News

Agent Diary: Booking a cruise for elderly clients who don’t have a smartphone

Bookings are taking a lot of work but sometimes this is due to technology rather than the Covid rules, says Spear Travel’s Kim Kent.

I have to say that I agree with my fellow agents David and Clare about how hard everything is at the moment.

Understandably, customers need more support than ever right now as the guidelines are not always clear, but this has turned what used to be a pleasurable experience into a bit of a nightmare.

My team and I have worked tirelessly doing everything for our customers to ensure they can get away, but it’s often the elderly clients who don’t have the technology we really feel sorry for.

Clients not appy

I recently had two bookings from customers with Princess Cruises, who in their wisdom have created the MedallionClass App that “puts everything at your fingertips”.

If you have a smartphone, then the app is great, providing it works. But for my elderly couple, who have no computer and no smartphone, it essentially means they can’t travel.

I called Princess to ask for their advice and they told me the only solution was for me to download the app on my phone and complete the information for the clients on their behalf. Of course, I was happy to help, so I did this and set to work answering all the questions.

For my elderly couple, who have no computer and no smartphone, it essentially means they can’t travel

However, there was a fault with the app when it came to the final stage of the process – selecting the time for embarkation – so I couldn’t complete the booking. Medallion has a number you can call if things go wrong and the staff are very helpful. They advised me to keep trying, which I did, and four days later it finally worked!

But, just when I thought everything had been finalised, I realised my clients needed to complete a health declaration form 24 hours before they departed, and that for this they would have to come into the shop so I could complete all the questions.

If everything goes smoothly with this Princess Cruises bookings I will eat my hat. It will be interesting to find out how it goes.

What are the chances?

A lady came into the shop the other day and said she had lost all her confidence and didn’t have a clue what she needed to get ready to travel to Rome.

She had got herself into such a state and was almost in tears. After calming her down, I offered to help and reassured her all would be fine.

We went through the holiday details and the current requirements, which I explained could change, and I offered to complete the PLF for her if she would like me to.

It was only after retrieving her file from the cabinet that I noticed something. I said: “How about I come to Rome with you to make sure you get there safely?”

We went through the holiday details and the current requirements, which I explained could change, and I offered to complete the PLF for her

She gave me a surprised look and asked what I was talking about. I added: “Actually, how about I sit next to you on the plane?”

This poor lady didn’t have a clue what I was on about until I explained: “I’m booked on the very same flight as you!”

Not only that, but she and her husband had booked the front seats, just as I had, so we would be sitting next to each other. I mean, how often is that likely to happen?

We all had a good laugh about it and now I am her best friend, as you can probably imagine.


SHUTTERSTOCK Canada

Looking forward to a Canada high

It’s great to see that operators are finally in a position to offer training nights out and educational trips. My team attended a Classic Collection Holidays roadshow in Birmingham last week, which was a great success and a nice way of saying thank you to the girls for all their hard work. We have also had two lovely trips come through recently, one to Canada, the other to France.

I would of course have willingly taken both on if I could, but am thrilled to say I’ve been accepted for the Canada trip with First Class Holidays. I’ll be visiting Halifax, Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, the last of which I know little about. Needless to say, I’m very excited!

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.