By asking a favour of a contact I’d met on a fam, I was able to leave a valued client goggle-eyed, says The Travel Snob’s David Walker
After sending a WhatsApp message to a client wishing him a safe journey, I received a message back, sent from 30,000ft, that read: “David, I’ve just spent two hours at Terminal 2 searching for swimming goggles for Ava to no avail, while all the wife wanted was a new Prada handbag!”
I messaged the client back immediately, telling him I would see what I could do. Two minutes later, I contacted the hotel they were staying at and, another two minutes later, the butler was on his way to the local tacky store. Within half an hour, swimming goggles had been purchased and left on the daughter’s bed, along with a handwritten note on custom Travel Snob letterhead.
Two minutes later, I contacted the hotel they were staying at and, another two minutes later, the butler was on his way to the local tacky store
Upon arrival at the hotel, some 14 hours after sending the original message, the client was back in touch: “David – just how do you do it? Also, when you said you would make sure there were plenty of toys in the pool for the kids, I didn’t expect it to look like Toys R Us!”
The contact I had at the hotel came as a result of a fam trip I went on earlier this year. It highlighted the importance of keeping those business cards and letting the hotels know when you make a booking as a result of the trip. The hotel staff were amazing in helping me pull off this little surprise for the client, and without them, for sure, I would not have looked so good.
Talking of fam trips, it’s been a jam-packed few months of both fams and personal trips. I’ve had fewer than seven days in the country since August 25! Having done a few fam trips since September, I am fairly glad they’re all over, as fantastic as they were, and I now have my own trip to Sydney at Christmas to look forward to.
It highlighted the importance of keeping those business cards and letting the hotels know when you make a booking as a result of the trip
Fam trips open your eyes to experiences and destinations you would not normally consider. As one of Audley’s ‘A-lister agents’, I was privileged to be invited to British Columbia to go out into the wild to watch whales and, amazingly, bears in their natural habitat.
Bear watching had never really been on my to-do list, and therefore something I hadn’t really recommended to clients either. Now, even customers enquiring about a week in Tenerife will hear me banging on about bears. I’m completely hooked and already working on a few trips involving bear watching for clients. I’m not sure how long it will be before I stop talking about my experience…
People and places
I love a fam, not only because of the incredible things we experience, but also the incredible people you meet. This Canada trip was small, with just six agents and two hosts, but we all got on so well (I was told to write that part – but it’s true). It was an amazing group of people who shared stories and banter but, more than anything, we all have the lasting memories of an amazing nine-day trip that so few other people have been lucky enough to experience.
It was an amazing group of people who shared stories and banter but, more than anything, we all have the lasting memories of an amazing nine-day trip
Anyway, I have just had a Prague and Krakow twin-centre enquiry come in, so I’d best be off. I may even try to convert them to a Canadian bear watch…
Developments in the Middle East opened the floodgates to questions from those with bookings to the region. First I had a call from a woman in a panic who had booked Sharm el-Sheikh in August 2024, wanting to know her options to cancel. Then I hit the phones to those travelling imminently to discuss options. First up, two families travelling together to Jordan who were a little nervous – hats off to Intrepid, who agreed to a full credit note with no expiration date despite zero change in FCDO guidelines. Next, a family heading to Cairo followed by a Nile cruise, who weren’t worried in the slightest. They had a wonderful time and posted pictures at the Pyramids, tagging me in on Facebook. I love a resilient customer.