This week TRO launches a new column highlighting the men and women who are the first line of support for travel professionals: res agents, help desks and business development managers.
Casey T. Law has been with Vacation Express since July, 1997. Having started out as a Reservations Coordinator and working his way up to Group Department Manager, his duties and responsibilities have varied from intercepting heavy call volume and offering high-level customer service to managing and leading a team that organizes itineraries for various types of groups including leisure and corporate incentive clientele and weddings.
Working at Vacation Express is like being part of a family. Everyone works together as a team in order to provide the best possible product and customer service in the industry, and each of us is appreciated for our strengths and contributions to the company’s success. Knowing that all of my colleagues strive to be personable, professional and productive makes it easy to come to work every day to share in the experience of the fast-paced travel business and ultimately exceed our clients’ expectations.
As Group Department Manager my job finds me serving as a role model providing support to an ever-growing team of customer-facing agents in a high-tempo call center environment. From negotiating contracts to reconciling vendor and client invoices, each day brings the need for quality checks and balances. In addition, I continue to assist in consulting our professional travel agent clientele for all group needs including making recommendations and reservations while regularly serving as liaison between clientele and international hospitality providers. While my responsibilities over the years have changed, I have always remained focused on providing excellent customer service.
One of my greatest challenges is often the limitations that come with requests for travel well into the future. Because most air carriers do not release space for sale until approximately 330 days prior to the return travel date (sometimes even less), it can make the execution of a formal proposal a little tricky. Generally, we work with a “land only” concept until airfare is released, and this usually works well for most clients. Because airfare can fluctuate wildly, we try to avoid providing any air estimates until we can obtain more concrete fares. In some cases, we are also at the mercy of the hotels when waiting for a future rate. Still, we encourage and appreciate those who prefer to plan in advance.
Many of the travel professionals with which we do business are seasoned in group travel, but some are not as experienced and rely on us to guide them through the process. I have found that the most crucial part of any successful program is communication, and I always encourage everyone to keep the lines open so that there is little room for misunderstanding. One can never provide too much information, and the more we know the better we can serve.
At the end of the day, I am gratified by the appreciation and trust I receive from clients and colleagues alike, and I know I cannot do my job alone. Remembering that no one is perfect helps keep things in perspective, but striving for perfection keeps me going.
To learn more about Vacation Express, one of the world’s leading travel suppliers, please visit http://www.vacationexpress.com/.