As I sit here on hold, so far 21 minutes and 36 seconds, to inquire about why a client hasn’t received a brochure that he has ordered direct from a river cruise line, I wonder once again why someone would not use a travel agent to handle their vacation planning.
I don’t know about you but I don’t think that sitting on hold is creating a fun and stress-free beginning of planning my trip.
It also doesn’t appeal to me that each time I have a question about what I have booked direct with a travel supplier or on one of those huge internet booking sites, whether it is an airline ticket, hotel reservation, cruise or tour package, I will once again have to enter the world of hold music… and then when the phone is finally answered (right now I am sitting here at 27 minutes 6 seconds) I will then have to explain, from the very beginning, who I am… what I have currently booked… and why I have called them.
Hopefully I remember all the questions that I wanted to ask before I complete my call.
Now what if I am sitting watching TV late one night and I have a question about my trip… better get up and make a note to myself to call the next day and inquire about that and choose a time of day that I have time to sit on hold for my answer. If I had used a travel agent I could send a quick email and ask that question and wake up the next morning to an answer to my question.
Did I get the best price on my trip?
Has the price gone down since I booked?
If it has will the cruise line or tour company call me and tell me?
Is the company that I used to book this trip actually even the best one suited to what I want to do? They told me when I called that it was but how do they know what other companies offer? That would be like McDonalds telling you that Burger King has a healthier burger at a better price as you sit in the drive through placing your order. I don’t think so!
Finally, it is 32 minutes and 29 seconds on hold and my call has been answered only to be told that the brochures are on back order. Good thing I have a spare one here in my office that I can mail to them.
What other profession do you know that will do all the leg work for you, share their vast knowledge of not just cruise and tour companies (the nuts and bolts of booking a trip) but also share their first-hand experience with destinations around the world so that your vacation is perfect… and charge $0 for all of that?
So if you have a lot of free time on your hands, enjoy hold music, like to explain over and over again what you are looking for and hope that you are getting just what you are expecting and paying for… then by all means book direct. (Or apply for a position at my company)
If you don’t… then you know who to call! And if your call goes over to voicemail, don’t worry… as soon as I get off of hold I will call you right back.. or better yet send me an email, I get pretty bored sitting here on hold and I am a great multi-tasker.. I can answer your email promptly!