Kim finds the funny side after a good client gets snappy in their hotel room while on holiday.
Every day at work I deal with complete strangers, but now and then you come across a client who you get on really well with. Over the years, they book with you and you get to know their style and their expectations.
This has happened to me several times, and with one couple in particular. They have invited me to charity events and Ascot days as their guest, and this has allowed me to introduce myself to their friends, some of whom now book with me as well.
Recently, these clients booked to stay at the Grand Hotel Residencia in Gran Canaria – an expensive holiday, as they wanted the best room with a pool view. I emailed the hotel beforehand to advise staff that they were very good clients and to ask that they allocate them a lovely room with a great view. I received a reply saying my request had been taken care of.
So imagine my horror when I received an email from the client with a picture that just said, ‘The view from our room!’ There was not a pool in site; all I could see were large plants.
I immediately rang the operator to check they had booked the right room, and they confirmed they had. I then called the hotel, but was told that all managers and staff were in a meeting and no one could help me.
I decided to email the hotel and ask what room type my guests were in and if they could confirm that it was the Deluxe Junior Suite Pool View? It was some time before I had a reply, so I called the client and left a voicemail to advise them not to worry and that I would sort it out.
Some hours passed with no reply from the hotel or my client, so I called the hotel again and spoke to a member of staff. She didn’t speak English, but eventually I managed to explain we had a problem.
It was late afternoon in the UK and the shop was due to close, but I couldn’t go until I had spoken to the hotel. To my joy, an overseas call came through and it was the hotel manager. She was delightful and listened to what had happened. She was mortified and said she would go straight to the room to find out what the problem was.
I was on tenterhooks all evening. Then my phone rang and to my surprise it was the client – and they told me the full story. They said they had been out for lunch, had had a few bottles of wine, had gone back to their room and had then thought it would be a good idea to send me a photo. This, for some strange reason, was taken from their floor, which was why everything looked so tall. Now it all made sense!
Very red-faced, I had to call the hotel manager to apologise and to explain that it had all been a JOKE and that the clients loved the hotel.
The moral of this story is that it’s not just about the service we offer and getting it right, but also about being able to have a laugh and see the funny side of things.
My clients apologised for the trouble they had caused – and I’ve more than forgiven them!
Make yourself an odds-on favourite
Charity events and going to local race days (and even Ascot) are great fun, and are also fantastic networking opportunities for a travel agent.
Getting an invitation can be tricky, but showing an interest will always stand you in good stead if there’s a cancellation! So make sure you have that conversation with your clients and let them know you’d be interested in attending.
It won’t cost you more than a prize for the raffle, so it’s a good idea to offer a holiday voucher. This way, when they read out the winners, you will get a mention to all attending, which might bag you new clients.
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