Recently I had to give the most devasting news to a lovely couple that had been planning a trip for over 15 months. They had been saving for 4 years to experience the magnificent Greek Islands on a luxury sail boat. They splurged on premium economy flights and 5 star hotels pre and post their cruise. This was truly their dream holiday and they were counting down the days till departure.
With only 2 weeks to go before they were planning to board the plane, I received a call from the tour company we booked the cruise through. I’m informed that the 3rd party they booked the cruise with never ended up booking the cabin for my clients and the date is completely sold out.
How did this happen?
What are our options?
How will I tell my clients?
I sat at my desk completely dumbfounded as my anxiety started creeping in on me. Within an hour of receiving this news I started losing my voice, this is a strange yet common reaction that happens to me when I get extremely stressed out.
The next day my clients came in to discuss the situation and the options, none of which I knew were ideal but I had exhausted all the possibilities and had to see if they would be happy with any of them. I watched their faces show their disappointment and heard the anger in their voices- not towards me but towards the company. It was that moment that I started bawling. Right there in front of my clients and believe me it wasn’t a pretty sight because I am an UGLY crier. In fact, my clients started trying to console me!
This was by far the lowest point in my career. While I knew I had done everything right for my clients and the situation was completely out of my control, it still affected me immensely because I was the one that my clients put their trust in to plan that perfect holiday. This was a reminder that my job as a travel agent is so much more than what most people believe. Had my clients booked this online and the same issue had happened (because let’s be real, it happens more than we would like to admit) it would have been a massive struggle to have all the wholesalers refund their money. I spent 5 days contacting suppliers, but luckily for me I have direct access to companies and was able to get all the paperwork necessary to get a full refund within a week of the debacle happening.
I’m so thankful that I was able to achieve the best outcome from a horrible situation and even more thankful that there are people in the world that understand that mistakes happen. Being a travel agent isn’t easy. People trust us not only with their hard-earned money but also with their dreams. We strive to make sure everything runs smoothly and perfectly. When problems arise, we are there to help our clients and minimise the impact it has on their overall experience. This is why people come back to their agent’s time after time. We take care of them!