I would rarely ever spill my guts (so to speak) like this but these are truly difficult times and I need to be honest with my clients and those who book online because they don’t think travel agents are worth using.
In the last 3 weeks, we have gone from maybe I should postpone my trip to holy crap, we can’t travel at all. We’ve gone from making jokes about stocking up on toilet paper to feeling like we are living in Cuba where we will be given 3 sheets of toilet paper.
These past few weeks have been particularly trying for the tourism and travel industry- airlines, cruise lines, hotels, all of the support personnel, and also, the ones that no one is talking about – travel agents.
Myself and my team of professional travel advisers at My Vacation Lady, have been working tirelessly to assist our clients cancel existing reservations, move and postpone others, get supplier fees waived and so much more. We have been doing this without earning any commission, since we don’t get paid until travel is completed.
While wait times on hold with our suppliers is insane (3+ hours in many cases), we are doing this for our clients in hopes that when the times return to our new normal, they will return to us to book their vacations and honeymoons.
For those who have booked online with a huge online travel agency, please check your future reservations. We have heard that Bookit.com has stopped paying hotels for client’s stays. They have fired almost all of their employees and have stopped answering the phones.
For those of you who typically book with those online travel agencies or with the big box stores, what has your experience been with these companies when it comes to helping you cancel and move your reservations? Do you have the time to wait on hold for 3-8 hours only to be disconnected?
Those companies may still be around after the COVID-19 travel bans come to an end but many small travel agencies may not be. Many are small businesses and like many other small businesses, we fear that many will not be able to hold out for 3-4 months of no income.
My Vacation Lady is virtually based. We have low overhead so we will be here with travel return to a new normal. We have been thru Sept 11, hurricanes, tsunamis, blizzards, epidemics, pandemics and recessions. We will be here when our lives return to the new normal and we hope that you will come back to us to book your travel because our first concern is our clients.