‘Quality travel documentation is just the ticket’

Sandra Corkin, managing director, Oasis Travel W

ith the rise of the internet, the competitiveness of the travel market, and the soaring expectations

of customers, travel agencies must continually strive to reinforce why they are a vital asset in the provision of exceptional holiday arrangements. It was once a special moment for a customer to walk in through the offi ce doors, bursting with anticipation when being handed the ticketing package for their holiday. In many cases now, the leatherette

ticket wallets, elegant baggage labels and beautifully presented itineraries we have come to expect from luxury operators have been replaced with less exciting documentation, which conveys neither the joy or enthusiasm associated with going on holiday. With many tour operators and suppliers now opting for e-tickets and digital documentation, I ask you, is there now more responsibility placed on the agent to uphold the quality of documentation passed on to their clients? When booking with a travel agent,

customers should have the reassurance their travel plans are treated with the utmost importance.

64 TRAVEL TRADE GAZETTE 09.09.2019 And, it has to be said, for many clients

(particularly those booking cruises or luxury trips), this still means having good quality hard copies of their travel documentation to hand. But the amount of material being

sent to the agent from certain providers has been signifi cantly reduced. In addition customers, in some cases, are expected to perform certain aspects of the check-in process themselves –from completing information and loading personal details to even printing and applying baggage labels. These tedious tasks may consequently lower customer satisfaction and also increase the likelihood of errors. At Oasis Travel, we have taken on the

responsibility of ensuring our clients’ tickets are provided in a professional and attractive manner, but this doesn’t come without a cost. As we provide more for our clients, we in turn are asking more of our counter staff , who must battle signifi cant time pressures to complete detailed check-ins and additional administrative work. And we incur fi nancial costs to

provide our own branded ticket wallets, baggage labels and documentation to improve the handover experience

for our clients. We even take time to colour print and laminate the paper baggage labels emailed from some cruise companies. With the signifi cant investment of time and money required to provide this service, we are even considering the employment of full-time administrators to reduce the demands placed on our sales staff . We believe to truly make the travel experience memorable, that experience needs to start as soon as they step into our offi ce. And part of this involves giving customers crisp, clean travel documentation. We would encourage suppliers to

provide the agent with the necessary tools to make this possible, and we thank those who have worked hard to maintain the high standards. While baggage labels and ticket wallets may seem like small items, it is the least we can provide for our customers, who have placed their trust and reliance on us to fulfi l their holiday expectations.

WHAT’S YOUR VIEW? Email and let us know your thoughts.

Illustration: Jo Goodberry

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