The importance of a good quality travel agent
Last week a journalist asked me this question quite seriously “With all the travel restrictions in place, you must find it so confusing?” I sat and pondered his question as he looked at me quite intently. “Well no I don’t”, I replied, “I’ve been doing this job for 23 years. I’ve spent the last 18 months navigating my business through the intricacies of travel restrictions and last minute changes.” And it hit me like a brick, this has become normal for us. For us it’s now normal to be able to stay on top of the varying entry requirements in and out of a country and to be able to react quickly to last minute changes.
With the imminent announcement that international travel restrictions to Amber list countries will be lifted for fully vaccinated travellers, it opens up so much more of the world for us, not just Europe but those long haul far flung destinations we ache to go and visit, being able to visit family and friends that live overseas, and being the intrepid nation we’ve always been.
As the world, slowly, opens up, a good independent travel agent is going to be your best friend. Why? Because we know the industry inside and out, we know where you can go, when you can go, what you need to do to get there and what you need to do to get home.
Over the last few days we have been contacted by people all over the world needing travel advise and, my god have we saved them from making some costly mistakes.
A lady contacted us for a quote to Antigua when it was announced they were on the Green List. We provided a quote with direct flights with entry and exit requirements for testing. She promptly called us back and told us she had found the same holiday cheaper online using indirect services via the USA.
Pretty normal right? Indirect services are usually cheaper as most people will want to fly direct, but if it saves them a few hundred quid, you’d fly indirect? Pre-Covid…. Not a problem. We had to highlight to the customer that whilst Antigua is on the Green List, the USA is not. A change of aircraft in the USA will require 10 days self-isolation at home and two PCR Tests on days 2 & 8.
Phuket recently announced they are open for international travel from 1st July. Thailand, is one of our biggest selling destinations. We were recently called by a friend of a friend to check with us about a holiday to Phuket they were looking at. The caller advised that they had a price from an online travel agency and we went through the details. The callers chosen flights that went via Doha on the way home, which is a red list country. We highlighted this to the caller that booking flights via a red list country will result in a hotel quarantine at £1750 for 11 nights on their return. They were shocked, they didn’t’ even think about the transits and we ended up booking flights via a green list country for just a few pounds more than their online red list quote, saving them not only £1750 in quarantine costs but also having to quarantine for 11 nights on their return home.
Over the last few days we have been contacted by people all over the world looking to come to the UK to visit family & friends. We’ve used our combined 55 years experience in travel planning to make these trips a reality safely and securely for customers.
We can fully understand why a journalist or anyone would find the travel restrictions, entry requirements, testing requirements confusing. There is so many different countries, with varying policies, of course it’s confusing, it would be to anyone that doesn’t work in travel. But for those good quality travel agents like us, our industry colleagues and friends up and down the country, it’s become the norm. It’s our jobs, our passion in making travel a reality for our customers.
So don’t make a costly mistake, speak to a travel agent about your holiday plans, and most importantly, stay safe!