The customer service agents at Global Connections know that vacations are often far more stressful than they should be. A time that is meant to be relaxing and fun can turn into a nightmare when things go wrong. It’s no wonder that customer service has become an important component of travel agencies and vacation clubs like Global Discovery Vacations. Companies like Global Connections are making it a priority, and it’s working out very well for their travel club members.
Booking a vacation used to require working in-person with a travel agent who had the information and connections to do all the dirty work. When the days of the Internet arrived, travelers could finally make those decisions on their own accord by conducting their own research. While some people think that quality travel service has disappeared since the advent of the Internet, that’s far from the case.
As travel agencies have transitioned to the Internet realm, they’ve evolved to ensure the highest level of customer support. According to The New York Times, online travel agencies are morphing into “consumer champions,” with responsive and helpful call-center agents that will respond to emergencies and do what they can to ensure the vacation proceeds smoothly.
A good travel agent or vacation company can mean the difference between a dream vacation and a nightmarish excursion. “The secret that most travelers who enjoy stress-free vacations keep in their back pocket is a really good travel agent,” said Mary Clegg, VP of the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA), as reported by Everyday Health.
Traditional travel agents often provided these services, but such companies often charge a heftier price. Companies like Global Connections, an online travel club with offices around the country, are providing a high level of support while keeping prices low by combing the Internet with warm, personal phone assistance.
Indeed, companies including Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity have new customer service initiatives, and everyone seems to competing for the same goal of providing the best experience for their clients. The benefits for the overall vacation industry are enormous. According to The American Society of Travel Agents, travel agents sell 85 percent of all cruises and 70 percent of tours and vacation packages.
Travelers who work with a solid customer service team will save more than just stress. It can save you a lot of time when you’re letting a knowledgeable agent find the right travel option for your situation and budget. Global Connections’ agents know about the best deals and itineraries available. They can often find the best package or promotion and generally have information that you might not have access to.
“Time is what we give most to our members. We know when someone calls, they want the person on the other end of the phone to listen to what they need, and take the time to explain solutions or research vacation options,” explains Eric Stout, Global Connections’ Operations Manager. “Our travel agents are experienced and professional, and able to give expert opinions to ensure the best vacation experiences possible for our travel club members, whether it’s a cruise or land package they want.”
In a crisis situation, having the support of a travel agent can be your biggest relief. Agents can assist when you miss a flight, are stuck on a tarmac, or if other unplanned circumstances create the need to re-book. Having the support and expertise of a customer service agent is crucial to the vacation experience.
Making travel plans requires some hefty decision-making, so it’s crucial to have a travel agent on your side to make the right recommendations. Agents often specialize in certain types of travel and can recommend the perfect package for your situation, ultimately saving you money and giving you the best vacation possible. They often have knowledge of the special perks, such as restaurant deals, room upgrades, and other details that will make your trip unforgettable.
Service is a key part of any successful travel club. As these companies are recognizing that fact more and more, the level of completion has increased and service offerings are getting better and better.
For example, Travelocity recently introduced its customer championship program, which includes investments into better technology to prevent travel disasters, such as notifications for weather delays and flight rescheduling. Expedia’s customer experience program allows agents to reschedule an entire vacation if a flight schedule makes a connection impossible. That kind of flexibility and customer focus used to be uncommon.
That isn’t to say that online agents will make all your dreams come true. “What online travel agencies are doing isn’t raising the expectations of their customers. They are helping them manage their expectations in a more realistic way,” explains Henry Harteveldt, a Forrester Research analyst, in a New York Times article.
The trend is apparent in the airline industry as well. Delta Airlines released its First Point of Contact program, which gives airline agents the training they need to best resolve problems immediately.
Planning a vacation on your own can feel like a freedom, but the reality is that a travel agency and a travel club can save you time, money, and stress. Thanks to dedicated efforts by travel clubs like Global Discovery Vacations, vacationers can get the support they need to ensure their vacation is everything they hoped for.
Carly Fiske contributed to this article.