The experience of taking calls from those traveling during an ongoing pandemic has been quite challenging for us working within the travel industry. Some of the more common types of calls we get are from travelers who booked a trip on their own and didn’t take the time to learn about the many COVID-19 restrictions in place.
This is frustrating for travel experts. Travelers who choose to book their own trips do so without the professional guidance travel agents offer. This means they’re likely taking more time and spending more money to book their travels online without professional assistance. Then as soon as they experience a problem they want to contact an expert in the field to help them figure out their problem.
This is why patience is key when taking calls from travelers. Many people who don’t have a lot of traveling experience will have questions they could probably have figured out themselves. While common sense answers are obvious to travel professionals, it’s important to be patient when dealing with calls from new or inexperienced travelers.
Handling Travelers Calls
So how should a travel professional address these phone calls? As a travel expert, the best thing you can do is to try and help the person who called you. Depending on how you handle the call could decide whether or not you get a potential new client.
Traveler: I booked my vacation trip weeks ago and my passport hasn’t come back yet. Can you help me?
Answer #1: You didn’t book with me so I can’t help you. This answer ensures the traveler won’t call back.
Answer #2: We can’t help you with a passport that’s already being processed. While this answer is true, also offering them the number to the National Passport Information Center lets them know you’re still want to be helpful.
Answer #3: Where did you book? If you booked online, you could cancel, get a credit with the airlines and let me help you book a trip now. This answer let’s a traveler know that you’re really interested in helping them solve their travel-related problem!
Personally, the third answer is how I handle taking traveler calls. I always ask them who helped them book their travels, but when I get no reply, I tell them it’s best to go to the government site where you’re traveling to and see what the restrictions are since they change on a daily basis.
Then I tell them that in the future we would love to help you so you can become a part of our family of clients. In doing so, we’re always available to you when you have questions. We even offer a price match guarantee, giving you the peace of mind that you’re not only paying the best prices but also that someone is here for you 24/7. Can you remember us next time you’re in need of travel assistance? Here’s my information…
At the end of the day, you’re still coming across professional, and you can possibly even gain a new client. I know this is a frustrating time for travel professionals. But as experts in the niche, know there are ways to get travelers back, even if it’s just one traveler at a time.