Early summer has been known to be a slow booking time, but in the last week my agency has experienced an uptick in phone calls and walk ins. Whichever agent is not busy or on the phone receives these clients. This is one of the most interesting aspects of my job. I treat that client as a mystery. They could want anything. I want to help this person get to where they need to go.
This week I had three clients walk in with very different and interesting situations. The first was a passenger of size. He knew he was considered too large to fit in one economy airplane seat. He needed my help to figure out if it was less expensive to buy two economy seats or one first class seat for his trip to Key West. I encouraged him to consider first class as his first choice because I wanted him to be comfortable. His dates were not flexible, so finding a first class seat all the way through from Boise to Key West that fit his budget was the challenge. When he first sat down with me, his attitude was one of defeat or maybe shame. He first tried to book online because he was embarrassed, but he couldn’t figure out how to get what he needed online. His mom suggested he see a travel agent to see if we could help. As I searched the flights, we chatted and I could see him begin to relax. I asked him about his trip and found out he was going to greet a friend who was coming home from serving overseas. His mood got brighter and brighter as he talked about the trip. By the time I found an air schedule that worked for him, he was so pleased and thankful that he didn’t mind that the ticket cost $200 over his initial budget. He was glad to pay it.
The second situation was a woman who called me and already had two nights booked on the Oregon coast but needed flights, a rental car and two more hotel nights but in two different cities. She started to look online but quickly decided she didn’t have time to figure out an itinerary that would work for her. She was driving when she called me and needed to book something that afternoon. I asked her several questions to find out what her expectations and needs were and an hour later called her with prices and information. She loved it and couldn’t believe I found everything she was looking for so soon and within her budget. She booked immediately and gushed her thanks.
My third interesting client for the week walked in and was clearly very stressed. He sat down and proceeded to tell me that his wife had laid their vacation decision at his feet and it was up to him to plan the perfect getaway. He had no idea where to start. He had looked at Costa Rica online but couldn’t really find a place that met all of his wife’s requirements: a fantastic beach, a new modern resort hotel and something adventurist for them to do one or two days during their stay for under $5000. Their 17 year old son was traveling with them and I found out his passport was expiring the same month they wanted to travel. So after listening to his needs and asking some clarifying questions, I suggested Hawaii instead of Costa Rica. He didn’t think Hawaii was in their budget but gave me the go ahead to figure it out. The other issue was timing. He needed to get something planned and booked to present to his wife in the next couple of days. I had my work cut out for me! I eventually found the perfect resort in Maui–and it came in just under budget. He was thrilled! In fact, he was so thrilled he is having me plan their trip to Italy next spring.
The common denominator with each of these clients was that they needed help and the Internet only went so far in meeting that need. By visiting with someone who had the time, resources and ability to help them, their vacation needs were met quickly and pleasantly with a personal touch. I’m looking forward to working with each of them in the future. A relationship was created. And that’s what it’s all about. Have you seen an uptick in former surfers in your agency?