I may take longer to get used to new technology, but being a travel agent keeps me up to speed, says Ponders Travel managing director Clare Dudley.

I remember when I first started in travel that I used to be the one in the office who knew all about technology. I was the one who would be excited about something new, and probably got on with all new things more quickly and effectively than others in the team.

When the viewdata terminal arrived, I was overjoyed at the modern technology, learnt everything quickly and gained so much from its introduction. Others (older than me) were more sceptical and found the new system hard to work and had less patience. Then came email. How on earth could someone be writing to me and the very next second I was reading what they were writing? At the time, this was all quite mind-blowing. But I loved it, embraced it and enjoyed it.

“Does it matter that I am slower? No, it doesn’t. As long as I am not scared to do it, or at least try, surely that’s all that matters.”

Now I’m the slower (older) one in the office. Technology has us all entranced by what can be done and how quickly it can be done. I’m having to ask the younger girls for help on a daily basis. This frustrates me, as I used to be them! Why did I get slow, why does it take longer to work out and how on earth do they do things so quickly?

I felt quite down about this when I bored even myself asking for help again recently. But then I realised, this is part of the journey, part of what makes the world go round. And does it matter that I am slower? No, it doesn’t. As long as I am not scared to do it, or at least try, surely that’s all that matters.

Virtual world

Technology in our day-to-day lives as travel agents is quite something, isn’t it? We can be in touch with someone now via virtual video call wherever they are in the world, within seconds. If we have a question, Google can answer it.

“An offer can be turned into a poster in minutes, then sent out on social media reaching hundreds of thousands of people in no time at all.”

We can almost see, feel and touch destinations, hotels and resorts via virtual online tours; we can be trained via webinars; and we can see digital versions of brochures online and send them to our clients in an instant. An offer can be turned into a poster in minutes, then sent out on social media reaching hundreds of thousands of people in no time at all. We can send tickets, confirmations and information to anyone anywhere in the world – again, in seconds.

Bookings can be made in minutes rather than having long telephone calls; even boarding passes are on your phone these days. Apps keep you up to date while you’re on holiday. The list goes on…

Embracing video

Everyone in our team has embraced making videos when away on fam trips, and uploading them all on social media to share with our clients. Our photos from our holidays may need to be clearer and higher quality, but this is OK, technology has it covered.

“Who would have thought we don’t even really need a photocopier? Smartphones do so much nowadays that I often wonder how we coped before.”

The fax machine has long gone, and a scanner is in its place. Who would have thought we don’t even really need a photocopier? Smartphones do so much nowadays that I often wonder how we coped before.

So, although I feel older and slower, being a travel agent, I am still pretty good with technology – and not quite as old hat as I often feel.


Lapland

Christmas treat for kids

A young lady came into the shop this week saying she wanted something to spend the money she had saved through taking a mortgage holiday. She said: “I want to treat my children to something nice – I want to take them to Lapland.” So within half an hour we had a super day all mapped out and two little children will have their dream come true this December! This is one time Covid has been kind to us.

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