How many of us have worked excruciatingly long hours to help a client in need. Whether it is due to airline issues, hotel issues, supplier issues, or just a plain passenger issues. We’ve all been there. However, when a client offers a simple thank you or gesture of gratitude; it makes it all worth it. Over the years, we’ve all have those amazing stories of how we’ve gone above and beyond our duties to help someone in need. Sometimes we do a poor job of letting others know what we do. Maybe we feel it is routine, but hey, here’s a chance to brag a little.
Here are 2 of my favorite ”call of duty” stories:
- An elderly doctor, who loved all things theater and shared my birthday date (we often laughed about this because he was in his 80’s and said in all his life nobody shared the same day with him), called into the office on a Saturday when technically we were closed. I happened to be there and answered his call. He was in a panic. His daughter went into early labor with his first grandchild. She was in New York and he was in Florida; and he needed to get on the next flight out as he wanted to be present for the delivery. Being that it was Christmas week, you can imagine how the flights looked. I scoured the GDS for an empty seat on any flight and found none. I told him to give me 10 minutes and I would call him back. A friend of mine works for a major airline, so I took a shot in the dark and called her at home. I advised her of the situation and she made one phone call and got him cleared in first class on the next flight out. When I called to let him know, he was overjoyed and extremely thankful. He made it. Two weeks later, a letter from the doctor arrives at the office for me. It was a picture of his beautiful granddaughter, two front row tickets to Phantom of the Opera on my birthday and a heartfelt thank you card. The doctor has since passed away, but I still receive Christmas cards from his daughter with pictures of his granddaughter born that day.
- A former boxing commissioner for my home state, who always flew to Las Vegas for ringside seats at all the top bouts, was a client in our office for years. He was very gruff, to the point and often grumpy. The agents had passed him down the line for years because no one wanted to deal with him; but he was a VIP who needed attention. Finally, it was my turn. I did everything he asked, searched high and low, pulled strings, cashed in favors, and did it all with a smile. After a while, we had become professional friends. I’m more to the point, direct, professional, and will tell it like it is. I was not intimidated by his status and was not a butt-kisser, and I think he respected me for that. After many years of bookings, bickering and bonding he’d found out from my boss that I was getting married and honeymooning (well partially) in Las Vegas. He called me on the phone and offered me his Penthouse Suite at the Rio for my trip. That was his way of saying thank you. Wow!
I keep my entire memento and thank you collection from clients. After 20 years there’s a pretty big file in my desk of letters, my bulletin board full of photos and postcards, and my hot sauce collection (yes I collect hot sauces from around the globe) has grown incredibly. Every now and then I pull out one of those letters and re-read them to remind me why I love what I do everyday.
We all want to feel appreciated for our efforts. Travel is inherently stressful and a simple thank you goes a long way. Remember to thank a supplier when they’ve helped you out, send a thank you note after you’ve taken a FAM, and show appreciation to those suppliers who appreciate you. Pay it forward and it will come back to you!
Do you have any good thank you stories to share?
Lisa Rapavi is a Corporate Travel Agent for The Leaders Group based in Montvale NJ. She is a home based working from her home in PA. She has been an agent for over 18 years, working in all facets of travel, but focus’ her travel skills in the corporate travel arena. Lisa can be contacted at L.Rapavi@tlgtravel.com