As independent holiday bookings rise, West Sussex-based Destination Care is offering in-resort care from holiday reps as a stand-alone product – allowing agents to add it to a dynamically packaged booking in the same way as a flight or hotel room.
The product provides a range of services that would usually be the responsibility of a traditional package holiday rep. But don’t expect a multi-tasker buzzing around the hotel lobby – customers are only likely to have contact with Destination Care staff is in an emergency.
“We offer a telephone-based concierge service,” said managing director Paul Stanyer. “Our staff are based in Mediterranean resorts so they have local knowledge.
“They will sort out lost luggage, tell you where the best restaurants are, and help out if things go wrong. It’s a form of insurance. Staff are available during office hours and there’s a 24-hour emergency line.”
What’s on offer?
Destination Care provides help with missed or overbooked flights, lost passports, medical problems, excursion advice and discounts, restaurant reservations, golf tee times, shopping, airport information, car hire and money transfers.
Where is it available?
The service operates at the following destinations:
Portugal: Albufeira, Algarve, Alvor, Armacao de Pera, Funchal, Lisbon, Vilamoura.
Mainland Spain: Benalmadena, Benidorm, Costa Blanca, Costa Brava, Costa Dorado, Fuengirola, Malaga, Marbella, Torremolinos.
The Balearics: Various destinations in Ibiza, Majorca and Minorca.
The Canaries: Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura.
Greece: Corfu, Crete, Halkidiki, Cephalonia, Kos, Rhodes, Zante.
Cyprus: Ayia Napa, Limassol, Paphos, Protaras.
Turkey: Antalya, Bodrum, Fethiye, Hisaronu, Oyacik, Icmeler, Izmir, Marmaris, Olu Deniz.
“It works well because it’s non-intrusive,” said Mandy Sound, general manager of Jet2holidays.com, one of the companies that offers the service to its customers. “There’s no one hanging around the pool badgering you to go on excursions – it’s an on-demand rep facility.
“If you need to know the ins and outs of a resort, you simply pick up the phone.”
Prices lead in at £6 for a week’s cover in Benalmadena for two people.
Several other companies have tuned in to the concept of rep support for dynamically packaged holidays, although most are little more than emergency phone lines. Many give customers a local number to be used in case of problems.
Among those to provide slightly more, bed bank Med Hotels offers a free rep service, with locally employed staff to help with day-to-day information and trouble-shooting.
Indian Ocean specialist Island Escape Holidays also provides resort reps for its accommodation-only customers. Similarly, Hotelrooms and Villas has personnel on site, courtesy of its sister companies Olympic Holidays and Odyssey Worldwide.
These are just examples – be aware that conditions and hours of availability vary between firms.