance policy won’t stop the unexpected from happening, but it will help when the unexpected happens.
or contact Insurance Innovations today to speak with a dedicated insurance professional.
Ruthanne Terrero, Embrace Your Mistakes. May 7, 2007. http:/www.travelagentcentral.com.
Larry Olmsted, Why You Need a Travel Agent, Forbes. Jan. 20, 2012.
Alina Bradford, Angie’s List/ Oct. 2, 2012. www.angieslist.com.
Jennifer Goldberg. Top 10 Most Expensive Travel Mistakes. Readers Digest. http://www.readersdigest.ca.