A conversation with one of our Society of International Railway Travelers (IRT) clients one recent Sunday morning went like this:
Text to my phone early morning: “My passport is lost! We are in London. Help!!”
Hours later: “You are an angel. Thanks for spending your Sunday on this!”
The next day: “We have a new US PASSPORT in hand! Thank you, thank you for your help yesterday!” – ecstatic IRT guests, who could then fly to Italy to join their luxury train journey.
Chuck Flagg wrote about “minor inconveniences” earlier this year on TRO, and I thought about that as I began rubbing the sleep out of my eyes to tend to this potential catastrophe.
This was really inconvenient for me. I had barely opened my eyes. I had not even had my morning tea – much less my oatmeal. I was still in my nightgown. I missed out on the joy of a carefree and sunny weekend afternoon. But as soon as I saw the SOS, I texted them back – and then called them to begin problem-solving.
Mildly frustrating? Yes, but only temporarily.
We have a policy of delivering the very best in personal service – which includes 24/7 on-duty services to clients while they travel. Our clients come to us because of our 35 years of experience and expertise in luxury rail travel – but they stay with us and come back again and again because of consistently caring, dedicated, and professional service.
How we do this:
- We only work with the best, most responsive partners around the world. In this case, it was the five-star Savoy Hotel in London. We do not do this just so we can make more commission. We do this because the best partners are most likely to care for VIP clients like these and lend an expert hand if your client has a problem.
- We charge a professional fee to book extensions to our train trips.
- We provide travelers with our personal cell phone number so that they can quickly and painlessly reach us in the event of an emergency (such as a lost passport).
- Just before clients leave home, we email a quick “Bon Voyage” with a reminder to check in if there are issues – and while they are traveling, we send another email or text to check in. These brief missives allow us to be “top of mind,” so we can begin problem-solving immediately should there be any issues.
On this recent Sunday, after a flurry of calls and emails back and forth to London, we had our plan of action. And by Monday morning, after an early appointment at the US Embassy, they had the new passport in hand.
I worked with the Savoy to extend their stay in London one night. I worked with our air partner, MilesAhead, to rearrange their flights to Venice. And I rescheduled their private transfers and communicated with the Golden Eagle Danube Express train to alert them of their late arrival.
“You are an angel. Thanks for spending your Sunday on this!” said the daughter.
Angelic? I wasn’t feeling exactly angelic by the time my day was over. But I appreciated the sentiment.
And this is what professionals do — especially for our super, lifelong and wonderful clients who travel with us again and again and refer us to their friends and family. This is the kind of service you definitely cannot get anywhere else. It is our privilege to provide it — and it’s this expert solving of potential travel disasters that separates true advisors from the herd.
Wouldn’t you — and your clients — like this kind of deluxe treatment? If you aren’t offering around-the-clock concierge services now, it’s high time you consider it.
Eleanor Flagler Hardy is co-owner and president of The Society of International Railway Travelers®(IRT), a Virtuoso agency based in Louisville, Kentucky. IRT has been the premier source for luxury train travel the world over for more than 35 years.
IRT’s award-winning publication is The International Railway Traveler’s “Best-Loved Railway Journeys.” E-mail email@example.com to request a hard copy for yourself or your valued clients. It is the ‘bible’ of luxury train travel!