Agent Diary: ‘How do we even begin to explain exactly how busy we are?’

Overwhelmed by admin and endless changes – at least fam trips are well and truly back, says The Travel Snob’s David Walker, a Not Just Travel homeworker.

There was a period where we had cancellation after cancellation, but now we have change after change! When our clients, friends, family and passers-by ask if we are busy, how do we even begin to explain exactly how slammed we are?

I am having to contend with so much on a daily basis – does any of the below sound familiar to you?

When our clients, friends, family and passers-by ask if we are busy, how do we even begin to explain exactly how slammed we are?

Too many clients with too many bookings, suppliers not getting back to me on time, suppliers and myself between us making paperwork errors, airlines changing timings, transfers not turning up, having to change hotels last-minute as Tripadvisor reviews have plummeted, taking someone off a booking as they no longer want to go, adding a person onto a booking as their son now has a girlfriend, changing dates on a booking as they can’t get a dog-sitter, changing seats on planes (over and over again), upgrading rooms, changing holiday dates as passports are no longer valid, swapping a holiday from Mexico to Greece as the client’s friends went and hated Mexico but loved Greece… the list goes on.

Behind the scenes

Was it like this before, and if it wasn’t, how have we got to this stage? Why am I tearing my hair out because of admin every day?

A honeymoon to Argentina, Brazil and Chile, booked three years ago before being cancelled twice, finally went ahead this month.

As the trip approached, British Airways announced a scheduled change, bringing their trip forward by one day. After a five-minute call asking them if they would be happy to go on Friday rather than Saturday and return on Saturday rather than Friday, the happy couple agreed.

While our suppliers also have to pull their weight in situations like this, we do need to take some, or most, of the credit

Then the fun begins. Four internal flights and four separate hotel bookings had to be changed. And let’s not forget the eight transfers or the six tours and experiences.

Needless to say this took a huge amount of effort, but clients don’t see what goes on behind the scenes, and while our suppliers also have to pull their weight in situations like this, we do need to take some, or most, of the credit.

I often tell my clients to thank their lucky stars they booked with an agent, and I have to say I genuinely believe I have saved my clients a fortune in amendment fees over the years by sweet-talking suppliers.

Fam trips

It’s just ridiculous what we are all going through right now and how long everything takes, and with hardly any gratitude from anyone.

But we are getting back to some kind of normal (whatever normal is). I am finishing this piece off on a flight to Cancun for a fam trip with If Only and AMR Collection, which should be fantastic.

I am finishing this piece off on a flight to Cancun for a fam trip with If Only and AMR Collection, which should be fantastic

I saw a few familiar faces at the airport. It is amazing how we all seem to know each other in the travel industry despite only meeting once or twice, or in some cases not at all.

I’ll spend six days in Mexico before heading back home for a few days and then setting off to Greece for five nights with the MarBella Collection. After that I have Trinidad and Tobago, followed by Zanzibar, and then Cyprus on the cards. Yes, fam trips are well and truly back.


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We treat all clients equally

I’m not sure how many of us are homeworkers who rely on commission only once the client has left for their holiday, but personally I have loved getting paid once they have travelled.   I especially love last-minute bookings that can add an extra £20,000 on top of your expected £30,000 commission.

That said, whether it’s £2,000 or £20,000, they all take some looking after. At the end of the day, customers all deserve the same amount of care, respect and attention no matter what they’re booking. Many people have forgotten how to travel and want questions answered. The barrage of emails from clients and suppliers need to be responded to and need to happen on almost every single booking!

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