The Value of a Travel Advisor Is Priceless When It Comes to Peace of Mind
The price of an airline ticket reserved through Largay Travel: $40
The warmth and tranquility of spending the holidays with your relatives, and not (3330+) angry, hostile, desperate strangers at the airport…..PRICELESS!
Twas the night after Christmas and all throughout the Northeast..not a plane was departing, we were all stuck in the house….
A typical phenomenon in our respective lives is that we never truly appreciate or value an insurance policy until ‘disaster’ presents itself. Prior to any ”event”, we have either begrudgingly paid the monthly premiums, or conveniently delude ourselves into the mindset that “it will never happen to me”. So why should I waste my Starbucks latte funds on something so foolish as insurance?
Well, this past Christmas weekend the travel equivalent of the “100 year event” came in the form of a two foot snow storm and the unfortunate, ensuing, chain reaction for many travelers was disastrous. Of course that was the case if you didn’t use a travel specialist. The reality is that depending upon the channel through which reservations were booked (Internet/ retail travel agent!), you were either saved or sacrificed.
The reality was that if planes couldn’t land, then they obviously couldn’t take off either. All holiday plans, whether they involved a simple , but long anticipated visit to a relative, or perhaps a more complex South American cruise experience were all put on hold. Literally and figuratively!
So what is the difference in the experience for travelers. Well, those who booked online or with a airline directly had an average hold time in excess of three hours that is, IF, the phone system even allowed you to hold. Unfortunately for many, when a “live” agent did finally pick up, they did so with less than desirable flight options. You see the week between Christmas and New Year’s was already sold out, so when flights cancelled due to weather, there were no flights to re-book stranded travelers on. Limited by both the demand on the system and the experience of the airlines agent, creativity and personalization were NOT the primary concerns or motivational incentives of the airline agents. Simply processing the current call and responding to the next anguished call was the order of the day.
Without sounding entirely self serving or boastful, Largay Travel’s specialists response to the travel crisis began (48) hours prior to the arrival of the storm. You see on Saturday a report was run showing all travelers who would be potentially affected by the ensuing storm. Travel Specialists contacted and, in many instances, re-booked on earlier flights thereby circumventing the subsequent fallout. In cases where the flights could not be rescheduled in advance, agents virtually held clients hands as they were talked through the process of rescheduling. The added anxiety of not knowing what to do, what the available menus of options were, or being placed on hold indefinitely was bypassed entirely.
Additionally, there were creative, out of the box travel solutions to be offered that the airline just wouldn’t offer. For example, one client was scheduled to travel on Monday from White Plains to West Palm. Knowing that the flight would most likely be cancelled, the clients were re-scheduled on Sunday to depart on Tuesday instead. Being proactive allowed our agent to find space prior to the flights selling out. Another client who was scheduled to depart Newark on Tuesday evening, well after the storm had cleared, sat on the tarmac for over 3 hours before the flight was cancelled. The airline offered the next available flight from Newark, which was four days later. Since this was not an option for the client who is attending the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix, the Largay Specialist was on the phone at 11:30 at night reserving a hotel and a car rental, so the client could get the next available flight out of Washington Dulles Airport the next day. Certainly the airline would have never offered this option but the travel specialist knew that a 4 hour drive was nothing compared to missing the big game with his grandson. The reality is that the Largay Specialists were able to offer options to clients based upon personal insights they have with each client individually. Simply stated, there was no one size fits all mentality, or mass production processing that Internet clients had to endure.
The obvious value of the ‘insurance policy’ benefits of utilizing a travel advisor will long be remembered by both those who did and did not. Many family holiday reunions and Caribbean getaways were successfully preserved because of an old fashioned concept called proactive customer service and client loyalty.
We are proud to be your Travel Specialists and for all the wonderful memories we help ensure. We value and appreciate the trust you have placed in our services, and will do everything in our power to continue to earn your respect and business in the new year.
May sunny skies shine down upon us all and may you recognize all of your travel dreams in the year ahead.