Crises occur on a regular basis it seems. They can take the form of political unrest, full terror attacks, natural disasters, or rampant diseases. What can a traveler do when he or she encounters this thousand of miles away from home? These situations can feel like you are isolated and alone but never fear. Travel agents deal with crisis situations thanks to the training and skills they receive, and they can be your superheroes rushing to your rescue. Their knowledge and professionalism are very reassuring at a time of crisis. It also means they can resolve the problem and get you out of that area quickly.
Beyond the need to get away from the issue, on a personal scale, missing a flight due to a natural disaster or health worry leads to missed connections and headaches as a result. The emotions of disappointment and sadness over something you have looked forward to not working right can be weighty. But this is where a superhero travel agent can come in and save the day.
The Tunisia terror attacks in June 2015 killed a total of 38 people, 30 of whom were British. Flights had to be scrambled to get people back again, as well as bring the victims home. All of this had to be accomplished with vastly increased security and fears of reprisals. Once flights were resumed, massive re-bookings were taking place to accommodate everyone trying to get out.
Just a couple of months before, Nepal suffered from two massive earthquakes in April and May 2015 that killed 8,000 people, left nearly 600,000 people homeless, and left travelers stranded. They also made it difficult for aid planes trying to fly in supplies and relief support. Buildings fell and infrastructure was ruined in Kathmandu, the nation’s capital, making getting flights out even more difficult. Communication was able to occur only sporadically at best, making getting trips rebooked all the more difficult. The last thing travelers needed to be was in the way of the recovery effort, but with little travel happening in and out of Nepal, it was a very challenging time.
The Zika virus has swept through South America this year, leaving children born with significant birth defects and causing travelers to be concerned about their health and that of their unborn children. Travel agents know if it is safe to travel to certain areas, so many people call them to get information before or during a trip. Agents keep track of what is going on and can advise their clients before they leave so they are aware of what to expect, and potentially so they can reschedule before they encounter trouble.
Zika has also meant that those who had intended to travel to Brazil for the Rio Olympics have rethought their plans, creating more opportunities for the superheroes of travel agencies to shine.
When hundreds or even thousands of flights are canceled and travelers are stranded, travel plans have to be rearranged and fast. It’s much easier to accomplish this task when you have a travel agent on your side since he or she has the ability to see flights available from multiple airlines – and other modes of transportation that can get you out. A travel agent has the ability to make travel arrangements that you are not going to be able to on your own.
Trying to redo flights on your own when a country is suffering from a failing infrastructure is extraordinarily difficult. Likewise, trying to call the airlines directly is also difficult because they are overwhelmed by other travelers trying to get through on phone lines that are already taxed. Plus, if you have more than one person in your party or multiple stops on a journey, the issues of re-booking are magnified and the problems become exponentially more complex.
Then there are the challenges presented by missing out on tours that have to be rescheduled, hotel reservations that have to be remade, and other portions of the trip that have to be redone. Agents and the tour representatives they work with are the backbone of travel and are the heroes of fixing things that have gone wrong. Being able to pull up your whole itinerary gives travel agents the chance to fix everything at all points along the way.
Working with an online travel agency is fine for simple trips, particularly trips that are taken domestically. International travel is all the more difficult, let alone when anything goes wrong and you have to try to reach your travel insurance company to start the process for recompense. Many travel agencies’ solutions include set protocols that they follow when problems arise to ensure that everyone is informed and that solutions are provided according to plan.
International travel agencies have offices around the world, giving them the ability to communicate with each other regarding events taking place in their parts of the world. Agents can then let their clients know what to expect. Some agencies in areas that are more prone to crises may actually have dedicated employees specifically trained to handle such situations. That way there is no question of who is to do what task and no task gets left undone as a result.
In crisis situations, few things are more reassuring than a professional who knows exactly what to do and how to do it. You are already stressed enough. Travel agents have tools at their disposal like the Travelport Mobile Agent that let them do the re-bookings quickly from anywhere they are at any time, so crises can be handled without an office, and sometimes problems solved before the client even has to ask.
Your travel agent is many things to you – your guidance counselor for planning those volunteer trips, your personal concierge when it comes to finding unique and special activities, and your superhero who saves the day when a crisis erupts while you are on vacation. If you keep your agent’s number on your phone for your trip, you will always have a digital searchlight that will alert them to your need for help, and your agent can fly in to save the day.