Smart Traveling – Elvis Style – Part Three
Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Yes, like a bridge over troubled water
I, I will ease your mind
We call every customer when they return from a trip. We keep all of the feedback in a database because it is helpful to us to have a record of how people like different resorts and different aspects of their trips. The most frustrating thing to hear is when a guest has a problem on a trip and we can immediately see how, if it had been handled differently, it would have had much less impact on the vacation.
So, how can you handle bumps in the road during your vacation in such a way as to have them resolved quickly and with as little impact as possible?
First of all, don’t cause a problem. Be early to the airport. Have all of your paperwork in order (travel documents, passports, etc). Think about the weight of your luggage. Think about what you’re taking through airport security. Have a clear understanding of what you’ve booked, what your assigned seats are, what room type you have, everything along the way so you won’t be surprised. Many problems can be avoided completely with just some simple preplanning. As much as possible, as far as it depends on you, take steps to make your trip smooth. (This includes the purchase of travel insurance.)
Sometimes, though, unexpected things happen. What then?
Be nice. When you’re facing a problem on a trip, the first thing to remember is to be nice. Have you ever watched that television show “Airline” that used to be on A&E? It was a show that featured Southwest Airlines operations at several airports. Watching that show or even just people watching at an airport it seems like people become raving lunatics when they travel. Rather than being one of the lunatics, just be nice.
Being nice to people makes them more eager to help you. Your mother was right, you do catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Use that to your advantage when you encounter a problem.
Use accountability. Find and record the names of the people you deal with along the way who assist you during a problem. Record the names of the people who helped you, the names of the people who weren’t so helpful or who maybe even caused a problem for you. This will serve several purposes. When you have someone’s name, they feel more accountable for the things that they say to you and do for you. Also, later when you’re writing about what happened, it will help substantiate your account of the situation and will make it easier to follow up. (Ask for the names politely, of course. Don’t be obnoxious.)
Find authority. Many problems can be resolved by someone with enough authority and the will to do so. Front line, entry level clerks often only think in terms of what the policy is. “When ‘A’ happens, I do ‘B’.” So, if you’re not getting results, ask politely to speak to a supervisor. By watching what goes on behind the counter you can sometimes identify the person with either formal or informal authority.
Use Local Representation. On many of the vacations we sell, we have a local representative present at the resort. One of their functions is to intervene when one of our travelers has a difficulty. If your work with the front desk doesn’t bear fruit, bring the local rep into the situation.
Call us. If you’re not getting any satisfaction from people in the destination, call our office. We would much rather be able to do everything possible to resolve a situation during the vacation than try to make up for it later. Our firstname.lastname@example.org email is monitored even on weekends and holidays. You can also tweet me @cathibanks.
Now, go have a great vacation!