Why my travel agency has never issued an airline ticket: Travel Weekly

Richard Turen

Richard Turen

A number of a long time in the past, I used to be working for Princess Cruises as their vp of gross sales for the East Coast and the Midwest. “The Love Boat” tv collection was taking off, so we had been within the ironic place of promoting a fleet that was usually offered out.

One afternoon, whereas I used to be attending conferences in our Los Angeles headquarters, I discovered myself with just a few unscheduled hours. I went in search of our small customer support division and requested the sort woman in cost if she had any data of the complaints we had acquired about our ships throughout the previous two years. She smiled, requested me to attend a second and got here again with an armful of recordsdata (this was pre-computers). I used to be escorted to an empty convention room and was informed to “have at it.”

Nearly two hours later, I emerged from the room. I had pads and pens and many notes, but it surely all boiled right down to this: We “manufactured” cruise holidays. And we acquired our share of complaints. However 91% of the complaints we acquired had completely nothing to do with our product; they had been all associated to transportation to and from our product. This 91% of complaints needed to do with air preparations to and from our ships. Simply think about that you’re within the dream-fulfillment enterprise and you need to cope with that Actuality Examine.

And you understand what? Forty or so years later, virtually nothing has modified. Effectively over 90% of the problems our friends expertise as they journey the world are immediately associated to their air preparations.

Once we launched our agency in 1987, we agreed that we’d by no means problem an airline ticket. Why on the earth, we thought, would we ever wish to be concerned within the phase of the trade that generates over 90% of the complaints, frustration and, usually, anger? 

We realized that there have been, as in each discipline, true consultants who dealt solely with air ticketing. We made the mandatory contacts, and right now our friends have unique entry to the highest air specialists within the nation, corporations so designated by particular awards from main shopper and trade publications. 

Purchasers get to work immediately with these air specialists, and our agency nonetheless receives referral charges on each reserving.

In relation to air, our position is extra consultive: We attempt to place our friends in the very best fingers given their distinctive flying wants. However we additionally assume it’s our duty to our friends to maintain them knowledgeable concerning the very newest and finest air methods. We take that portion of the method very significantly.

We created a residing doc we name our Air Technique Report. We’re frequently updating it. It’s designed to be an insider’s information to how the air trade actually works, and now we have collected particular telephone numbers to get round lengthy res strains, scores of the world’s airways and airports and recommendation about how you can deal with precise eventualities that our purchasers might encounter when flying. We attempt to make each visitor an trade insider in terms of air planning. We would like our friends to know greater than most journey brokers concerning the air course of. 

I discovered a helpful lesson in that Princess convention room 40 years in the past. We all know what’s more than likely to influence the journeys we plan in a unfavourable approach. When you’ll be able to commit 100% of your energies to planning the non-air particulars of your shopper’s travels, magic comes extra simply. And you’ll, I promise, sleep a lot better. 

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