Problems faced by travel advisers in returning tourism

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With the retreat of the pandemic, all the signs point to a great revival of travel. However, this good news comes with warnings. Travel advisors report, among other things, a lack of supplier staff, ticketing errors and insufficient availability.

“I didn’t have big problems with just one supplier, but with many,” said Tammy Levent of Elite Management Travel Group. “I have a feeling that throughout the outage, when vendors and tour operators regrouped, their ticket vendors were dispersed.”

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In one case, the large travel agency Levent, with which it has been working for years, has changed its technology platform, she said. “As advisers, we couldn’t even sign up, we had no way to call, support was reduced to six to eight hours and it didn’t improve.”

Prior to the change of platform, one of the agent’s operators neglected to issue tickets to Levent’s clients “and therefore the airline canceled them – and of course the agent no longer works for this company,” she said.

“The reissued tickets were $ 500 higher and they wanted me to pay the difference. I had everything in writing that the travel agency agent was actually told to issue tickets, “Levent added.

“We went back and forth with my e-mails to prove it and I was right! I was so upset that they finally agreed to pay the difference. “

In another case, the airline canceled its clients’ flights on December 9 due to travel in February. The carrier did not respond to Levent’s questions, but “eventually sent us a form for clients to fill out in order to receive a refund,” she said.

“Clients are angry with us,” Levent said. “We lost clients because tour operators, hoteliers and vendors didn’t come up and take responsibility for their actions – or they just don’t have staff.”

TruBlue Travels’ Jemica Archer said she also has problems with suppliers. “I’ve noticed that contractors have few employees or their employees feel burned out and overworked, which means more errors and longer waiting times.”

As demand increases, stocks dwindle, agents said. Pictured is Denver International Airport. (photo via ivanastar / iStock Unreleased)

For Sarah Klein of Time For Travel, the biggest problem at the moment is that “demand is overwhelming and certain segments of the industry can’t handle it.”

“My specialty is the wedding market in destinations and we are experiencing five times higher demand than in any previous year. I am addressing the hotel’s wedding departments and waiting for weeks for an answer, “she said.

“Couples getting married in the spring / summer of 2022 are desperately trying to plan and finish their weddings, and the hotel’s wedding teams are putting the ball in service.

“I am disappointed with the companies that have not prepared better for their return. There are exceptions and they will be at their peak in the coming years. “

James Berglie of Be All Inclusive is also facing a demand problem. “The resorts are full, people want to travel and supplies are scarce,” he said. “In addition, we have seen cases of resorts that have adopted an ‘over-booking’ airline strategy – of which I am not a fan – in which they knowingly sell the resort with the knowledge that they will receive a certain percentage of non-arrivals and cancellations.

“However, some facilities see their policy returning when they do not receive the percentage of missions or cancellations they expected.”

Passport, mask, CDC, vaccination, card, records, proof, COVID-19, vaccines, boosters
Passport, face mask and COVID-19 vaccination card issued by the CDC with details of initial vaccines and revaccinations. (photo via iStock / Getty Images Plus / Bill Oxford)

Archer noted that changing the protocols remains the biggest problem she faces. “Different countries change protocols so often and you want to make sure you keep your clients informed of the latest compliance requirements,” she said.

Another challenge counselors face is “countries that still insist on vaccines, tests and travel restrictions,” Berglie said. “Although we have recently witnessed how many of these restrictions have been eased in terms of travel bureaucracy, pre-trip testing, vaccine demonstration, etc., or choosing a destination where none are required, passengers go the path of least resistance. The places that have returned to the requirements of entry into 2019 are places that prosper and prosper. “

According to Berglie, “the requirement of a test to return to the United States remains one of the last major obstacles in the fight for the industry to return to normal.”

“I hope that we will see this in the coming months and that the mandate for the airline mask will be canceled,” he said.

COVID-19 positive
Positive test result using the COVID-19 rapid test device. (photo via jarun011 / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

For Kim Cook of Love to Travel, the risk of positive testing at the destination is still an issue that causes clients to hesitate to book right now.

“I think as soon as this restriction is lifted, we will be more busy than ever,” she said. “We had a positive test of the client just over the weekend, so we had to work on re-booking his flights and communicating with the resort about his extended stay. It’s been a few months since it happened, so it was a reminder that it could still happen and cause headaches for our clients – and for us, who have to make adjustments. “

Cook also said rates are rising in popular destinations and resorts. “It does not discourage most of our clients, but it raises concerns about group travel. “For groups, individuals have different budgets that need to be considered when choosing a location, so some are pushing back on the price of the package.”

Like other advisors, Cook noted that many resorts are sold out for the summer and fall. “We encourage our clients to book now and not wait for a lower price, as this is unlikely to happen,” she said.

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